Updates From GMGI

Thank you to everyone who helped make 2021 a year of impact and growth for GMGI. As we look forward to 2022, I see a bright and exciting road ahead with activity from the first two months of the year paving the way:
GMGI was honored with a visit by U.S. Representative Seth Moulton who came to see first-hand our transformative workforce development activities and marine genomics research.
Renowned marine genetics scientist Dr. Stephen Palumbi joined GMGI’s Science Advisory Board.
At the Academy, we have a record number of internship opportunities to offer our Academy students.
GMGI is demonstrating that Gloucester is a great location to conduct cutting-edge scientific research and offer a new model for educating our young people.
None of this would be possible without the enthusiastic support of our community. Thank you for your belief in GMGI’s potential — we are committed to maintaining this momentum, and look to the future with confidence. 

In gratitude, 

Chris Bolzan
Executive Director

Congressman Seth Moulton Visits GMGI

U.S. Congressman Seth Moulton visited GMGI in January along with State Senator Bruce Tarr, State Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante, and the new mayor of Gloucester, Greg Verga. Donald G. Comb Science Director Andrea Bodnar toured the group through the research institute at 417 Main Street with Executive Director Chris Bolzan, and GMGI Board Member Bill Kane. The group finished the visit at the Academy where Education Director John Doyle and Lead Teacher Stephen Anderson walked them through the new biomanufacturing learning lab and previewed the new curriculum.

“This is fantastic,” Moulton said afterward. “This is exactly what we need to see more of in terms of education, but also in terms of our economy. There’s a synergy between the economic lifeblood of Massachusetts and tremendous educational opportunities for our students. This is incredible.” Moulton said he hopes other communities in the Commonwealth learn from our model. 

GMGI welcomes Dr. Stephen Palumbi to our Scientific Advisory Board 
A native of Baltimore, Steve Palumbi has long been fascinated by how quickly the world around us changes. His research on the genetics of marine organisms focuses on basic evolutional questions, and on practical solutions to questions about how to preserve and protect the diverse life in the sea. Steve has lectured on human-induced evolutionary change, has used genetic detective work to identify whales, seahorses, rockfish, and sharks for sale in retail markets, and is developing genomic methods to help find ocean species resistant to climate change. His work on corals in the American Samoa and Palau has identified corals more resilient to heat stress, and his work at the Hopkins Marine Station focuses on how kelp, sea urchins, abalone, and mussels respond to environmental changes.

In addition to hundreds of published scientific research papers on a wide variety of marine organisms, Steve has published several books for non-scientists and has appeared in many film and TV documentaries to share his fascination with the world’s oceans.

Steve holds a Ph.D. in Marine Ecology from the University of Washington and started his career as a Professor at the University of Hawaii before moving to a Professorship at Harvard University. He then joined the faculty of Stanford University and is now the Jane and Marshall Steel Jr. Professor of Marine Sciences and Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment. Steve is a Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences, a member of the National Academy of Science, and a Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation. 

“Steve is a world-renowned marine biologist and leader in the field of marine genomics, and we are thrilled to have him as a member of our Scientific Advisory Board,” said Andrea Bodnar, Donald G. Comb Science Director.

Academy Students Interview for Internships

The internship process for the Class of 2022 has been like no other in the Academy’s six-year history. Academy students began their internship journeys by participating in (virtual) mock interviews on January 13th. On the day of these interviews, 20 individuals representing 11 local biotech companies provided our students critical practice and feedback.

“The mock interviews were really good practice and helped me feel more prepared for the real interviews. Mentors from the mock interviews gave feedback on what I should focus on in terms of my interests and what questions the interviewers might ask,” an Academy student explained. Real interviews with employers began the week of January 20th.

Students are benefitting from an unprecedented 26 companies offering 41 internship positions. In just six years, the demand for Academy students has far outpaced the supply.

“Part of the demand this year due to our new biomanufacturing curriculum and the additional skills it gives our students. These skills are in high demand right now,” said Education Director John Doyle. 

In the second semester students learn how to insert DNA necessary to create green fluorescent protein (GFP) into bacteria. The bacteria are then grown into high density in a fermenter, producing equally high concentrations of GFP inside the bacteria. In the image shown above, a student learns how to successfully operate a homogenizer, an instrument used to break open bacterial cells and release the GFP, which is glowing after being exposed to a UV light source. 

Stefan Abramo and Barbe Ennis-Abramo are donors and passionate volunteers at GMGI — Stefan lending his time and experience as an Academy volunteer and Barbe as a GMGI committee member. A rich life of professional and personal experiences has taken them around the world (and continues to do so), but it is here in Gloucester they now call home…  Click here to read more. 

GMGI Science Hours

Unable to attend one of our recent Science Hours? Click the links below to watch!

This is not Planet Earth: Recent findings from our work on the physiological and biochemical adaptations to life in the deep sea with Dr. Peter Girguis, Harvard University

Living with White Sharks with Dr. Greg Skomal, Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries