About BioTrac
In collaboration with the University of Miami's School of Medicine and Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS), the Museum is building on its existing youth program to incorporate a new biomedical strand. The program, entitled BioTrac, serves to expand opportunities in biomedicine for low-income, first-generation college-bound high school students, increasing the number interested in, and prepared to enter, the biomedical research pipeline. BioTrac is funded by the National Institutes of Health under their SEPA (Science Education Partnership Award) initiative from the National Center for Research Resources, a component of the National Institutes of Health.

Goals and Objectives

The overall goal of the program is to develop a replicable science education partnership program that will increase the pipeline of students interested in and prepared for post-secondary study and careers in biomedical science. Objectives of BioTrac are:

  • To raise student awareness of careers in biomedical sciences.
  • To provide students with real world contextual experiences in biomedical research settings.
  • To increase student awareness of academic requirements and opportunities for post-secondary study related to biomedical research.
  • To increase public understanding of the importance and diversity of biomedical research.
  • To disseminate project outcomes and products to the national Upward Bound and Science Museum youth networks.

Program Overview

BioTrac focuses on three of the priority areas defined in the Public Health Service's Healthy People 2000 agenda, namely HIV/Infectious Diseases, Environmental Health, and Sports Medicine/Unintentional Injuries. Each of these has strong ties to local growth industries and relevance to Miami-Dade's diverse communities. Students investigate each area through hands-on lab activities, on-line research, guest speakers, site visits to research facilities and colleges statewide, and through interactions with research scientists at University of Miami's nationally renowned Jackson Memorial Medical Complex.

Students also use technology skills acquired as part of the program to document their research through digital photography, PowerPoint presentations, and the development of the BioTrac website. In addition, they present their research at annual symposia held at the Museum and at national conferences. BioTrac youth also serve as science interpreters in the Museum's galleries, increasing public awareness of biomedical-related issues in select Museum exhibits.

During the summer, select BioTrac participants attend residential programs at the University of Florida and Florida A&M University, gaining exposure to post-secondary programs leading to careers in biomedical research. Students who are rising 12th graders or about to enter college, and who have completed all preliminary BioTrac activities, become eligible for placement in 6 to 8 week summer internships in University of Miami laboratories engaged in a broad spectrum of biomedical research.

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Miami Museum of Science

National Institutes of Health

Unviersity of Miami

National Center for Research Resources