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edgarMichael Edgar of the science faculty is one of 24 high school biology teachers nationwide chosen to participate in a three-day workshop with leading research scientists at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.

During a three-day session, teachers learn to work with Wolbachia, a widespread bacterium that lives in roughly 20 percent of the world’s insects. “I’m looking forward to this because I’ve never worked with this particular strain of bacteria before, and I also haven’t done much work with insects,” Michael says. “I’m excited to learn something new—the application of molecular biology used in extracting the Wolbachia DNA.”

Michael will bring this knowledge back to his classroom, where students will conduct research for Discover the Microbes Within:The Wolbachia Project. The students will work on sequencing the bacteria’s DNA, taken from local insects, and contribute their findings to a genetic database at the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Scientists will use this information in researching whether this unique bacterium could play an important role in mitigating Dengue Fever in mosquito populations.

Michael plans to introduce his Genetics students to an aspect of the project later this spring. In addition, he’s planning a more formal project related to this work for next year’s Honors Biology students.

The three-day program is sponsored by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Precollege Science Education Program.