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Science Learning with Interactive Virtual Education (LIVE)

Ignite the curiosity of the scientists of tomorrow! 

ScienceLIVE is an educational science outreach program for Worcester area middle schools. We provide opportunities for students to engage with our diverse postdoctoral and graduate student trainees through interactive, exciting virtual and hands-on STEM activities.

Inspire students to question, model, predict, and solve real-world problems! 

Every ScienceLIVE commitment to a classroom includes:
  • A virtual, interactive experience: meet with 2-3 of our scientists to explore a topic and ask questions while one of them performs an experiment virtually
  • A hands-on follow-up activity: a kit containing all equipment, materials, and instructions is delivered to you, FREE! Students and teacher worksheets are also provided.
  • A post-activity check-in: one of our scientists will virtually revisit your classroom after students have completed the follow-up activity to hear about your results and brainstorm further exploration. 

Take a peek into one of our previous modules*:

All of this, FREE!

Our Spring 2022 workshops will be taking place virtually within the Worcester Public Middle Schools.

Modules available for Spring 2022:

  • The Building Blocks of Life (exploring cell and molecular biology)
  • Designing Prosthetic Limbs (exploring biomechanical engineering)
  • Doctor's Orders: Finish your antibiotics! (exploring microbiology)
  • DNA Sequences are a BLAST! (exploring bioinformatics and evolutionary biology) 
  • A Day in the Life of a Scientist (exploring a career in science)

ScienceLIVE Outreach Program was developed, supported, and managed by faculty and educators from the RNA Therapeutics Institute (RTI) and the Sanderson Center of Optical Experimentation (SCOPE) at the UMass Chan Medical School. We understand the tight nature of public-school budgets and have arranged to provide materials for hands-on activities with funding from the RTI, SCOPE, Department of Microbiology and Physiological Systems (MaPS), the Department of Systems Biology (PSB), and the Office of Community and Government Relations. Additional funding sources include grants from the Remillard Foundation and Boston Scientific Foundation.


For more information or participate in our outreach program, please email

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Support for ScienceLIVE comes from UMass Chan Medical School and the following generous sponsors:


ScienceLIVE Co-Founders

  • Angela Messmer-Blust

    Angela Messmer-Blust, PhD

    Senior Scientific Advisor, Associate Professor, RNA Therapeutics Institute

    Dr. Angela Messmer-Blust studied cell motility during her graduate studies at the University of Toledo where she received her PhD (2009). She began her postdoctoral research at the CardioVascular Institute at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School under Jian Li, investigating transcriptional regulation in diabetes and obesity. Following her postdoctoral studies, she held editorial positions at the Journal of Visualized Experiments, and later joined Cell Press as the director of scientific conferences from 2012 - 2017. In 2017, Dr. Messmer-Blust joined the faculty of the RNA Therapeutics Institute as Assistant Professor and Senior Scientific Advisor where she develops and directs departmental initiatives including the annual RNA Therapeutics symposium and educational outreach in the Worcester area.

  • Athma Pai

    Athma Pai, PhD

    Assistant Professor, RNA Therapeutics Institute

    Dr. Pai is an RNA systems geneticist who uses functional genomics and computational approaches to address open questions in mammalian gene regulation. Athma received her Ph.D. from the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Chicago, working with Yoav Gilad and collaborating closely with Jonathan Pritchard’s group on human and comparative genomics analyses. She then moved on to postdoctoral research as a Jane Coffin Childs fellow at MIT working with Christopher Burge, focusing on understanding the changes in mRNA splicing after immune response and developing methods to measure the dynamics of such processes. Athma assumed her current position as an Assistant Professor in the RNA Therapeutics Institute at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in January 2018. Her lab works on developing and applying methods to study the kinetics of RNA processing and understanding how various steps in RNA maturation are coordinated through lifecycle of an RNA molecule.

  • Christina Baer

    Christina Baer, PhD

    Director, Sanderson Center for Optical Experimentation, Assistant Professor, Microbiology and Physiological Systems

    Dr. Baer completed her PhD in Biophysics at the University of California, Berkeley, CA.  Sher has been the director of the SCOPE since 2017. Her extensive experience with wide-field, confocal, and multi-photon imaging, plus skills in molecular tools development and quantitative image analysis provides essential scientific support to the University of Massachusetts Medical School research community. SCOPE has become a catalyst for optical experimentation at UMMS, serving as a site where engineers and biologists interact to develop innovative instruments and analysis methodologies that are readily accessible to the community.

  • Mary Pickering

    Mary Pickering, PhD

    Director of Public Engagement with Science

    Dr. Mary Pickering graduated from Providence College with Bachelor degrees in Chemistry and Biology. She completed her PhD and postdoctoral work at UMMS and returns to the university after serving as a Visiting Assistant Professor at area colleges. Dr. Pickering is one of the co-founders of ScienceLIVE, a STEM educational outreach program for middle school students in the Worcester area. She joins the RTI to expand the impact of the experiential program by developing and implementing engaging content and provide opportunities for trainees to develop science communication skills.