Glenn Monastersky awarded NYSTEM grant to train teachers

Glenn Monastersky, associate director of CBIS and professor of practice, biomedical engineering has been awarded $498,000 by the NYSTEM division of the New York State Department of Health to support the enhancement of STEM training for pre-college teachers. The 4-year educational effort will focus on human stem cell biology and the development of effective stem cell research teaching modules for area high schools, especially those within diverse and disadvantaged school systems. The aim of the program is introduce stem cell research fundamentals to pre-college students to support the engagement and training of the next generation of researchers in this rapidly expanding and promising field of biomedical study. Monastersky will work with co-investigators Deanna Thompson, associate professor of biomedical engineering, and Kelly Grindstaff, project manager for CIPCE, to develop and manage the program. Several faculty members, from the departments of biomedical engineering, chemical engineering, and biology will participate in the program.

The program would strive to provide a strong foundation of basic knowledge and practical research laboratory methodology in cell and developmental biology and stem cell science. This new training and educational program will expand the Capital Region impact of the 2-year old Rensselaer Center for Stem Cell Research (RCSCR; http://stemcells.rpi.edu) that was created with a $2.45 million award from NYSTEM (PI Monastersky). The program also will build on the Biotech High School Scholars Program that was launched in 2008. More than fifty high school students from area systems have participated in the academic year-long program in which they train in laboratory biosafety and participate weekly in faculty-mentored, peer-reviewed research in chemical engineering, biomedical engineering, biology and chemistry laboratories in the CBIS. This current academic year, the program has engaged 19 local high school students from 12 high schools, in Troy, Albany, Guilderland, Colonie, Clifton Park, Bethlehem, Valatie, Averill Park and Hoosick Falls.