Archmere Academy — a Catholic high school in Claymont, Del., that is renowned for its academic excellence — has introduced a new course, Advanced Cancer Research and Analysis, into its curriculum with the help of one of its distinguished graduates.
Spearheaded by Dr. Jay Storm, a 1986 graduate of the school and Chief of the Division of Neurosurgery and Co-Director of the Neuroscience Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the new course is designed for students interested in pursuing careers in medicine. It is split into three parts and includes a genetics class, a data analysis class, and an internship opportunity with CHOP and its Center for Data Driven Discovery in Biomedicine (D3b). Founded in 2016, D3b provides personalized care for children through collaborative, data-driven science.
Archmere teachers Dr. Matthew Wilcox and Leah Davidson-Wolf worked with Dr. Storm to design the class, which enables students to learn about the purpose of the D3b program and how to analyze data collected from patients through keynote speakers and on-site learning at CHOP.
This semester, students are taking the genetics portion of the course and are studying cancer, its causes, and treatments. Students just finished learning about bacteria transformation.
“The class has definitely confirmed that I want to go into the medical field,” said Archmere senior Lydia Scarpaci. “Every day I go into that class, I’m so interested and engaged and can honestly not take my eyes off the board. It’s so fascinating to me.”
Davidson-Wolf said her labs focus only on cancer.
“Instead of using more general examples, I’ve been using examples that are more specific to cancer and how genes are expressed and the changes in expression that happen when cancer occurs,” she said. “We’ll be starting a lab soon learning about CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) techniques, which is essentially gene editing. Our kids will learn about how scientists are able to use gene editing techniques, and then they’ll apply it with bacteria.”
Over the summer, students will have the opportunity to intern with the D3b program, including shadowing in the hospital setting and research labs and working on a specific data analysis project. Such an internship is available exclusively to students enrolled in the course at Archmere.
Advanced Cancer Research and Analysis is one of many courses at Archmere that foster critical thinking skills, strengthen analytical reasoning, and foster intellectual creativity.
Learn more about Archmere Academy.