South Orangetown Central School District

South Orangetown Middle School’s first sixth-grade assembly of the school year featured SOMS parent and virologist J. Robert Coleman, PhD. The co-founder and chief executive officer of Codagenix, Inc. explained how the immune system works and how his company is using synthetic biology to develop an intranasal COVID-19 vaccine.

“Synthetic biology uses computers to change the DNA of a virus into a vaccine,” he said. Human testing of the vaccine will begin in December in London.

“At the start of each school year, I ask students whether their parents work in the sciences and, if so, if they’d be interested to talk with us about real world applications of what we learn,” noted science teacher Eric Goldstein. “Having the opportunity to talk with a scientist engaged in vaccine development in the middle of a pandemic is extraordinary. This type of educational experience helps students to better understand the world around them, to make informed decisions and, perhaps, to inspire a deeper interest in science.”

Parents working in the sciences who are interested in speaking with SOMS science students are encouraged to reach out to their child’s science teacher.

Sixth-graders view vaccine presentation