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Bridging the Gap 2015

Media coverage, extensive NIH participation mark fourth annual NCABR STEM conference

NCABR’s fourth annual Bridging the Gap: Uniting North Carolina K-16 STEM Education conference attracted media attention and included extensive participation from NIH – both firsts for the program series.

The conference, held October 27-28 at the McKimmon Conference and Training Center in Raleigh, drew 377 speakers and attendees from 42 North Carolina counties and seven other states (AL, MD, NE, NJ, NY, SC and VA).

Time Warner Cable News produced a 90-second story that aired twice on Oct. 27. The first 30 seconds of the interview can be viewed online. The news crew filmed a session led by Rahman Tashakkori, Lowe’s Distinguished Professor of Computer Science in the Department of Computer Science at Appalachian State University.

Education NC, which has more than 2,700 subscribers and also collaborates with traditional media outlets to republish content at no cost, produced this piece with extensive photography and quotes from attendees.

NCABR’s online photo gallery from the conference is here.

Extensive NIH Involvement

NCABR was delighted to have Tony Beck, director of the NIH Office of Science Education and program officer of the Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) from the NIH Office of Research Infrastructure Programs, as a program speaker and exhibitor this year. Dr. Beck led two conference sessions: one for K-12 attendees showcasing SEPA-funded preK-12 educational programs and resources and another session for higher ed faculty about how to apply for SEPA grants. Dr. Beck also distributed more than 1,000 free copies of the NIH curriculum supplements on various biomedical topics to conference attendees at the NIH exhibit booth. While this was not the first time NIH had participated in Bridging the Gap, (Dr. Bruce Fuchs, then director of the NIH Office of Science Education, provided a crowd-favorite keynote address at the inaugural conference in 2012), Dr. Beck’s participation was by far the most extensive partnership with NIH to date.


We thank the following conference sponsors for keeping costs affordable for all attendees: the Biogen Foundation, Morehead Planetarium & Science Center, National Geographic Learning/CENGAGE Learning, the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, Davidson College, East Carolina University and UNC Charlotte.

For more information

For more information about the 2015 conference, including presentations and photos, please visit

Special Thanks

We extend special thanks to the following NCABR board members and others who volunteered from the NCABR membership at this year’s conference: Ron Banks (Duke), Terry Blankenship-Parish (NIEHS), Harriet Burgess (formerly of GSK), Jere Confrey (NCSU), Chris Duffrin (ECU), Melani Duffrin (ECU), Rob Dunn (NCSU), Yolanda Dunston (NCCU), Stephanie Evans (WSSU), Tonya Hargett (NC A&T), Lisa Hibler (NCSU), Julie Johnson (ECU), Jason Painter (NCSU), Liz Parry (NCSU), R. Mitchell Parry (Appstate), Scott Ragan (NCSU), Ashley Roseno (ECU), Dave Small (J.D. Small Consulting), Leyf Starling (NCSU), Holly Sullenger (NCSU), Paola Sztajn (NCSU), Rahman Tashakkori (Appstate), Bill Wade (Duke), Bill Wilkison (Duke) and Chandra Williams (UNCC).

Upcoming Programs: Three I’s & Biosecurity Conference

“Creating Connections, Sharing Solutions, Building Strategies” are all components of the Three I’s & Biosecurity conference that will be held April 13-15 at the Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill. The event will address the emerging and complex challenges that touch the IACUC, IBC and IRB communities — issues relating to nanotechnology, CRISPR technology, importing/exporting and much, much more. This conference is essential for the collaboration that drives the research community forward, enabling attendees to work smarter, not harder.

NCABR is teaming up with the Massachusetts Society for Medical Research and the FBI Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate to present a program with recognized industry experts and compliance professionals who will provide concrete strategies that will allow attendees to stay ahead of challenging regulatory and security issues. Panels and interactive discussion groups promise to offer a multifaceted learning experience.

Half-day workshops will be held April 13 on disaster planning, the ABCs for IACUCs and IBCs, and specialized training for IRBs led by PRIM&R.

As always, employees at NCABR member institutions receive significant registration discounts. Early bird registration rates run through February 24.

To find out more about the conference, to see the agenda and to register, click here.

