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Oxford Nanopore announces education collaboration with Cold Spring Harbor DNA Learning Center and launches pilot accessible sequencing education programme

Thu 24th August 2023

Oxford Nanopore Technologies (Oxford Nanopore) today announced the launch of “Education beta”, its pilot education programme and the first of its kind in the world delivering nanopore sequencing into the global education sector, with the aim to increase life science literacy for the next generation. The pilot will include up to 50 scientists wishing to use sequencing for scientific education in high school or undergraduate settings. 

In addition, a collaboration has been agreed between Oxford Nanopore and the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory DNA Learning Center (DNALC) for the development of accessible educational infrastructure that has the potential to make in-classroom DNA sequencing routine for university and pre-university educators. 

The DNALC is a world-leading genetics educator, established over three decades ago as the world’s first science centre devoted entirely to public genetics education. Whilst located predominantly in Cold Spring Harbor, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Sleepy Hollow, New York, an additional 20 science centres globally have been modeled on or licensed to deliver DNALC educational products. Intended collaborations focus on optimising educational tools that integrate Oxford Nanopore’s uniquely accessible DNA sequencing technology. This includes updating of the DNALC’s DNA Subway bioinformatics platform for mobile nanopore sequence analysis, and integration of nanopore sequencing into both national and international educator training — with a prioritisation for educators at institutions serving historically excluded students. 

Gordon Sanghera, CEO, Oxford Nanopore Technologies, commented: 

“We designed the MinION to be affordable and accessible so that anyone, anywhere could be empowered to understand biology. The next generation of scientists have profound challenges to solve - and biological sciences can help. With the MinION in their hands they are encouraged to understand more about science, to ask questions of the world around them and generate answers and solutions not previously possible.  

I am thrilled that we are launching our pilot community programme and working alongside the Cold Spring Harbor team who bring their unrivalled experience to bear with the passion we collaboratively share for education.” 

David Micklos, founder and Executive Director DNALC: 

“Implementing on-demand DNA sequencing in schools and universities is one of the greatest unmet needs in bioscience education today. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is proud to work with Oxford Nanopore to meet this challenge.” 

This agreement comes alongside the launch of Education Beta from Oxford Nanopore, a new programme designed to enable and amplify the efforts of educators in the existing nanopore sequencing community. For years now, progressive scientific educators have been aligning nanopore sequencing with their pedagogical aims, enabling students from high school age to undergraduate to investigate the world around them. Notable examples include:  

  1. The Daffodil DNA Project, initiated by Jon Hale on the island of Jersey in conjunction with the University of Dundee1, 2, 3 

  1. The varied student investigations facilitated by Dan Shay, teacher and Science Curriculum Director at North Central High School, Spokane4,5 

  1. The coordinated, collaborative sequencing of Dermaptera species across Chile by the School Earwig Genome Consortium6 

  1. Dr Reindert Nijland’s use of the technology with ecology undergraduates at Wageningen University7 

Joining this list is the relatable real-world example from Eric Tong in Hawaii, sequencing SARS-CoV-2 genetic variants with high school students8 along with additional work on local biodiversity and global issues in bioethics9

Under the Education Beta programme a new community will be built to bring individuals together, give access to education-based pricing for a focused range of products, and facilitate a peer-to-peer network to develop further ideas for nanopore sequencing in education at undergraduate level and below. 

 

 

References 

  1. https://www.ocr.org.uk/blog/developing-a-connected-approach-to-a-level-biology-a-through-the-daffodil-dna-project/ 

  1. https://ecoevocommunity.nature.com/posts/taking-daffodil-dna-sequencing-to-the-public 

  1. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41437-020-00370-0  

  1. https://believeinme.news/why-its-so-important-to-have-girls-in-stem-education/ 

  1. https://www.spokesman.com/stories/2021/apr/12/meet-the-north-central-high-school-science-teacher/ 

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9935246/ 

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_W326_3Dc0 

  1. https://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/2022/03/10/classrooms-across-state-students-are-helping-hawaii-track-covid-variants/ 

  1. https://bigislandnow.com/2023/06/26/%ca%bbiolani-school-brings-cutting-edge-genome-science-to-hilo-high/