Georgetown University Medical Center(GUMC) has received a grant from the Amgen Foundation to help implement the Amgen Biotech Experience,an innovative science education program, in Washington. This program provides a real-world biotech lab experience to middle and high school students.

“At Georgetown, we place a high value on community engagement, particularly with students who will be our future scientists,” says Jack G. Chirikjian, PhD, recipient of the two-year, $217,475 grant. “With Amgen Foundation’s support, we can transport the laboratory experience here on campus to students in the community.” Chirikjian isa professor in the department of biochemistry and molecular & cellular biology at (GUMC).

The Amgen Biotech Experience, expected to launch in Washington in 2014, introduces students and teachers in middle and high school classrooms to contemporary science techniques. The program provides teachers with a robust, hands-on biology curriculum, in addition to a full suite of transportable, research-grade equipment and supplies, at no cost to the participating schools. Students are taught the scientific principles behind many Nobel Prize-winning discoveries, and are guided through the steps that biomedical researchers use to produce medicines.

For Georgetown, this work adds to other ongoing student training projects at GUMC including a recently awarded National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to train local high school students in labs at Georgetown and the NIH.
“The success of the Amgen Biotech Experience is due in large part to the grantees in our communities,” said Jean Lim Terra, president of the Amgen Foundation. “The collaboration with undergraduate institutions and nonprofit organizations helps give students real-world, hands-on lab experience to introduce them to the excitement of biotechnology and scientific discovery.”

The Amgen Foundation seeks to advance science education; improve patient access to quality care; and strengthen the communities where Amgen staff members live and work. To date, the Foundation has donated over $200 million in grants to nonprofit organizations throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and Europe that impact society in inspiring and innovative ways, and those that provide disaster relief efforts both domestically and internationally.