Educators just starting to teach biotechnology and veterans in the field who would like to learn about the latest developments in the field will gather on the Virginia Tech campus July 14-17 for the Biotechnology 2004 Educators' Conference sponsored by the university's Fralin Biotechnology Center. Sessions at the conference are geared to middle school, high school, community college, and four-year college educators.

Now in its ninth year, the four-day conference features a pre-conference "Biotechnology Boot Camp" for those new to the field, workshops, hands-on labs, computer labs, and discussions. Subjects include training on extracting DNA, using online databases to teach genetics, DNA fingerprinting, harnessing bioinformatics to learn about West Nile virus, and exploring bacterial bioluminescence, among others. Parallel sessions give educators the opportunity to choose from up to nine simultaneous workshops that meet their individual needs. Attendees earn Continuing Education Units upon successful completion of the program.

On the opening day of the conference, the play "Rare Ecstasy: The Search for Barbara McClintock," will be performed in the Haymarket Theatre, Squires Student Center on Wednesday, July 14 at 7 p.m. McClintock won a Nobel Prize in 1983 for her work in genetics, particularly the discovery that genetic crossing over was accompanied by physical crossing over of chromosomes.

Registration is still open. For more conference information, contact Erin Dolan, (540) 231-2692, BIOoutreach@vt.edu. To obtain the full conference schedule and to register online, go to http://www.biotech.vt.edu. Lodging is available at the Donaldson Brown Hotel and Conference Center or in residence halls on the Virginia Tech campus.