Dr. Ward Coats, middle, demonstrates the correct experimental procedures to Hillcrest High School students Zack Montoux, left, and Sam Williams, right, at UT Southwestern. Photo by Ben Hager

Dr. Ward Coats, middle, demonstrates the correct experimental procedures to Hillcrest High School students Zack Montoux, left, and Sam Williams, right, at UT Southwestern. Photo by Ben Hager

Hillcrest High School teacher Dr. Ward Coats, who leads the school’s biomedical research group, has received a $2,000 grant to develop a new program, “Structure and Function of the PTF1 Heterotrimeric Complex.”

Voya Financial awarded Coats the grant as part of its 2014 Unsung Heroes competition, which comprised more than 1,000 entries. Coats was one of just 100 who received a grant and next, he’ll compete with the other winners for one of the top three prizes: an additional $5,000, $10,000 or $25,000.

Coats will bring his teaching program to the 30 Hillcrest students he instructs in modern biochemistry and molecular biology research. We wrote about the kids back in the fall of 2010. The Hillcrest Biomedical Group conducts graduate-level scientific research in the MacDonald Laboratory at UT Southwestern Medical Center and presents the research at the annual American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology conference.

The project, Structure and Function of the PTF1 Heterotrimeric Complex, “offers training in a genuine research environment of an active and productive research laboratory, with expectations for experimental progress and not rote repetition of mundane techniques in an effort to instill a better understanding of modern biological research. This authentic research program is designed to promote a desire to pursue scientific careers and to increase the level of biological content that faculty members incorporate into their curriculum during the school year. The scope and sequence of the project will be used to train students in biochemistry and molecular biology over the course of many years.”


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