Upcoming Programs: FoodMASTER

Using food as a tool to teach hands-on, minds-on science to 7th and 8th graders is the focus of the FoodMASTER Middle Science Rx for Science Literacy teacher training workshop Feb. 26 at the Laupus Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC. The workshop runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Rx for Science Literacy has partnered with FoodMASTER, an NIH SEPA-funded resource, to provide a 10-unit curriculum resource for middle school teachers. The classroom-tested curriculum supplement features 24 hands-on laboratory experiences and 12 health-focused extension activities. Each chapter provides users with hands-on, application-based activities, detailed procedures, science concepts to be emphasized, materials needed, critical thinking exercises and background knowledge with instructions for educators.

NCABR first offered this program in November. (See related story in Recent Activities.)

For more information, click here.

Upcoming Programs: Evolution & Medicine

An Rx for Science Literacy workshop in March will introduce teachers in grades 9-12 to a curriculum that allows students to explore evolutionary principles and learn how evolution informs human health, biomedical problems and disease treatment.

The Evolution & Medicine workshop is March 1, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Duke University’s Hock Plaza Auditorium. Click here for more information.

Recent Activities

In addition to the Bridging the Gap conference, NCABR has been involved in a number of activities in recent months involving companies, academic institutions, teachers, nonprofits and others to provide opportunities to improve science literacy and STEM education in North Carolina.

Healthy Children-Healthy World

Nineteen teachers participated in The Healthy Children-Healthy World Rx for Science Literacy workshop at North Carolina Central University in Durham on July 27th. NCABR partnered with the Center for Translational Health Equality Research (CTHER) and the School of Education at NCCU to present a one-day workshop featuring an NIH-funded curriculum that introduces school-age children to concepts and activities that promote healthy lifestyle choices.

The Healthy Children-Healthy World curriculum is designed to engage teachers and students in lessons that integrate Common Core standards for math and English language arts and the North Carolina Essential Standards in science and healthful living for grades K-5.

NCABR thanks Kisha Daniels and the staff at the NCCU School of Education for their roles in this program. 

The Brain: Understanding Neurobiology Through the Study of Addiction

This Rx for Science Literacy workshop reviewed a curriculum that addresses the fundamentals of neurobiology, how drugs of abuse change the brain and how drug addiction is a treatable, chronic brain disease.

Twenty-one teachers participated in this workshop at Duke University Sept. 15.

Thanks to Ron Banks, Ed Levin, Amir Rezvani and Bill Wade (Duke University) for their roles in this program.

FoodMASTER Middle Science

The first Rx for Science Literacy workshop this school year on FoodMASTER Middle Science was held Nov. 6 at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh. This is a partnership with FoodMASTER, an NIH SEPA-funded resource for middle-grade science classrooms, to use food for teaching and hands-on activities. Each lesson is aligned with the North Carolina Essential Standards in science and the Next Generation Science Standards. (See Upcoming Programs: FoodMASTER to find out more about the next event.)

Twenty-five middle school teachers were part of this workshop. NCABR thanks Virginia Carraway-Stage, Melani Duffrin, Ashley Roseno, Allender Lynch and Julie Johnson from East Carolina University, as well as Debra Bailey and Christy Flint at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, for their roles in this program.

Reaching K-12 teachers, teens at November statewide conferences

Many thanks to Cheresa Clemons (NCCU) and Jeff Everitt (GSK) for volunteering with NCABR in November at conferences across the state. Dr. Clemons led a session for elementary teachers at the NC Science Teachers Association annual conference in Winston-Salem about the NIH-funded, NCCU-developed Healthy Children-Healthy World curriculum. This curriculum introduces school-age children to concepts and activities that promote healthy lifestyle choices. Dr. Everitt led multiple sessions on the topic of animal rights and animal welfare at the NC School of Science and Math’s annual Ethics and Leadership conference for teenagers. Students from across the state attended the conference, which was held in Durham.

NCABR collaborates with Biogen Idec Foundation to assist teachers from economically distressed counties

RALEIGH (Aug. 6, 2014) — The North Carolina Association for Biomedical Research (NCABR) is excited to announce a collaboration with the Biogen Idec Foundation that will send teachers from North Carolina’s most economically distressed counties to this year’s Bridging the Gap STEM education conference for free.

Through the Biogen Idec Foundation Scholars program, the Biogen Idec Foundation will cover registration fees and travel costs for 40 K-12 teachers who work in Tier 1 counties. Tier 1 counties have been deemed North Carolina’s most economically distressed by the state Department of Commerce.

