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DNA Day for Brentwood Students Highlights National Grid Foundation Support for LI Programs



Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y. – Seventy-five winners from this year’s Brentwood District Science Fair celebrated DNA Day on April 15 by genetically engineering bacteria that glows!  Funded by the National Grid Foundation, the hands-on scientific experiences delivered by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s DNA Learning Center, are part of a larger district-led effort to enhance the school district’s biology curriculum.

Brentwood_National_Grid_Evenn_WEB_PHOTO_img_9151Bob Keller (National Grid Foundation President) with Brentwood District Science Fair 8th and 9th grade winners“Science students in Brentwood have been winning competitions and gaining the attention of experts from Discovery TV to Ivy League Colleges.  It’s amazing,” said School Board President George Talley, “here’s a real positive for our kids: the National Grid Foundation and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL), two organizations with impeccable reputations teaming up with Brentwood’s award-winning science program. That’s a winning combination for our community.”

"The National Grid Foundation is proud to join DNA Learning Center and Brentwood Schools in bringing the promise and wonder of scientific inquiry to the students of Brentwood.  It's our hope that it will spark life-long learning about the mysteries of life's most fundamental building block - DNA," said Bob Keller, National Grid Foundation President.

“Through our DNA Learning Center programs, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is committed to enriching the science programs offered by our local schools,” said CSHL President Bruce Stillman, Ph.D.  “We are pleased to provide Brentwood’s kids with educational experiences that will not only get them interested in science but that will help them understand concepts critical to decisions they will make in the future about their own health and the well-being of society.”

This specially tailored program includes six full-day laboratory experiences at Brentwood’s elementary schools for 650 5th graders. Each student participant has the opportunity to view his/her own cells, as well as plant cells, using compound microscopes.

Additionally, 120 9th grade students in the honors biology program participate in two different in-school labs, including genetically engineering bacteria with a gene for bioluminescence and using gel electrophoresis to observe how scientists manipulate DNA for techniques such as gene splicing.  Both labs incorporate key concepts that are part of the New York State Regents Living Environment course.

The program was developed collaboratively by Amanda McBrien, Assistant Director of Instruction at the DNA Learning Center, and Lisa Catandella, Elementary Science Consultant in the Brentwood Union Free School District. Funding for these “Fun with DNA” and “DNA Science” workshops was provided by a $15,000 grant from the National Grid Foundation.

In addition to the on-site instruction provided from September 2010-April 2011 by DNALC instructors, the program includes a teacher training session for forty 6th grade teachers, experiment supplies for 700 students, and access to on-line resources for teachers and students.

About National Grid Foundation

The National Grid Foundation was created to enhance the quality of life in areas where National Grid provides services. The Foundation’s ongoing challenge is to create opportunities for solutions to educational and environmental issues.  Its objective is based on the principle that giving people the tolls to build hope is an essential ingredient in the development of individuals, families and communities.  Since its inception in December of 1998, the Foundation has provided more than $15 million in grants to hundreds of organizations.

About Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

A world leader in genetics education for the public since 1989, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s DNA Learning Center (DNALC) has provided interactive, hands-on workshops in genetics and biotechnology for more than 500, 000 students from Long Island and the surrounding boroughs.

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) is a private, not-for-profit research and education institution at the forefront of efforts in molecular biology and genetics to generate knowledge that will yield better diagnostics and treatments for cancer, neurological diseases and other major causes of human suffering. For more information, visit

Written by: Dagnia Zeidlickis, VP of Communications | | 516-367-8455

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