Centre for Innovative Bioscience Education (BioCEN)
The Centre for Innovative Bioscience Education (BioCEN) was established in 2002, and since then has been intensively working on the popularization of life sciences among Polish society. This ambitious goal has been fulfilled with the application of several educational activities: laboratory workshops for primary, junior-high and high school students, practical courses for school teachers, scientific training for business, open lectures for broad audience, and scientific shows for kids, etc. The successful functioning of BioCEN is the collective achievement of a dedicated and passionate team. The Centre for Innovative Bioscience Education is co‑founded by several institutions. The main financial support comes from the International Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology (IIMCB), which is BioCEN’s Strategic Sponsor. IIMCB not only covers a substantial part of BioCEN’s regular expenses but also participates in costly laboratory improvements. In July 2016 IIMCB financed a new air conditioning installation in BioCEN’s laboratory, which significantly improved the comfort of scientific workshops, especially those taking place during hot weather. In addition to IIMCBs generosity, the Centre for Innovative Bioscience Education is also subsidized by Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology PAS (IBD), the Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics PAS (IBB), University of Warsaw’s Faculty of Biology, and BioEducation Foundation.
BioCEN workshops cover various areas of life sciences, such as, molecular and cellular biology, biochemistry, biotechnology, plant physiology, bionics, and medical sciences. We aim to encourage participating students to work individually, while performing real-life experiments. This is advantageous, as most schools in Poland focus on the theoretical aspects of biology, rather than an experimental approach and laboratory practice. It should be also noted, that over the last 16 years, more than 27,000 students have gained the chance to attend and take advantage of the workshops offered by BioCEN. Workshops generally take place at the Warsaw BioCEN laboratory, located in 21st Kołłątaj High School building at Grójecka 93. Workshops are divided into three main categories, relevant to the age of participants.
• Synergy - the inner life of cells
• Protozoa as model organisms
• Explore your own DNA - examining DNA by PCR methods
• Protein fingerprints of different tissues
• Biotechnology of antibodies in clinical practice
• Miracles of biotechnology - purification of jellyfish protein from bacteria
• Cellular Superstructures
• Sentenced in accordance with the law of DNA
• Yeast - a living micro-factory
• On the trail of DNA
• Do you know what you eat?
• Green sugar factories - how photosynthesis works
• See DNA
• Acidic or non acidic?
• Secrets of food
• The secrets of fluorescence
• How much sugar do plants contain?
Professional training for business
In 2016 BioCEN entered a new educational niche – practical laboratory courses for bio-tech business. The inaugural workshop took place in December 2016 and was attended by almost 50 employees working for Nutricia Polska Sp. z o.o. The course focused mainly on the biochemical characteristics of biological macromolecules, and their effect on human health and physiology. During the training all participants could perform experimental tasks individually, analyze obtained results, and develop final conclusions. Last but not least, all objectives, teaching methods, as well as participants’ knowledge and skill improvement, were positively evaluated by Nutricia management, and thus the cooperation with Biocen will be continued in 2017.
Professional training for school teachers
Experimental Kits and other Scientific Tools
For those who are not able to take advantage of our workshops, regardless of circumstances, we have alternative options. BioCEN produces laboratory kits, commercially available through our website. All sets are fully equipped with the necessary chemicals, dishes, tubes, theoretical summaries, instructions, and protocols, needed by students to perform a particular experiment at school or at home. So far we have several experimental sets available.
• We are studying DNA
• The sweet world of enzymes
• Photosynthetic dyes
• A necklace with your own DNA
Additionally, we emphasize the idea of “learning while playing”, and as such we also produce high quality, genuine BioCEN educational board games:
• By the trails of evolution
• Dare to assemble your cell