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  • Created 10 Sep 2018

The Genomics Education Partnership (GEP) is a nationwide collaboration of 100+ institutions that integrates active learning into the undergraduate curriculum through Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs) centered in bioinformatics and genomics. 


Education Through Research Experiences

The GEP helps address STEM education needs by integrating active learning into the undergraduate curriculum. Through CUREs centered in bioinformatics and genomics, students engage in authentic scientific research and develop valuable skills in data science, while also practicing problem-solving and perseverance to produce scientific results. Our scientific research publications use the gene models produced by GEP students to better understand the structure and evolution of genes and genomes.

Broadly Effective Benefits

The GEP is a nationwide community of practice that, through training, mentorship, and collaboration, enables a broad range of institutions to introduce bioinformatics and genomics into the undergraduate curriculum. Bioinformatics training extends the teaching of molecular biology and emphasizes the power of computational approaches to explore biological systems. Inquiry-driven genomics research engages students in scientific discovery. Assessment data shows that students in GEP courses report gaining a greater understanding of how science is done and appreciate the opportunity to contribute to the knowledge base, to function as scientists.

Democratizing Research Experiences

Since its founding in 2006, the GEP has expanded across the country to encompass more than 100 institutions of all sizes and missions. The majority of the GEP member schools are Primarily Undergraduate Institutions, but members range from Community Colleges to R1 Universities. No research infrastructure is needed; the required equipment for research in bioinformatics is a laptop computer and connection to the Internet, making this opportunity broadly accessible. Because the curriculum is integrated into a course during the academic year, and is accessible 24/7 through the Internet, students have the flexibility to attend to other responsibilities while also gaining research experience.

Community of Science Educators

The GEP provides a welcoming environment where faculty find a community devoted to pursuing excellence in science teaching. Many GEP faculty had no prior experience in genomics or bioinformatics, yet they were able to use the GEP’s curriculum and professional development efforts to bring cutting-edge genomics concepts and tools into their teaching. New GEP members are paired with a mentor who teaches in a similar educational setting to discuss effective ways to introduce the curriculum and research projects to their students.

Flexible Implementation

GEP faculty use our materials in a wide variety of ways depending on the course structure and student backgrounds. These implementations range from incorporating short lessons into an existing course (e.g., using a genome browser to investigate eukaryotic gene structure) to participating in a genomics CURE centered around comparative gene annotation.

Expanding the Partnership

We host free online and in-person faculty training workshops and supply a peer mentor. We also provide training and financial support for peer student instructors. Current GEP faculty participate in our summer Alumni Workshops, at no cost to them, to share their experiences teaching GEP materials, develop new curriculum, and work on potential scientific and education research publications. We are happy to invite interested current and future faculty to contact us and join our partnership.

 

Becoming a GEP Member: The Genomics Education Partnership Faculty Mentoring Network:

The GEP is partnering with the Quantitative Undergraduate Biology Education and Synthesis (QUBES) project to offer an online pathway to GEP membership via the Genomics Education Partnership/Faculty Mentoring Network (GEP/FMN). New GEP members who are trained through the GEP/FMN embark on a guided genomics training at their home institutions without travel to an introductory workshop, and with the support of a GEP faculty mentor who participates in GEP teaching and research.

Training in the GEP’s current scientific questions, research tools, and current pedagogy is comprised of the following elements:
1. Online discussions
2. Self-scheduled observation of short videos (15-60 minutes)
3. Self-scheduled GEP curriculum walk-throughs
4. Assignments to practice annotation skills, checks of student annotations, annotation project claiming and submission protocols, and navigation of the GEP communication network
5. Supportive one-on-one Q&A with GEP faculty mentors, as needed

If you're interested in joining or have questions about the GEP, complete our contact form and we'll reach out to you soon!

For more information about our partnership, visit gep.wustl.edu and follow us on Twitter @GEP_CURE.