About the BRIC Program
The Bringing Research Into the Classroom (BRIC) project based at Montana Tech in Butte, MT has been providing research experiences for Montana teachers and students since 2012. To date, BRIC has provided phage discovery to more than 7,000 students including some of Montana’s most remote communities. The BRIC project offers two years of intensive professional development for the 28 participating teachers and four years of 3-day in-class visits for their students. BRIC teachers engage in authentic research experiences and prepare manuscripts summarizing their findings. Teachers’ personal research experiences inform their mentoring of K-12 student research projects.
Since 2014 the BRIC Program has:
Citizen Science Phage Discovery in the Classrooms
Phages are viruses that infect bacteria and can be useful tools for fighting antibiotic-resistant bacteria. They are the most numerous biological entity on the planet. BRIC works directly with students in middle schools and high schools for 3-day phage discovery projects. Students and their teachers isolate phages from samples they collect from their local environment. If the students discover a phage, they choose a name the phage, and it is added to the database of phages at phagesdb.org. This three-day research experience engages students in relevant biomedical citizen science. From Dr. Pedulla’s outreach programs, combined, students have discovered over 100 new-to-science phages. All phages discovered in BRIC are included in the phagesdb.org database, ten have been sequenced and annotated, and 8 additional phage genomes are currently being sequenced.
Future Phage Discovery in Montana
BRIC project leaders and participating teachers are exploring avenues to expand and sustain citizen science phage discovery across Montana. Innovative approaches for future delivery of the in-class visits and the professional development include the use of satellite labs and teacher leaders to support classroom visits to expand and sustain the citizen science classroom phage discovery project. Specifically, a shift from university-led to mentor-teacher-led phage discovery will allow for future expansion into more remote regions of Montana, those regions where opportunities for scientific research are most restricted/unavailable. This approach will not only ensure sustainability of the programming but also create opportunities for diverse students in very remote regions of Montana who otherwise would not be included in research of this nature, including Native American reservations.
BRIC Next Steps
Scale-up and sustainability of the BRIC program will be a primary focus in the final year of the grant. The program partners are currently looking to expand BRIC programming by training current BRIC teacher leaders to mentor teachers within their school districts to provide phage-discovery programming. Additional ideas include expanding remote labs within schools who host current BRIC teacher leaders. Scale-up ideas include expansion of online courses and increased partnership opportunities with INBRE and other grant projects.
Characterization of a Bacterium Isolated from Hailstone in Butte, Montana
By: M. Lane and A. Walter: Submitted to Intermountain Journal of Sciences
Development of a Plaque Assay System for Streptococcus salivariuson BHI Agar
By: K. Walter: Submitted to Intermountain Journal of Sciences
SEPA → INBRE Biomedical Pipeline
Hannah Sparks, Montana Tech – INBRE Summer Undergraduate, Research Fellow
Autumn Lineback, Montana Tech—SEPA/INBRE Research Scholar*
*Former BRIC student at Billings West High School
High School Students:
Erin Fogarty, Butte High School/Montana Tech—SEPA/INBRE Research Scholar*
*Former BRIC student at Butte High School
Bo Rost, Baker High School/Montana Tech—SEPA/INBRE Research Scholar*
*Former BRIC student at Baker High School
Kenna White, Butte High School/Montana State University—SEPA/INBRE Research Scholar
Additional Funding for BRIC
Montana Genomics Core Illumina Sequencing Grant
Sequencing for 8 BRIC phage genomes
SEPA INBRE Research Scholar Program
Fall 2018 & Spring 2018 OPEN
Did you participate in the BRIC Phage Discovery Program at your high school or middle school?
You are eligible to apply for either a $900 OR $4,500 undergraduate research stipend for the SEPA INBRE Research Scholar Program!
- $900 Per semester at any participating college in Montana.
- $4,500 for a 10-Week Summer program at either Montana State University or Montana Tech.
Montana State University
Montana State University – Billings
Rocky Mountain College
University of Montana
University of Montana Western
Flathead Community College
Students in fields as diverse as the natural sciences, social sciences, engineering, medical- or veterinary career preparation who are considering careers that can contribute to biomedical research advances are eligible for this program.
Let us know you are interested in the SEPA INBRE Research Scholar Program by filling out the form below: