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Growing the Next Generation of Scientists

What is GeneLab for High Schools?

GeneLab for High Schools (GL4HS) is a four-week intensive training program for rising high school juniors and seniors sponsored by NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, California. GL4HS provides students an opportunity to immerse themselves in space life sciences with a specific focus on omics-based bioinformatics research, the science of collecting and analyzing complex biological data such as genetic codes, and computational biology.

Applications the Summer 2024 Program Have Closed

Check back here starting in December 2024 for the 2025 application information. Applications are usually open in January or February for a period of 3-4 weeks.

To subscribe to our mailing list and to receive e-mail announcements about the program and application process, please send an email to arc-gl4hs@mail.nasa.gov with “subscribe” in the subject to be added to our mailing list.

During the training program, students work closely with the GL4HS team to learn and/or obtain training in:

  • NASA space biology research
  • Omics-based research
  • Bioinformatics and computational biology methods and techniques to analyze omics data
  • Applications of the bioinformatics analyses to NASA Space Biology science
  • Development of a competitive team experimental proposal based on analysis of data from the GeneLab Data Repository
  • Formal oral presentation skills
  • Students will also network and form connections with guest lecturers including university professors and industry experts

GL4HS provides an opportunity for students to develop their educational and scientific skills including leadership, team-work, data analysis, problem solving, and independent learning.

GL4HS – Teacher Internship
Up to three high school teachers are invited to participate in the program alongside the high school students. (See below for more details)

GL4HS – The Program

The program focuses on three core components:

1. Learning Modules
Students learn scientific concepts, bioinformatics analysis and critical thinking skills through interactive classes such as ‘Molecular Biology and the Omics Revolution’ and ‘Think like a Scientist.’ They learn to apply their knowledge and skills through hands-on computer laboratory training using real world Space Biology omics-based science. Specifically, through the analysis of datasets on NASA’s GeneLab Data System, students learn about organismal physiology in microgravity, cutting edge omics, and how to analyze the data using bioinformatics and computational biology methods and techniques.
2. Networking
Students learn about NASA’s life sciences programs and meet scientists and engineers who are conducting research and are responsible for studying biology in space. Students are introduced to both academic and industry experts in the field through guest lectures, networking receptions and virtual field trips. Students have opportunities to build their network and make key connections with professors and industry experts who may aid them in their future college careers.
3. Research Training Competition
Self-forming student teams will use the results of their analyses to develop hypotheses and produce a research proposal, which will be submitted to NASA for review and selection. One student team may be selected by the Space Biology Program Office to present their research at the annual conference of the American Society for Gravitational and Space Research (ASGSR).

GL4HS – The Details
Dates/times: The 4-week summer program is conducted virtually between the hours of 8am to 3pm (Pacific) Monday-Friday. Program dates for 2025 will be posted in January 2025.
Cost: This program is free and students will be provided with a small stipend to help cover miscellaneous expenses
Resources: Students provide their own computers and must have a stable internet connection for the duration of the program. 
Research Training Competition: One student group (3 interns total) may be awarded the opportunity to present their research at the annual conference of the American Society for Gravitational and Space Research (ASGSR). Travel costs and conference registration may be covered by the GL4HS program.
Correlations to the High School NGSS Standards: This course has been specifically designed to closely correlate with the NGSS standards and Science Processes, therefore ensuring that what students learn during this course can be directly applied to what they are learning at school.

Eligibility

All applicants for the GL4HS program must:

  • Be U.S. citizens*

Student candidates must:

  • Be at least 16 years old on or before December 31, 2025
  • Be entering their junior or senior year of high school in Fall 2025
  • Have a GPA or equivalent of 3.0 or higher (on a 4.0 scale)
  • Be able and willing to participate in all four weeks of the GL4HS summer program
  • Have taken at least one high school biology course (please note that AP Biology is not a requirement of this program)
  • Have a passion for learning and for Space Biology
  • Must be available to participate every day of the full four weeks of the summer program;
    • Due to the synchronous and group-based modules of the program, we kindly ask that: 1) you are NOT traveling during the virtual program; 2) students must be present in the US for the duration of the four-weeks; 3) students are not on trips/vacations during the program.

Teacher candidates must:

  • Have at least one full year of teaching experience in a STEM subject, preferably biology or related subject
  • Intend to incorporate program content in at least one course in their class curriculum
  • Must be available to participate every day of the full four weeks of the summer program;
    • Due to the synchronous and group-based modules of the program, we kindly ask that: 1) you are NOT traveling during the virtual program; 2) teachers must be present in the US for the duration of the four-weeks; 3) teachers are not on trips/vacations during the program.

GL4HS is an equal opportunity program. All applications received will be reviewed by NASA. Students will be selected based on their academic records, their reference letters, and their personal statement. Teachers will be selected based on the scope and reach of their courses and a follow-up interview.

(*) Citizens of US territories Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Northern Marianas are eligible U.S. citizens.

GL4HS – Science Teacher/Internship
GL4HS invites science teachers to participate in the GL4HS Program. Teachers learn about NASA and Space Biology research, bioinformatics tools and analysis. The GL4HS course content and learning objectives are correlated with the California High School Next Gen Science Standards and Science Processes so that they can be implemented in high school classrooms.

Teachers learn bioinformatics and omics analysis content, then use that to produce an educational product (curriculum unit, worksheet, or video) that can be used within their own classrooms and shared with teachers in general.

After participating in the program, teachers are encouraged to join the Education Working Group in order to receive continued support for implementing their omics lesson.

Teachers are provided a stipend to compensate for their time.

More Information:
For more information or if you have questions about this program, arc-gl4hs@mail.nasa.gov

GL4HS Mailing List:
To subscribe to our mailing list and to receive e-mail announcements about the program and application process, please send an email to arc-gl4hs@mail.nasa.gov with “subscribe” in the subject to be added to our mailing list.