Congratulations to Nobel Prize recipient Dr. Jennifer Doudna

ʻIolani School would like to congratulate Dr. Jennifer Doudna, executive director of the Innovative Genomics Institute, for being awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

A native of Hawai‘i, Dr. Doudna has supported ʻIolani's ʻĀina-Informatics Network (AIN), an initiative created to advance genome science in high school classrooms across Hawaiʻi and further ʻIolani's role in creating a network of schools that share research and resources.

She jointly received the 2020 Nobel Prize with Dr. Emmanuelle Charpentier (Max Planck Unit for the Science of Pathogens, Berlin, Germany) for their research and work in gene editing and inventing Crispr-Cas9, a method to edit DNA.

“The potential to work with ‘Iolani School offers an opportunity to leverage our expertise and knowledge base to advance education at the high school level on a national scale in the area of bioethics. This is an opportunity very aligned with the institute’s mission,” Dr. Doudna wrote in a letter of support for ‘Iolani.

ʻIolani also received a matching 2019 Educational Leadership Grant of $182,000 from The Edward E. Ford Foundation in support of AIN.

This award-winning video highlights the importance of teaching genome science at the high school level and how ‘Iolani is a leader in providing resources to partner schools.

ʻIolani School's ʻĀina-Informatics Network

The ʻĀina-Informatics Network is an outgrowth of ‘Iolani School’s ongoing citizen science program, which seeks to engage students in authentic scientific research opportunities. The program objectives are two-fold.

The first goal is to implement place-based genomic science via a network of participating public and private schools across Hawai‘i. Building on its citizen science framework, ‘Iolani provides professional development for teachers, laboratory equipment, bioinformatics and lab expertise, as well as overall coordination of the statewide consortium. Schools participating in AIN will assemble whole genomes – complete sets of genetic instructions – for indigenous organisms.

AIN’s second goal is to create a worldwide network of schools and institutions committed to developing and disseminating high school-level educational materials on the topic of bioethics. ‘Iolani has engaged world-leading genomics institutes, such as Dr. Jennifer Doudna’s Innovative Genomics Institute, committed to furthering societal and ethical considerations that come with advances in biotechnology.

With the onset of the global pandemic, AIN has pivoted to providing resources to school through distance learning platforms.