This project was prepared as part of a BioQUEST faculty development workshop entitled Bioinformatics in Biology Education: Working with Sequence, Structure and Function at University of Vermont in April 2003. The BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium is committed to the reform of undergraduate biology instruction through an emphasis on engaging students in realistic scientific practices. This approach is sometimes characterized as an inquiry driven approach and is captured in BioQUEST's three P's (problem-posing, problem-solving, and peer-persuasion). As part of this workshop groups of faculty were encouraged to initiate innovative curricular projects. We are sharing these works in progress in the hope that they will stimulate further exploration, collaboration and development. Please see the following links for additional information:

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Development of a bioinformatics project for high school laboratories
Authors          Audiences          Overview           Materials          Resources           Future Directions



David Ely
Champlain Valley Union High School

Peter Woodruff
Champlain College - St. Lambert

Nan Mason
University of Vermont

Mary Tierney
University of Vermont


Possible Audiences:

high school students two-year college biology students  


Brief Overview:

The goal of this project was to let students use the tools available at NCBI to investigate the how mutation of certain proteins could lead to cancer. Possible proteins to investigate might be p53 and ras. Much of this has been worked out for p53, and this information can be accessed at A slide show at this web site can be used as introductory material for the types of information that can be determined for a protein associated with a number of cancers. Students could then use the NCBI web site to ask similar questions about ras.  


Project Materials:

Tools on the NCBI web site (i.e. structure with PDB). Amino acid sequence and structure can be compared for the wild type and mutant form of these proteins.  


Future Directions:

Similar approaches to be taken for looking at amino acid sequences for wild type and mutant proteins involved in cancer of other physiological/developmental processes. This type of exercise would emphasize structure/function relationships between proteins and the effect of mutations on cell physiology and/or cell division.