The Citizen Science Lab has been awarded a $75,000 grant from the Pittsburgh Foundation to facilitate the launch of their new program, C3-PO (the Collaborative for the 3D Printing of Organs). In collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University, the Citizen Science Lab will teach students from underserved communities the processes involved in the continually evolving field of soft-tissue biofabrication. This will be done by providing a cohort of 10-15 local high school students with hands-on experience in tissue culturing and the printing of organs. The expected launch date of this program is August 2022.
“Education equity requires consistent exposure to high quality experiences led by experts and supported by strong community partnerships,” said Jamillia Kamara, The Pittsburgh Foundation’s Program Officer for Education. “The data tells us that black and brown students are less likely to participate in these activities during the school day. Support for out-of-school time programs like Citizen Science Lab plays a crucial role in long-term positive education outcomes for our region’s most vulnerable youth.”
Through the program, the Citizen Science Lab plans to display the capabilities of already-existing 3D printing technology, and its potential impact on the field of modern medicine. This project is designed to provide a deep, sustained educational experience that motivates high school students to join STEM fields, while also teaching those students the advanced research skills that are desired by colleges and research labs.
“The goals of this project are to bring the forefront of innovation in biomedical engineering and 3D bioprinting to young students to inspire them, and give them some real hands-on experience that will put them ahead of their peers if they decide to pursue an education or career in a related field,” said Dr. Rachelle Palchesko, Special Faculty Researcher of Biomedical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. “The project will expose them to areas of biomedical engineering and STEM that most students only learn about once they get into college.”
The Citizen Science Lab and Carnegie Mellon University, through this educational program, aim to contribute towards making Pittsburgh one of the leaders in the emerging area of biofabrication by creating the diverse, transdisciplinary workforce necessary to address our nation’s STEM needs.
About The Citizen Science Lab
Founded in 2015, The Citizen Science Lab is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that has become a city leader in providing interactive STEM programming for the residents of Pittsburgh. Located in the Hill District neighborhood and South Hills region, The Citizen Science Lab provides an accessible space to connect young people with opportunities to increase STEM knowledge, academic achievement, and self-confidence. It incorporates state-of-the-art laboratories that provide hands-on exposure to life science, biomedical, robotics, and biotechnology education for students, teachers, biomedical startups, and adults. The Citizen Science Lab has served over 4,000 students from communities including, but not limited to, the Hill District, Homewood, The North Side, Penn Hills, Peters Township, and Upper St. Clair.