Local Students use Biotechnology to Solve a Fishy Problem

In mid-April, Gloucester Biotechnology Academy invited fourteen students from local North Shore high schools to participate in a pilot course on Fish Fraud Forensics, the first program in the Academy’s Summer STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) initiative.

During the one week course students assumed the fictional role of forensic scientists working in a lab to analyze samples of whitefish collected from restaurants by a local investigative reporter.This reporter was trying to determine if restaurants were intentionally mislabeling a cheaper, more readily-available species of fish and selling it to customers as a more expensive species – a real-life problem that is highly relevant in today’s fish market. The fourteen investigative forensic scientists used an authentic laboratory workflow based on modern biotechnology methods that enabled them to extract and analyze DNA from the fish samples, with analysis needed to solve the real-world conundrum.

We are very grateful these 14 students gave up their spring break to road test our new biotech course! They all became enthusiastic detectives while also learning basic techniques needed for a real CSI study on fish.

“This was the best way for [our son] to spend April vacation -- away from the lure of video games and engaging his mind. He’s thinking about going into some sort of biomedical engineering and having this experience and exposure to a real lab setting as a freshman was AMAZING! Thank you again for the opportunity!” – parent of SummerSTEM participant

Fish Fraud Forensics will launch this summer, with three separate sessions offered to high school students (ages 14-18) during the weeks of July 9, July 23 and August 6. Each session of the program will run Monday through Friday, 9am – 2pm. The tuition is $400 for the week and it includes all supplies -- including a lab book. Generous needs-based financial aid is available. Students of all science and math ability levels are encouraged to participate. More information regarding Fish Fraud Forensics can be found by visiting http://www.gmgi.org/summerstem/ or by contacting John Doyle at john.doyle@gmgi.org or 978.491.5968.

Click here for the Gloucester Daily Times recent article on our SummerSTEM Fish Fraud Forensics pilot week.

Click here to view the June 2018 Newsletter >>

Summer STEM program participants at the bench

Our mission is to conduct world-class marine biotechnology research which expands the regional economy.

Gloucester Marine
Genomics Institute

417 Main Street
Gloucester, MA 01930

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