Science Training for Educators

Teachers and scientists in Houston are partnering to increase students' interest in science fields. Some local teachers are getting training in the field of stem cell research to take that information back to their classrooms.

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A few dozen teachers from the Houston area are learning the latest information about stem cell research. Robert Williams teaches science at Northbrook Middle School in Spring Branch. He says stem cells are a hot topic he has to deal with in the classroom and he's hoping this program provides him with better answers for his students.

It's a topic that even the average physician may not have a good grasp on, so the teachers are tackling it from every aspect. The Summer Science Institute is a program at the U.T. Health Science Center where teachers spend a week immersing themselves in the latest issues. They will participate in a mock congressional hearing on the ethics of stem cell research. They'll also get into the Developmental Biology lab with Dr. Eva Zsigmond.

The teachers will help scientists develop a curriculum about stem cells they can take back to their classrooms. Video presentations and workbook modules will be designed to assist the teachers in translating what they learn here into useful information. Dr. James Willerson is the president of the U.T. Health Science Center and a leader in the field of stem cell research.

Willerson says he believes the use of stem cells is the future of medicine and he hopes the program inspires students today to pursue careers in medical research. Next year's Summer Science Institute will focus on advanced genetics and allows teachers to build on the concepts presented this summer.

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