Education and Awareness
Explaining the Impact of Genomics
In April 2011, OGI launched the WhyGenomics website – a resource for non-scientists to explain the study of genes, why genomics research is important and the wide-spread practical application genomics has in health, the environment and agriculture. To increase public knowledge about this new resource, an awareness campaign ran throughout September. This campaign was the first of its kind for OGI, featuring posters highlighting the impact of genomics research with captions such as “We’ve got cancer running scared.” The initiative generated 5.25 million impressions and resulted in a 225 percent increase in traffic to WhyGenomics, many of which were first-time visitors.
Inspiring the Next Generation of Genomics Researchers
OGI supports a number of education related events to showcase the power of genomics:
The Summer Research Fellowship program offers undergraduate students a unique opportunity to engage in research in genomics, proteomics, bioinformatics, or GE³LS (ethical, economic, environmental, legal, and/or social issues relating to genomics and proteomics research). In 2011, OGI sponsored seven research fellows, who participated in laboratory research, analysis of policy and technology development.
OGI awarded a Genomics Teaching Award to Jackie Ross from Thornlea Secondary School. Ms. Ross’ teaching demonstrated her commitment to introducing the next generation of Ontarians to the effect of genomics and its many applications, outcomes and socio-economic impacts. Ms. Ross created innovative partnerships with other institutions to ensure her students received a wide and detailed understanding of the practical and theoretical impact of genomics.
During National Biotechnology Week in September, OGI hosted over 400 students at two educational events. The first event, in partnership with the MaRS Discovery District, educated high school students about genomics and epigenetics. OGI also worked with the Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute to educate more than a hundred Grade 11 and 12 students in Thunder Bay about careers in genomics and medicine. Both of these events were successful and a number of students expressed an interest in careers that included genomics.