GlycoNet and the U of A’s CMASTE expand glycomics-related curricula

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By Chardelle Prevatt

Recently, global initiatives within healthcare and science have focused on increasing carbohydrate research. Glycomics, or the study of the role of carbohydrates in biological processes, can help scientists unravel the complexities of many diseases that afflict humans.

This past summer, GlycoNet, in partnership with the University of Alberta’s Centre for Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education (CMASTE), recruited four teachers—two at the U of A to join the Derda Research Group, and two in the Quebec City area to work in Denis Giguère’s lab at l’Universite Laval.

Over several weeks, the teachers immersed themselves in the research labs, collaborating with GlycoNet principal investigators and lab members. Drawing on their experiences, the teachers established new connections between glycomics research and high school STEM curricula.

“As part of our vision, GlycoNet continues to work closely with the CMASTE program to ensure that Canadian high school students have access to novel glycomics-related STEM services,” said GlycoNet Executive Director Dr. Elizabeth Nanak. “This year the advanced curricula are designed to show students the multiple career pathways in the glycomics field.”

Our latest STEM resources for use in high school classrooms nationwide are now available in English and French on both the GlycoNet and CMASTE websites.

“This program is really a win-win for everyone involved. The teachers have the opportunity to develop new classroom resources and share them with their colleagues, while the researchers are able to communicate their work to new audiences that they typically wouldn’t reach,” explained Ryan Snitynsky, Training and Project Management Coordinator of GlycoNet. “But most importantly, the students who learn from these resources will realize that fascinating discoveries aren’t always made in far-flung locales – innovations are being made right in their own backyards. Our partnership with CMASTE helps to bring that university research into the classroom in a fun and accessible way.”

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