MDI Biological Laboratory

Courses Already in Full Swing for 2022

  • February 1, 2022

Somehow February is already here and we’re proud to say that we’ve already successfully hosted three primarily in-person short courses for Maine INBRE undergraduate students. The year got underway with the University of Maine Honor’s College course “Molecular Mechanisms of Human Disease,” which featured faculty from the University of Maine, Dartmouth College, and MDI Biological Laboratory. Soon after that course got underway, we welcomed students from Southern Maine Community College for their course, “Stem Cells and Regeneration in Planarians.” Jason Pellettieri from Keene State College was the lead faculty member for this cohort and was supported by staff from SMCC and the MDI Biological Laboratory. After these first two courses concluded, students from Colby College arrived on campus for their course, “Developmental Programming of the Neuroendocrine Stress System.” This course was taught by scientific collaborators Andrea Tilden of Colby College and Jim Coffman, Associate Professor at the MDI Biological Laboratory and Principal Investigator of the Maine INBRE program.

It is always rejuvenating to have enthusiastic students on campus, and to start the year off with a focus on our Maine INBRE community. All students used the research training building that was supported by a bond initiative from the State of Maine. This marks the sixth year that we’ve held courses in this facility, which continues to support our full slate of courses and conferences. We also built on what we’ve learned from holding courses online the last two years, and so were able to have two faculty lead their section remotely. Additionally, as Dr. Pellettieri’s research overlaps with that of our own faculty, he gave a terrific hybrid scientific seminar to the SMCC students and our resident scientific staff.

These INBRE courses started in 2002, during the first iteration of the INBRE grant, BRIN. It’s remarkable that in these 20 years of short courses at the MDI Biological Laboratory, over 1,500 undergraduate and community college students have benefitted from these one-week hands-on research training opportunities. The course gives them the chance to hear about the different ways the Maine INBRE program supports students and the research of junior faculty at their home institutions. At the conclusion of their short course, these students truly are members of our growing biomedical research network. Many of them pursue additional research training opportunities after their one-week short course, as the course experience sparks or confirms interest in biomedical research. As one of our January course participants noted, “This experience has made me want to pursue MDIBL opportunities in the summer and in the future. I love how there is a clear mission and how everyone here works to accomplish it. I could go on and on about the wonderful experience I had while living here for a week. I will definitely be recommending this course to my peers.”

We look forward to continuing with our 2022 courses, and have four more undergraduate courses coming up in March!