URI Receives $174K Amgen Grant for Innovative High, Middle School Program

The "Amgen Biotech Experience" has brought biotechnology to more than 8,000 students in classrooms across Rhode Island.

University of Rhode Island Center for Biotechnology & Life Sciences
University of Rhode Island Center for Biotechnology & Life Sciences
The University of Rhode Island recently received a $174,000, two-year grant from the Amgen Foundation to implement the Amgen Biotech Experience, an innovative science education program, in approximately 50 schools in Rhode Island. The program provides a real-world biotech lab experience to middle and high schools in Amgen’s U.S. and United Kingdom communities.

“Through the support of the Amgen Foundation, the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology at URI is excited to continue bringing the Amgen Biotech Experience to classrooms in our community,” said Gregory Paquette, director of the URI Providence Biotechnology Center. “The students and teachers who participate in this program are given the tools and resources to bring science to life and inspire students to want to learn more about biotechnology.”

Since 2007 in Rhode Island the Amgen Biotech Experience (formerly known as the Amgen-Bruce Wallace Biotechnology Lab Program) has introduced more than 8,000 students in secondary school classrooms to contemporary science techniques, including comprehensive teacher training. Teachers are given a robust, hands-on, inquiry-based biology curriculum, in addition to a full suite of transportable, research-grade equipment and supplies, at no cost to the participating schools. Using Nobel Prize-winning discoveries to prepare a recombinant DNA molecule which carries a gene for red fluorescent protein, students follow many of the steps biotechnology researchers use to produce medicines.

“The success of the Amgen Biotech Experience is due in large part to the grantees in our communities,” said Jean Lim Terra, president of the Amgen Foundation. “The collaboration with undergraduate institutions and nonprofit organizations helps give students real-world, hands-on lab experience to introduce them to the excitement of biotechnology and scientific discovery.” 

Since the Amgen Biotech Experience was established in 1990, more than 300,000 students throughout the U.S. and U.K. have engaged in the program’s molecular biology labs using relevant curricula, tools and techniques. In 2013, the Amgen Foundation will give more than $2.5 million in grants to community colleges, universities and nonprofit organizations that lead and support the Amgen Biotech Experience in different regions across the country where Amgen has a presence, bringing the total committed to nearly $8 million. 

Beginning this year, Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC) will apply its deep experience in designing and delivering high-quality science education programs to establishing a Program Office for the Amgen Biotech Experience. Working closely with existing sites, EDC will build on the assets of the program and implement strategies to enrich the program, including the introduction of a new strengthened curriculum for this school year.

For more information, visit www.amgenbiotechexperience.com


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