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About Us

The Waksman Student Scholars Program (WSSP) provides opportunities for high school students and their teachers to conduct an authentic research project in molecular biology and bioinformatics and publish their findings. This is a year-long program that begins each year with summer Institutes for teachers and one or two of their students. It continues back at each high school during the academic year, when more students can become involved in the research project. In the course of these studies, students, teachers, and research scientists work together on a genuine research problem. By actually doing science, students gain an understanding of how science operates and are encouraged to continue their education and careers in a science discipline.  A video of an overview of the WSSP can be found here.

Access to the files and videos on this web site now require the username and password you used to register on the 2016-2017 version of DSAP.  Login information for the 2015-2016 will no longer work.  If you are participating in the 2016-2017 WSSP please use the 2016-2017 WSSP Project version of DSAP to register.  If you are still working on clones from 2016, please go to the 2016 version of DSAP.  We will continue to review and submit sequences from 2016-2017 over the next four months.  

The Waksman Student Scholars Program (WSSP) is a year-long program that begins each year with summer Institutes for high school science teachers and one or two of their students. It continues back at each high school during the academic year when more students can become involved in the research project, and concludes the following spring with the annual Waksman Forum Poster Session.  Since its inception in July 1993, over 250 high school science teachers and over 6,000 high school students have worked on scientific research investigations with instruction from WSSP faculty and staff. 

Each year-long WSSP research project explores basic concepts and relevant themes in molecular biology, bioinformatics, and computational biology using the resources found on the Internet. Students use molecular biology laboratory protocols (DNA purification, PCR, restriction digests, and agarose gel electrophoresis) to isolate and analyze DNA samples. These DNA samples are sequenced and students determine if the sequences are similar to genes from other organisms using bioinformatic programs and accessing databases that are used daily by practicing research scientists.  Since the DNA sequences from these genes have never before been determined, students' analyses are of interest to other scientists. Novel findings are published on GenBank, the international repository of all known DNA sequences. Each published sequence bears the student's name and his/her teacher's name. An example of a published sequence report can be found here.

In the course of these studies, students, teachers, and research scientists work together on a genuine research problem. By actually doing science, students gain an understanding of how science operates and are encouraged to continue their education and careers in a science discipline.

The WSSP has received financial support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), GE Healthcare Life-Science, the Amersham Corporation, Merck & Company, the Merck Foundation, the Toshiba America Foundation, and the Johnson & Johnson Foundation.  The WSSP has received reagents and services from GE Healthcare Life-Sciences, Life Technologies, Rutgers University, Johns Hopkins University, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories, and the Waksman Institute at Rutgers University. 

Connect here for more information for Teachers interested in the program

Connect here for more information for Students and Parents interested in the program