Research Experience for Teachers In Neurobiology At Davidson College

Paid Summer Research Fellowship for a Charlotte Area Biology Teacher
R.E.T.I.N.A. is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation

As issues such as genetically modified organisms, bioterrorism, global warming, stem cells, and cloning thrust science, ethics, and politics into public debates, educating citizens with the basic intellectual tools to analyze emerging scientific research becomes more critical.   Because experimentation is the basis of all scientific knowledge, it is essential that students appreciate how scientific research is conducted in order to understand and interpret scientific information.
A new National Science Foundation (NSF) grant funds R.E.T.I.N.A., a unique summer research experience for a high school biology teacher to engage in original biological research under the guidance of Dr. Barbara Lom at Davidson College.  Her laboratory investigates how neurons develop by studying the shape of retinal neurons in tadpoles.  Each summer the lab employs a full-time research technician and 3 - 6 undergraduates.

The R.E.T.I.N.A. fellow will experience the process of scientific research first hand by:
• conducting original scientific research with  the goal of contributing data to future scientific publications
• learning to use research techniques such as: digital imaging, laser (confocal) microscopy, embryology, microsurgery, tissue culture, immunostaining, microinjection, and/or time-lapse imaging
•  collaborating with other scientists including undergraduate researchers, the lab technician, and Dr. Lom 
experiencing the variety of research questions and methods conducted by other laboratories in the life sciences at Davidson
discussing the practice of scientific research and current research topics in weekly gatherings with other life scientists

The teacher will share and apply research experiences by:
developing new methods for her/his high school biology classroom
• presenting research results in a summer poster symposium at Davidson
• establishing partnerships with Davidson faculty and  students

All high school biology teachers in the Charlotte region are eligible to apply for the R.E.T.I.N.A. fellowship if they have:
•  interests in gaining (or enhancing) research lab experience
•  interests in developmental biology, the visual system, and/or neuroscience
•  interests in active teaching via hands-on   experimentation
•  abilities to collaborate with other  researchers
•  at least one year of full-time high school  biology teaching experience
•  plans to continue teaching biology in  2005-2006
No previous experience in neurobiology or biological research is required.

$650/week for up to 10 weeks* of full-time summer research (Note: stipend is taxable income.)
*Specific work dates may be negotiable based on the school calendar. Daily research hours may include some flexibility.

Upon successful completion of research, the R.E.T.I.N.A. fellow will be able to purchase $1,000 of scientific materials for her/his classroom.

R.E.T.I.N.A. applicants must submit:
• a 1-2 page statement describing the applicant as a teacher and scientist, including specific interests and goals, any previous research experience, motivations to conduct laboratory research, specific qualifications for this unique research program, and how the R.E.T.I.N.A. summer research experience will enhance the applicant’s high school biology teaching 
• a resume (or curriculum vitae) that includes courses taught, applicant’s contact information, and contact information for three references
• college transcript(s)   (copies acceptable)
• at least one sealed reference letter from a previous research mentor, senior science teacher, department chair, and/or high school administrator commenting on the applicant’s abilities to participate successfully in the R.E.T.I.N.A. program and enhance her/his teaching
All documents must be sent in a single envelope and received by April 01, 2005. (extended deadline)
Send application to:
Attn: James Barnes
Biology Department
Davidson College
Davidson, NC 28035-7118

Selected candidates will be invited to Davidson for interviews in April and a R.E.T.I.N.A. fellow will be selected by April 30, 2005.

Dr. Barbara Lom (Lab Director)   

James Barnes (Lab Technician)

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updated 27 March 2005 by B. Lom