For the 10th year, the Department of Molecular and Human Genetics at Baylor College of Medicine will host a genetics educational conference for Advanced Placement Biology students at Bellaire High School in Houston. The event is set for Feb. 20.

"This program allows students to learn about genetics in a hands-on way, and interacting directly with experts in the field provides an in-depth and meaningful perspective,” said Dr. Fernando Scaglia, professor of molecular and human genetics at Baylor, leader of the program and mentor to the students. "Exposing students to the world of genetics early in their academic career may open their minds to becoming the researchers or physician scientists of the future.”

This year, the event will include Baylor medical students involved in the specialized Genetics Track, as well as fellows in molecular and human genetics at Baylor.  

The event is sponsored by the American Society of Human Genetics, the Genetics Society of America, the National Sciences Resources Center and the National Association of Biology Teachers. It is part of the Geneticist-Educator Network of Alliances (GENA) Project, a science project designed to build a framework of long-term collaboration between educators and geneticists and a sustainable infrastructure to facilitate meaningful outreach efforts by genetics faculty members in secondary education.

Anna Loonam, an AP Biology teacher at Bellaire High School, will lead the event called “Genetics Night” with Scaglia.

“Genetics Night is something I look forward to every year. It provides my students with an opportunity to research topics beyond the AP Biology curriculum and to learn about human genetic disorders,” Loonam said.

Students from the Advanced Placement Biology classes will participate in a poster session discussion on various genetic disorders, including Down syndrome, Turner syndrome, fragile X syndrome and MELAS syndrome, among others. Divided into groups and assigned to different disorders, the students will educate their peers on each genetic disorder, the gene mutation or chromosomal abnormality-involved symptoms and research advances.

The presentations will be judged by Scaglia, Baylor medical students and fellows and Loonam.

The event will be held on Feb. 20. from 6 to 8 p.m. in the science conference center (room190) at Bellaire High School, 5100 Maple St., Bellaire, TX 77401.

It is free and open to the public. Parking is available in the faculty lot on S. Rice.

For more information, please contact Anna Loonam