Utah State University is currently accepting applications from high school students for its upcoming Biotech Summer Academy, which promises to deliver new experiences for aspiring students.

The program is open to students entering 11th or 12th grade this fall. It was developed by the Center for Integrated BioSystems at USU to expose participating students to the college experience and give them an idea of what the various life sciences and bioengineering fields encompass.

Plus, organizers say, the experience is worthwhile.

"This is a wonderful opportunity to experience biotechnological research at the university level and experience the college environment," said Afifa Sabir, program director for the academy.

Students will work directly with faculty mentors on hands-on projects in biotechnology. The course promises to touch on multiple disciplines including biology, genomics, proteomics, bioinformatics, chemistry, microbiology, biochemistry, food and nutrition sciences, biological and environmental engineering, plant and soil science, animal, dairy and veterinary sciences, stem cell research, cloning and nuclear transfer techniques.

"The academy offers an exciting glimpse of the many research and career opportunities available in biotechnology," Sabir said.

A grant from Utah Applied Science, Technology and Engineering Camps, in association with the science adviser in the governor's Office of Economic Development subsidizes the academy. The program, however, will cost students $100 and includes housing, meals and materials during the five-day academy. Participants are responsible for their own transportation to and from the campus.

The academy takes place July 7-11 at USU. Applications will be accepted through June 13. Information can be found at biosystems.usu.edu.


E-mail: wleonard@desnews.com