The Ochsner BESTScience! Program

In 2012 Ochsner Clinic Foundation was awarded a 5-year, $1.25 million Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to fund BEST Science!, a program administered by Ochsner’s Academic Division in conjunction with Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center and local educators. Dr. Jawed Alam, Interim System Vice-President for Research at Ochsner, and Dr. Paula Gregory, Associate Professor of Genetics at LSUHSC, serve as co-principal investigators of the project. The BEST (Bioscience Enrichment for Students and Teachers) Science! SEPA grant was one of 16 awarded nationwide in 2012 and is to date only the second to have been awarded in the state of Louisiana . It is projected to impact more than 11,000 students and 130 teachers in the New Orleans Metropolitan Area through 2017.

Contact Information

Allison Sharai, Program Administrator
(504) 842-4712

LSUHSC Science Education Outreach

For more information about the NIH's SEPA program, visit


“The global demand for biomedical professionals is expanding rapidly, BEST Science! provides a pathway for encouraging student interest in the bioscience disciplines at this critical time. BEST Science! is designed to provide opportunities that will have a positive impact on teachers’ practices and student awareness of careers in the bioscience fields.”
-Jean May-Brett, Math Science Partnership Director for the Louisiana Department of Education.

"Being able to go beyond the book and actually bring the HeLa cells to the students through lectures; interactive activities from NIH, OMNI, National Human Genome Research, UCSC Genome browser, etc.; and most importantly, by helping the students extract DNA, and perform PCR, and electrophoresis analysis will be one of my most exciting teachable moments ever."
-Cathy Boucvalt, Teacher at John Curtis Christian School

"(This program) really helped me understand, and gave me the tools to help my students understand, the more complicated topics. I am using many of the stories and extra notes that we got from the workshop, and the kids are really interested and asking a lot of questions."
-Christina Verberne, Teacher at Loranger High School