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Hawai’i’s ’Iolani School Receives $182,200 Edward E. Ford Foundation Grant For Cutting-Edge Genomic And Bioethics Program

November 4, 2019 GMT

HONOLULU, Nov. 4, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- ’Iolani School, Hawai’i’s leading co-educational and college preparatory institution for more than 2,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade, has received a 2019 Educational Leadership Grant of $182,200 from The Edward E. Ford Foundation in support of its ‘Āina-Informatics Network (AIN), an initiative created to advance genome science in high school classrooms across the Hawaiian Islands and further ’Iolani’s role in creating a network of schools that share research and resources.

“The ’Āina-Informatics Network program’s objective is to develop place-based curricula for genome science centering on local biodiversity and global issues in bioethics, all while generating real data via a citizen science approach,” said Timothy Cottrell, Ph.D, ’Iolani’s head of school. “We are humbled that our initiative and work is being recognized and supported by the prestigious Edward E. Ford Foundation. Our students and faculty are excited to continue to expand on this important endeavor that will impact communities in Hawai’i and around the world.”

AIN is an outgrowth of ’Iolani School’s ongoing citizen science program, which seeks to engage students in authentic scientific research opportunities. The program objectives are two-fold.

The first goal is to implement place-based genomic science via a network of participating public and private schools across Hawai’i. Building on its citizen science framework, ’Iolani will provide professional development for teachers, laboratory equipment, bioinformatics and lab expertise, as well as overall coordination of the statewide consortium. Schools participating in AIN will assemble whole genomes – complete sets of genetic instructions – for indigenous organisms.

AIN’s second goal is to create a worldwide network of schools and institutions committed to developing and disseminating high school-level educational materials on bioethics, and provide instruction within both private and public schools. ’Iolani has engaged world-leading genomics institutes committed to furthering societal and ethical considerations that come with advances in biotechnology.

’Iolani School’s AIN program is also supported by Jennifer Doudna, Ph.D, executive director of the Berkeley, California-based Innovative Genomics Institute, known for her fundamental work and leadership in developing CRISPR-mediated genome editing.

“The potential to work with ’Iolani School offers an opportunity to leverage our expertise and knowledge base to advance education at the high school level on a national scale in the area of bioethics. This is an opportunity very aligned with the institute’s mission,” Doudna said.

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SOURCE ’Iolani School