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Return of the Gene Machine

Mobile genetics lab visits ATEC again

Posted: October 12, 2012 5:26 p.m.
Updated: October 15, 2012 5:00 a.m.

Greenwood Genetic Center’s (GGC) Gene Machine visited the Applied Technology Education Campus (ATEC ) last week.

This is the third time the 41-foot motor coach has been in the Kershaw County School District.

Greenwood has three clinical divisions: a genetics lab, a molecular lab and a biochemical lab; a research lab; and an education component.

ATEC students learned how to test a patient for Sickle Cell Anemia, an inherited disease that can affect the shape of red blood cells.

 Jackie Cascio, a former teacher, and Katie Henderson, showed 60 ATEC students, in grades 10 through 12 how to perform a sickle cell anemia test using the same materials and methods scientists use at the Greenwood Genetic Center.

The Gene Machine bus has traveled more than 26,000 miles in South Carolina since its first “educational outreach opportunity” in 2010.  Teachers can choose from 10 disorder- or technology-based modules for students to experience on the bus. The machine provides free services to high schools that focus on and highlight activities that are being researched at GGC, but adhere to most science standards, Cascio said.

“The bus gives (them) an opportunity to work with materials they may not have at their school,” Cascio said, after talking about how budget cuts have affected the classroom. “We also focus on possible careers.”

GGC, founded in 1974, is a non-profit organization advancing the field of medical genetics and caring for families impacted by genetic disease and birth defects. The Gene Machine is funded through the national Human Genetics Research Institute and the National Institutes of Health.

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