Glass Half Full or Empty: Illuminating the Human Transcriptome Awarded the 2024 Science Outreach and Communication Grant of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

January 18, 2024

Glass Half Full or Empty: Illuminating the Human Transcriptome, a course introducing students to the research life-cycle in biological sciences, has been awarded a Science Outreach and Communication Grant from the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
. The class introduces underserved high school students in New York City to wet-lab biochemistry and molecular biology techniques. The grant funds wet-lab reagents for the program.

Students first learn the underlying principles of the molecular DNA/RNA sequencing revolution, thereafter verifying novel RNA transcript variants predicted with long-read RNA-sequencing data (10.3390/ijms232415851). As such, students are contributing - one transcript at a time - to a
more complete version of the human transcriptome. They become researchers working within a reproducible scientific tradition. Initially a part of the Columbia University Double Discovery Center, the course has grown to serve students from all across NYC. The program was co-founded by Theodore Nelson (CC ‘24) and Dennis Zhang (CC ‘24), and is currently led by Sophia Sorid (CC ‘26). It is generously supported by the Columbia University Department of Biomedical Engineering, the Columbia University Research Cluster on Science and Subjectivity, and the Stephens Family Foundation.

The ASBMB aims to increase public appreciation for and understanding of science by promoting science outreach events that encourage interactions between scientists and the community. The member wide outreach award facilitates the involvement of ASBMB members in public-engagement activities that foster the appreciation of science — particularly biochemistry and molecular biology — in informal settings. Current Columbia students can volunteer during course sessions. Volunteers are paired with a small group of students, partnering with the students to tackle course content. Please fill out the following interest form to sign up for Spring, 2024. The program will run Saturdays from February 17th to April 27th.