Base Pair


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  • About Base Pair

    This site is intended to serve as a resource for teachers and students with an interest in biomedical research and in the use of the mentoring process to encourage and support those interested in advancement towards biomedical careers.

    Base Pair, initiated in 1992, is a successful biomedical research mentorship program that pairs faculty from the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) with high school students and educators from the largest public school district in the state of Mississippi, the Jackson Public School District (JPSD). This biomedical research mentorship program allows each student to experience the scientific field in a "hands-on" manner under the guidance and supervision of a qualified instructor who is a researcher at UMMC. Teacher professional development and science curriculum enhancement activities complement the student participation to create a highly coordinated impetus for science education reform.

    Funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute has permitted realization of three key objectives for the program, which are to cultivate career awareness of high school students in areas related to health care/biomedical research, to train such students to function as effective "Communicators of Science" to lay persons, and to advance science curriculum development within the target school district. With funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute through 2012, Base Pair intends to capitalize on proven program strengths to maintain and progressively strengthen a tripartite foundation of technology utilization, curriculum development and mentorship that will support distribution of biomedical science and research resources to multiple high school sites. The experience gained from 18 years of operation is permitting Base Pair to maintain effectiveness of program initiatives and to continue evolutionary change within our local educational environment.

    Base Pair is presently striving to:

    1. develop a technology base, in collaboration with information professionals from the UMMC Rowland Medical Library, (http://www.library.umc.edu), that will both facilitate refinement of the Base Pair model of individual faculty-student and faculty-teacher mentorship at Murrah High School (Murrah), the existing target high school site and extend distribution of program components (mentorship through networking) to additional school sites within the Jackson Metro area, beginning with the Bailey Magnet High School for Health-Related Professions (Bailey).
    2. further promote a local environment for professional development of secondary school science teachers by establishment of a state-of-the-art laboratory science training facility, in collaboration with clinical laboratory science personnel from the UMMC School of Health-Related Professions (SHRP), and
    3. utilize the capabilities provided by Objectives a and b to increase the rate of science curriculum improvement through individual teacher-mentor relationships.

    Base Pair has also engaged in a dramatic expansion of its Summer Research Institute, that will permit a sufficiently large number of local science and mathematics teachers to be trained as the primary "multipliers" of the educational impact of Base Pair. This second component of the program will concentrate on providing a curriculum (the Base Pair-developed, Introduction to Biomedical Research course), as well as the physical facilities, supplies, didactic and laboratory training, and professional tools (grantsmanship, presentation skills, information technology proficiency), as promulgated by the National Science Education Standards (National Research Council, 1996), that will foster improved delivery of science education by Jackson Metro area teachers.