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210 Pittsboro Street, Campus Box 6210
Chapel Hill, NC  27599-6210
(919) 962-2091   FAX: (919) 962-2279


Not for publication Nov. 2, 1998 – No. 810


UNC-CH ties to bring innovative Boston University’s MobileLab classroom on wheels to science teacher conference, Chapel Hill

Wednesday, Nov. 4
Joseph S. Koury Convention Center parking
High Point Road, Greensboro High Point Road, Greensboro

Friday, Nov. 6
Swain Hall parking lot

MobileLab, a science education-biotechnology laboratory on wheels from Boston University’s School of Medicine, will make its first stops in North Carolina this week, thanks to ties with a statewide UNC-Chapel Hill-based program that seeks to increase diversity in science fields. MobileLab, a 40-foot bus featuring state-of-the-art equipment, is part of Boston University’s CityLab program, which has attracted 17,000 middle and high school students and their teachers since 1992. MobileLab features seven curriculum modules in molecular and cell biology that are hands-on investigations using inquiry-based teaching methods. The project is funded by the National Institutes of Health, Science Education Partnership Award and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, which also supports UNC-CH’s program.

On Wednesday, MobileLab will make a stop in Greensboro for the N.C. Science Teachers Association 30th annual conference at the Joseph S. Koury Convention Center, located at the Holiday Inn Four Seasons off High Point Road. Participating science teachers from across the state will have the opportunity to tour the portable lab, to be located in an adjoining parking lot, and participate in such sessions as "Case of the Crown Jewels," designed to teach students about DNA fingerprinting. Participants will cut DNA with molecular scissors and run the fragments in a special gel. On Friday, the bus will head for Chapel Hill, where it will park from about 9 a.m. to noon and offer 30-minute tours to professionals interested in secondary education, education policy, science education or outreach.

UNC-CH’s Partnership for Minority Advancement in the Biomolecular Sciences arranged for MobileLab’s stops because officials are exploring a similar project for North Carolina. The partnership is collaborating with CityLab on secondary science education outreach and recently received a four-year, $1.6 million grant from the Hughes institute to extend its outreach with seven historically minority universities statewide including N.C. A&T in Greensboro and N.C. Central in Durham.

On-site sources: Constance Phillips, CityLab director; Don Derosa, CityLab education coordinator; Dr. Skip Bollenbacher, UNC-CH biology professor and executive director of the partnership, 962-2289/ Bollenbacher will participate in Wednesday afternoon sessions in Greensboro. On Friday, UNC-CH contacts on site include Nancy Barnes, partnership coordinator.

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Contacts Mike McFarland (919) 962-8593, Karen Moon (broadcast) (919) 962-8595