A Global Evolution
In 2020, the Amgen Biotech Experience (ABE) is celebrating its 30th anniversary — reflecting on the past, present, and future of this innovative program to bring hands-on biotechnology to high school students.
In 1990, leaders of Amgen set out to help teach high school students in their community about biotechnology. Using the latest tools and science, they created ABE.
Over 30 years, more than 3,600 science educators have participated in ABE, inspiring more than 850,000 students across 13 countries. With the power of the free virtual lab experiences available on LabXchange, the impact of ABE continues to grow. Students and teachers now have more access to biotechnology than ever before.
From Humble Origins
In 1990, Amgen scientist Bruce Wallace set out to help teach high school students in their community about biotechnology. Using the latest tools and science and with help from high school teacher Hugh Nelson, Amgen scientist Rick Jacobsen, and biology professor Marty Ikkanda, he created ABE. Although it began in just one school in California, it has now grown to schools in 11 sites across the United States and 12 other countries globally. The program continues to evolve and adapt to meet the growing and changing demand for high-quality scientific lab experiences for high school students around the world.
ABE has led to careers in the sciences, medical discoveries we benefit from today, new perceptions of biotechnology, and countless other outcomes we cannot yet imagine.
Then to Now
Our Then to Now video series reflects on how much the field of biotechnology and the ABE program have changed over the past 30 years.
Celebrating Our Teachers and Students
In 2019, Hugh Nelson, the first-ever Amgen Biotech Experience (ABE) teacher who helped to develop the program, had a surprise reunion with two of his former students, Kim Barbato and Michele Suleiman, who are both now at Amgen. He is but one of hundreds of ABE teachers who has inspired countless students to pursue the sciences and to grow in their appreciation of STEM. From our original cohort of teachers in the 1990s to our newest teachers at new sites, ABE educators have inspired a new generation of scientists who will undoubtedly lead to new discoveries in medicine, public health, and research and to science-literate citizens who will lead our society into the next three decades. Our teachers continue to evolve their teaching strategies to stay current with the science while connecting students with potential career paths and meeting the needs of modern learning.
View our ABE 30th Anniversary Teacher Toolkit.
The Faces of ABE
Without the people in these pictures—just a sampling of all of our ABE students, teachers, and the staff at our ABE program sites around the globe—ABE could not be the exemplary, innovative program that it is.
Looking to the Future
Even as COVID-19 continues to challenge our global educational systems, ABE continues to provide biotech to students everywhere. In 2020, we are expanding to two new sites in Japan and Turkey, and we are further integrating LabXchange as a virtual science learning tool. We also are working to provide greater equity across our sites through a systemic global survey to understand regional needs. We look forward to another 30 years of inspiring and educating young people everywhere! Biotechnology is for everyone, everywhere ...