Through an exciting partnership with the Amgen Biotech Experience (ABE), science came alive for the SCCS AP Biology students at the beginning of 2018. Through ABE, teachers are trained to lead their students through biotechnology lab activities and are provided high quality laboratory supplies and curriculum, all for free.
“In AP Biology, a key topic is the structure and function of bacteria,” explained Debbie Brenner, Science Teacher. “Students learn the mechanisms by which bacteria are able to take up foreign pieces of DNA. Doing the ABE labs allows students to work with bacteria and plasmids and to actually demonstrate the processes that they’ve read about.”
During the three week-long experience, students learned about the purpose of genetic engineering as well as the process of genetic engineering. These processes are the building blocks of understanding for the biotechnology industry which develops medicines to treat a variety of diseases.
“We need to expose students to current research and offer them options to enter into these fields, even as God is preparing them to be powerful witnesses in these arenas,” continued Brenner. “Students were amazed by the power that we have in being able to manipulate the DNA of living things in order to produce desired proteins. Science is a means to see God’s unrivaled creativity, God’s supreme wisdom and God’s attentive care. As we do science, we are constantly reminded that God is the revealer of what He has designed and maintains, and we are the intrepid explorers.”
As one of the world’s largest biotech company, Amgen is unrivaled in research in human genetics and in manufacturing biologics (medication produced by living organisms). Through the provision of the Amgen Foundation, this unique science education opportunity has inspired many students to pursue further education and careers in science and biology-related fields.
“My prayer is that students are amazed and humbled by what God has allowed us to discover and manipulate, in regard to the human body and other living things,” continued Brenner. “Students who love the Lord and continue in this field will offer a powerfully different perspective in their schools and workplaces. In research communities, often the focus is on what people can accomplish, how long they can extend their lives, how deftly they can manipulate their bodies and the world around them, in the way that they desire. In these settings, Christians are a fresh contrast, as they focus on what God wants to accomplish, as they rest in the fact that God knows the number of their days, as they trust God to guide their work in their bodies and in the world around them.”