High School Science Discovery Program

High School students image corals on microscopes in the lab.
Students from St. Anne's-Belfield School image corals with microscopes. Credit: Dee Sullivan

Opportunities for Intensive, Discovery-based Learning

T░─├┼┴¨║¤▓╩app (MBL) has expanded upon its successful model used in its world-renowned Advanced Research Training Courses for pre- and postdoctoral training and applied it to high school students.┬á

With the MBLÔÇÖs High School Science Discovery Program (HSSDP), you can take your science classroom to the next level. WeÔÇÖll immerse your students in active, ongoing research conducted by ░─├┼┴¨║¤▓╩appresearch scientists who are tackling the major questions in basic biological sciences today. HSSDP allows your students hands-on learning and exploration of field and laboratory methods, and to discover the scientist within.

Course Format & Tuition Cost

Renowned scientists engage high school students in a unique ░─├┼┴¨║¤▓╩appimmersion experience to expand their knowledge and provide hands-on learning experiences. YouÔÇÖll explore the Marine Resources Center, hold an actual Nobel Prize, and interact with sea urchins, horseshoe crabs, and more in the touch tank. Courses often incorporate leading-edge microscopy and computer image analysis.

This program follows a cohort-based, residential model. To learn how your school can enroll in the High School Science Discovery Program, email Jean Enright, Program Administrator.

Week-Long Courses:  $2800 per student

Three-Day Courses:  $1400 per student

Tuition cost includes room and board, laboratory supplies and equipment, and activities.

Scholarship opportunities may be available for public schools. To find out if your public school qualifies, email Jean Enright, Program Administrator.

Lead Faculty: Blair Paul

Aquatic biomes can harbor incredibly diverse and abundant microbes, including the smallest members of Eukarya, Bacteria, Archaea, and their respective microbial viruses. In coastal environments, a single milliliter of water may contain 100,000 bacterial cells and tens of millions of viruses! But their numbers are very dynamic, being controlled by physical and chemical conditions, as well as the symbiotic interactions between microbes. These tiny organisms interact in various ways that can result in mutual benefit, or adversarial outcomes, and any of these interactions ÔÇô even viruses infecting microbial hosts ÔÇô can be considered a form of symbiosis.┬á┬áIn this course, we will explore the how filamentous and colonial cyanobacteria self-organize and interact with aquatic viruses. In the laboratory, students will learn techniques to visualize and quantify both bacterial cells and the aquatic viruses that infect them.┬á┬áIn the classroom we will discuss genome biology, introducing computational tools to investigate genetic processes in the context of symbiosis.┬á┬á

Lead Faculty: Lisa Abbo

Other faculty: Carrie Albertin

The course focuses on the anatomy, development, and physiology of various animals, with an emphasis on local marine species. A mixture of hands-on work and lectures in methods for physical exams, anesthesia, and diagnostic sample collection give students an understanding of basic anatomy, disease, and health monitoring. Students examine a range of marine species from finfish to coral, and other invertebrates through dissection and imaging. They also observe organ system development during embryogenesis, with the opportunity to create time-lapse videos of zebrafish embryos and collect their own confocal microscope data to create 3D reconstructions of embryonic structures.  These lab activities will allow them to learn how current research scientists aim to understand how organs form during normal development, and how errors in this process lead to various birth defects.

Lead Faculty: Scott Chimileski

In this course we will visualize the hidden microworld. Thousands of kinds of bacteria and other microorganisms live across different sites of the human body, within microbial communities known as microbiomes. Students will have the opportunity to collect microbial biofilms from their own tongue, and then learn a special way to prepare the samples that will allow us to capture images showing many common human oral bacteria simultaneously, each labeled with a different color. We will analyze the images to understand how the human tongue microbiome functions as a microscopic ecosystem, where the different bacterial species interact with one another. We will also discuss why these microbial ecosystems are considered a normal part of the body, found on every person today and throughout history, and how they can be beneficial for human health.  

Lead Faculty: David Mark Welch, Hilary Morrison

Other faculty: Mitchell Sogin

Our ability to sequence DNA extracted from a wide variety of sources allows us to detect and identify organisms that we cannot see or culture. We have become aware that most multicellular creatures exist in a symbiotic relationship with microorganisms--their microbiome. As well, we are now able to monitor the presence of both micro and macroorganisms using DNA shed into the environment (eDNA). In this course, the students will investigate the host-associated microbiomes of marine model animals from the MBL's Marine Resources Center and/or identify the macroorganisms present in an ecosystem based on eDNA. Students will be introduced to the fundamentals of sequence-based community analysis through a combination of lectures, group discussion, laboratory work, and computer exercises. Students will design a sample collection scheme, collect environmental and host samples, record metadata, extract DNA, and construct sequencing libraries using the polymerase chain reaction. They will learn to use on-line bioinformatics tools for DNA sequence characterization and community composition analysis.

Lead Faculty: Carrie Albertin and Scott Bennett

This course will allow students to not only learn how CRISPR/Cas9 technology works, but to apply the technique in the lab to understand how it is used by research scientists to explore questions in basic biology, and the techniques implications for improving human health. Genome editing will be used to explore the development of the zebrafish, Danio rerio, a key species in biomedical research worldwide.  Students will manipulate genes involved in development to understand embryogenesis and organ formation, and how this research is directly connected to understanding human health and birth defects.  The course will also expose students to modern methods in microscopy. Finally, will also discuss the ethical implications of genome editing, an issue that is highly relevant to all members of society.

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