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placeholder January 18, 2016   •   VOL. 54, NO. 2   •   Oakland, CA
Catholic Schools Week

Moreau Catholic pioneering bioprinting curriculum

Cutting-edge biotechnology joins the innovative and technological offerings in the classrooms at Moreau Catholic High School. Partnering with SE3D Education, the school's science department is introducing a pilot program featuring a bioprinting curriculum and industry-relevant projects.

The Redwood City company, SE3D, specializes in creating bioprinting classes for high school and colleges to support teachers and schools to integrate more hands-on learning activities and industry-relevant projects that inspire students. The bioprinting curriculum covers applications in the biomedical, healthcare and biofuels industry.

Bioprinting, much like a 3-dimensional printer, takes a model generated on a computer and prints it, enabling people to see the biological materials in 3D. This means that proteins, cell and DNA can be printed onto a physical structure.

"I'm very excited to work with SE3D Education this spring," says Science Department Chair Kerrie Gibson. "Students at Moreau Catholic will be using technology that is currently reshaping the biomedical and biotechnology industries. Anytime you can bring real-world applications into the classroom, it's a big win."

Students will be working with bioprinters and learning about how this state-of-the-art technology is currently being used in industries such as biomedical, pharmaceutical and green technology, says Gibson. Students will also be printing cell cultures and conducting research experiments that utilize proteins, enzymes and bacteria, she adds.

The curriculum will enhance 21st- century learning by giving students the opportunity to work with technology that is going to change so many aspects of our lives in the very near future," says Gibson. "Bioprinted organs and human tissues are in our future. Being able to expose our students to this type of technology is exciting." She adds, today's students are tomorrow's scientists who will be working with this technology and making these amazing advancements.

Students will go beyond reading about how scientists are using bioprinting to printing stem cells to study disease, or printing human tissues such as blood vessels and skin.

Biotechnology curriculum is the latest addition to Moreau Catholic's commitment to innovative advances that has included and was first to introduce the 1:1 laptop program in 2007; a TV studio and editing lab in 2009; and design and creation of a 21st-century library in 2009, which led to the school being named an Apple Distinguished School 2010 followed by the opening of the Maker Lab with 3D printing in 2012.

More recent technological advances include the addition of 30 specialized research databases and six new AP course offerings. Moreau Catholic will offer a total of 20 Honors and 22 AP courses for the 2016-17 school year including Honors Anatomy that utilizes Anatomy in Clay@ Manikins in the life science course that prepares students for challenging careers in the medical professions, biological studies, biomedical engineering and other health careers. The AP Environmental Science course is the equivalent of a one-semester, introductory college course in the subject in which students engage in the scientific principles, concepts and methodologies required to understand the interrelationships of the natural world. Environmental science is interdisciplinary embracing topics from geology, biology, chemistry and geography in addition to environmental studies and science.

"I am always looking for and researching curriculum that will enhance the learning experience for Moreau students," says Gibson. "Creating authentic, real world science experiences in the classroom is an ongoing endeavor and essential in the preparation for students to be college and career ready."

This spring, Bioprinting will be a unit taught in the current Biotechnology class.

The application of the Bioprinting technology is expansive and includes many industries from biomedical to biotechnology and many disciplines. For example, with 3D bioprinting, doctors can now create customized implants for their patients such as a bioprinted nose or dental implant.

"Providing educational experiences that prepare students to work in jobs and careers that might not even exist today is essential for the 21st-century learner," says Gibson.

Moreau Catholic is one of 10 schools that will be participating in a pilot program this spring with SE3D Education. Gibson says the vision is to also add Bioprinting units to the Honors Biology and Honors Anatomy and Physiology courses by next year.

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