Missouri, USA, 21 Jun 2007: The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) has announced that it will award a $750,000 grant to the MU School of Medicine to develop mapping tools and concepts and teach students fundamental concepts of human health, biology and medical sciences.
The University of Missouri-Columbia program, Maps in Medicine, will use geospatial and biological imaging technologies in partnership with K-12 students and teachers in three Missouri school districts – the Columbia Public Schools and the Normandy and Parkway School Districts in metropolitan St. Louis.
Building on students’ sense of direction and understanding of geospatial mapping such as GIS systems, the educators will engage students in lessons that teach them how structures are determined by DNA and conveyed within cells, causing the cells to move through 3D space much as humans move across the earth and through space.
Maps in Medicine will utilize two interconnected modules: Mapping Health and Mapping Cell Fate. In the Mapping Health portion, students will be introduced to the role of vectors in the transmission of avian influenza virus and how movement of the avian vectors and spread of the virus are monitored at state, regional and global levels. In the Mapping Cell Fate portion, students will learn how cells get instructions to maintain or change their properties, or their “fates”, and what health problems occur when these instructions are challenged by genetic mutations and pathogens such as the avian influenza virus.