“Science is for everyone,” said Machelle Sanders, North Carolina trustee of the Biogen Idec Foundation. “The Biogen Idec Foundation wants to spark a passion for science and STEM fields among children across North Carolina. We know that investing in our teachers is one of the most important and effective ways to reach our future science leaders.”

K-12 teachers and administrators who attend Bridging the Gap also will be eligible to apply for special funding for their schools to support STEM education programs and resources.

Bridging the Gap is an annual conference organized by NCABR. It brings together representatives from K-12 education, higher education, industry, state and local government, and other groups, such as museums and economic development nonprofits. Attendees share ideas and resources toward a common goal of strengthening science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, education throughout North Carolina at the K-12 and college levels.

The third annual edition of Bridging the Gap will be held Oct. 28-29, 2014, at the McKimmon Conference & Training Center, in Raleigh. Over the past two years, more than 650 educators, thought leaders, policymakers, industry representatives and others have attended. The Biogen Idec Foundation is the presenting sponsor of this year’s conference.

NCABR is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1989 by the leaders in North Carolina’s bioscience research community. NCABR’s members and supporters include academia, industry, government, nonprofit research organizations and professional societies.

The Biogen Idec Foundation’s mission is to improve the quality of peoples’ lives and contribute to the vitality of the communities in which Biogen Idec operates. The Foundation focuses on STEM education and is committed to sparking a passion for science and discovery, supporting innovative STEM initiatives, and strengthening efforts to make science accessible to diverse populations.

More information about:

List of Tier 1 North Carolina counties

Alleghany • Anson • Beaufort • Bertie • Bladen • Burke • Caldwell • Camden • Caswell • Chowan • Clay • Columbus • Edgecombe • Gates • Graham • Greene • Halifax • Hertford • Hoke • Hyde • Jackson • Jones • Lenoir • Martin • Mitchell • Montgomery • Northampton • Pasquotank • Perquimans • Richmond • Robeson • Rockingham • Rutherford • Scotland • Surry • Swain • Tyrrell • Vance • Warren • Washington • Wilson


NCABR media contact

Derek Howles

Director of Communications & Digital Media

919.785.1304 x 206


Biogen Idec Foundation media contact

Gena Renfrow

RTP Representative



Science advocacy group partners with Novozymes to educate K–12 teachers

RALEIGH (June 26, 2012) — The North Carolina Association for Biomedical Research (NCABR) is excited to announce the expansion of its acclaimed science education workshop series to the North American headquarters of a leading biotechnology company.

On Thursday, June 28, the Franklinton, N.C., campus of Novozymes will host its first-ever workshop in NCABR’s Rx for Science Literacy series. Dozens of K–12 science educators from throughout North Carolina will attend the free workshop, titled Biotechnology Research & Careers, where they will go behind the scenes to get an up-close look at Novozymes’ groundbreaking biotech research.

The teachers also will receive hands-on instruction with two biotech curriculum resources developed by NCABR: the Mapping Your Future: Careers in Biomanufacturing manual and the “Heal, Feed, Sustain” short film teacher guide.

Since 1994, Rx for Science Literacy has helped more than 3,700 educators from 95 of North Carolina’s 100 counties prepare themselves and their students for the career opportunities, technologies and ethical issues that make up the ever-changing bioscience landscape.

NCABR is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1989 by the leaders in North Carolina’s bioscience research community. NCABR’s members and supporters include academia, industry, government, nonprofit research organizations and professional societies.

Novozymes is the world leader in bioinnovation. Together with customers across a broad array of industries the company creates tomorrow’s industrial biosolutions, improving its customers’ business and the use of our planet’s resources. With over 700 products used in 130 countries, Novozymes’ bioinnovations improve industrial performance and safeguard the world’s resources by offering superior and sustainable solutions for tomorrow’s ever-changing marketplace.

More information about:


NCABR Media Contact

Derek Howles, Director of Communications

919.785.1304 x 206


Animal care

FEB. 25, 2010
Your Feb. 15 article “New team lifts veil on animal testing” reported on a creative new partnership that will accelerate discovery and development of innovative biomedical technologies and products. However, the article failed to recognize the extremely high standards of care that govern animal research in this country — standards that are mandated through an extensive network of laws and regulations and include unannounced inspections of laboratory animal facilities by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.READ MORE