Pat Bossert discussing methods for “culturing” hydra.

A High School Teachers Biotechnology workshop was held in conjunction with the 2007 SIVB conference in Indianapolis. Fifteen high school and community college educators convened with Liz Roemer and Todd Murphy on Friday June 8th for two days of intensive hands-on work in the laboratories of Ivy Tech Community College. These hands-on workshops were followed by attendance at the SIVB conference. The majority of the workshop expenses were covered by a grant from the Indiana Department of Education, with supplemental support from the SIVB Education Committee and Ivy Tech. Generous donations of time and supplies were provided by Mike Kane, Scott Stewart, Nancy Philman, Bernadette Plair, and Pat Bossert. Additional in kind support in the form of Bernadette Plair, and Pat Bossert. Additional in kind support in the form of culture reagents and kits came from Phytotechnologies Laboratories, Kitchen Culture Kits and Connecticut Valley Biological Co., Inc.

Bernadette Plair, from the Cincinnati Zoo, demonstrating one
of the Zoo’s tissue culture kits.

The first day’s activities, led by Dr. Michael Kane, Dr. Scott Stewart, Dr. Nancy Philman and Dr. Bernadette Plair, revolved around plant tissue culture methods. Teachers were given hands on experience in micropropagation techniques of various types of plants, methods for field collection of plant tissues for micropropagation and the production of synthetic “seeds”. The second day’s program involved the cultivation of hydra and potential uses of this invertebrate species in high school education. These labs were led by Dr. Pat Bossert who demonstrated methods for “culturing” hydra and a simple activity involving evolutionary impacts of the predator/prey relationship.

Attendees spent Monday and part of Tuesday attending sessions at the SIVB conference. Wednesday was spent back at Ivy Tech exploring how to increase biotechnology education in high school classrooms. This final workshop session led to the establishment of a biotechnology working group and proposals that are currently awaiting funding from various agencies. With funding, this group of educators will be able to conduct summer curriculum development workshops and purchase equipment and supplies for the integration of emerging concepts in biotechnology into the high school classroom.

Scott Stewart lecturing on asymbiotic orchid seed germination techniques.

The feedback from the participating teachers was strong and enthusiastic. They found the two days of hands-on labs extremely well orchestrated and applicable to their classroom needs. The opportunity to attend sessions at the SIVB was a bonus that they deeply appreciated. And, from the follow up discussions, it is clear that they have formed some new contacts and alliances that will carry on into the future.

Participant conducting parrot feather shoot organogenesis lab.


Michael Kane lecturing on micropropagation techniques.


Participant using laminar flow hood during lab exercise.


Submitted by Todd Murphy

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