600 Seventh Graders Infiltrate Shady Grove Life Sciences Center - Adventist HealthCare

News Release

Media Contact: Loren Nix
Media pager: 301-224-5714

Published on October 13, 2010

600 Seventh Grade Scientists Infiltrate Shady Grove Life Sciences Center for Frontiers in Science and Medicine Day

Rockville, MD – Almost 600 local middle school students will learn what it means to be a scientist or doctor during a visit to the Shady Grove Life Sciences Center on Oct. 8 for the second annual Frontiers in Science and Medicine Day.

Seventh graders from Julius West Middle School in Rockville, Md., and Montgomery Village Middle School in Montgomery Village, Md., will spend the day participating in hands-on science activities at the Johns Hopkins University Montgomery County Campus, such as learning about personalized medicine from a Johns Hopkins University biotechnology professor, playing a video game used by Shady Grove Adventist Hospital surgeons for training and finding out why grape Kool-Aid is purple from the National Institutes of Health Chemical Genomics Center (NCGC).

“I am pleased that NCGC has this opportunity as part of Frontiers in Science and Medicine Day to help introduce students to the exciting possibilities of careers in science and medicine,” said Dr. Christopher Austin, Director of NCGC. “Educating students about the limitless potential of science, technology, engineering, and math provides a solid foundation for a lifetime of exploration and learning.”

In addition to the hands-on activities, students will have the opportunity to spend an hour in a local laboratory, seeing first-hand what scientists do each day.

Local biotech company BioReliance is one of the labs participating in the hands-on experiments at the JHU campus, as well as hosting a lab tour.

For the hands-on portion, BioReliance will give students the opportunity to see how drugs and other chemicals may possibly cause genetic damage or mutations that may be transformed into pre-cancerous cells.

“BioReliance is honored to be a participant in the Frontiers in Science and Medicine Day,” said Jim Kramer, Vice President of BioReliance’s U.S. Operations. “The company has a rich history of providing innovative solutions to our clients in the development and testing of drug compounds and medical devices. This innovation is wholly dependent upon the scientific expertise of our employees. We can think of no better way in enhancing the future of this company than to provide guidance and instruction to those students looking toward a career in science and technology."

Shady Grove Adventist Hospital, Johns Hopkins Montgomery County and NCGC spearheaded Frontiers in Science and Medicine Day with the support of 13 Montgomery County-based businesses and organizations.

“This event is a unique, hands-on career fair that gives students the chance to ask experts about their respective fields in the biosciences, to literally explore the next frontiers in research and medicine,” explained Dennis Hansen, President of Shady Grove Adventist Hospital. “We hope the students will be inspired by seeing classroom lessons applied in real life.”

“We’re extremely excited to be hosting the hands-on portion of Frontiers in Science and Medicine Day for the second year in a row,” said Elaine Amir, Executive Director, Johns Hopkins Montgomery County. “These students are our future workforce. We have to engage them now and get them excited about science so that they pursue a STEM-based education. The best way to do that is to show them what being a scientist is all about.”

As part of the Frontiers program, mobile science labs from the MdBio Foundation and the J Craig Venter Institute visited the middle schools the week of the event to help prepare the students for the experience with a science experiment called “Oil and Water Don’t Mix,” which examines the effects of oil on the feathers of marine birds.

“This innovative partnership is a fantastic way to help students understand the real world applications of what they learn in the classroom and to promote science, technology, engineering and math to keep our nation competitive internationally,” said Dr. Jerry Weast, superintendent of Montgomery County Public Schools.

Dr. Stewart Edelstein, Executive Director of the Universities at Shady Grove, which is also participating in Frontiers Day, agreed: “Frontiers in Science and Medicine is a way we can partner with our schools to generate interest and to help increase the number of students who choose to pursue scientific and medical careers.”

The Shady Grove Life Sciences Center was created by Montgomery County in 1983. It is home to health-care services, biotechnology companies and higher education facilities that established themselves around Shady Grove Adventist Hospital.

The Shady Grove Life Sciences Center is the first business park in the United States to be zoned exclusively for biotechnology and life sciences industries. Today, it is the nucleus of Montgomery County’s life sciences cluster, which boasts more than 200 private companies and 45,000 professionals.

Shady Grove Adventist Hospital is a not-for-profit, acute care facility in Rockville, Maryland, with 336 licensed beds. Shady Grove is committed to delivering excellent health care through a ministry of physical, mental and spiritual healing. The hospital offers a broad range of health services and is recognized for excellence in emergency care; high-risk obstetrical and neonatal care; cardiac and vascular interventional care oncology care; several surgical specialties; and a number of specialized services for children. The Shady Grove Adventist Emergency Center in Germantown provides emergency medical care to more than 35,000 residents each year. Shady Grove Adventist Hospital is part of Maryland-based Adventist HealthCare, an integrated health care delivery system that is one of the largest employers in the state of Maryland.For additional information visit www.shadygroveadentisthospital.com