University of Manitoba - Biomedical Youth Program - In the news
In the news
BYP Camp 

Justin Choy (left) works with oral biology professor and camp program director James Gilchrist during a workshop.

Ashley Prest, Winnipeg Free Press, 7/21/2016
Biomedical lessons at youth camp: Inner-city students among attendees at free, five-day workshops. (click to read)



One of the first kids to take part in a U of M outreach program in Winnipeg’s inner city takes his first steps on campus as a university student.

Peter-John Homeniuk sits at the corner table of a coffee shop in University Centre, his backpack at his feet. The soundtrack of campus life buzzes around him, but it’s muted by earbuds playing a Metalcore track. The University 1 student might look like an ordinary teenager. But to those who know him, he is “extraordinary.”

Francis Amara, the founder of a science outreach program for kids in Winnipeg’s inner city, is one of Homeniuk’s most vocal supporters. “I remember when I first met PJ: he was a bright and curious kid,” says Amara, a professor of biochemistry and medical genetics in the College of Medicine. “He really took an interest in the activities and I could see even then he was an extraordinary kid.” [READ MORE…] 


On Wednesday, April 15 the U of M’s Bannatyne campus was abuzz when over 400 students in Grades 4-12, from more than 30 different Winnipeg schools showcasing their research at the 45th Annual Winnipeg Schools’ Science Fair. Check out highlights from the event.


Dr Francis Amara among the Winners of the Top 25 Canadian Immigrants of 2009

"If I can take success back to Canadians and everybody can shine from it, then I’ve contributed to this country in a very welcoming way. It’s really about the opportunities I didn’t have when I was growing up in Africa — I’m proud that I have opportunities here."- Dr Francis Amara

"Francis Amara is an amazing person on all levels. He has courage and great vision for himself and others, motivating him from his childhood in a rural village in Sierra Leone to his role as a leading brain researcher in Canada." — Norman Lee, colleague and mentor

Dr Francis Amara among the Winners of the Top 25 Canadian Immigrants of 2009


Inner City Science Centre Brings Groups Together

Working Together, Spring 2009


Dr. Francis Amara counducting a science teachers workshop at the Inner City Science Centre

Take an unused inner-city elementary school classroom. Inject state-of-the-art equipment, funding and partnerships. Infuse withe the vision, passion and commitment of Dr. Francis Amara, and your experiment yields overwhelmingly positive results.

The Inner City Science Centre, which opened at Niji Mahkwa School earlier this year, is already in high demand from teachers and students alike - citywide and beyond the Perimeter. "The vision is to have science right within the community, where it is needed," say Dr. Amara, Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Medical Genetics at the University of Manitoba, and the volunteer driving force behind the Centre.

Inner City Science Centre Brings Groups Together

Inner-city youths eager to learn in high-tech lab


By: Nick Martin, Winnipeg Free Press, 2/01/2009


Ben Salins, coordinator of the Inner City Science Centre in the Niji Mahkwa School with students Spring McKay (left), 11, and Cheyenne Johnson, 13, who will be in this program in the new year. The school’s principal calls it a “great opportunity.” ( WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS ARCHIVES)

There's something new and world-class in the old storage room down the hall at Niji Mahkwa School -- a university medical and science lab.

Every large university medical school does outreach, and they've all been the same -- until now, said Dr. Francis Amara, head of the biomedical youth program and a professor of biochemistry and medical genetics at the University of Manitoba.

"We want to create an attitude of science," he said.

When students walk by the lab, "It gets the smoke coming out of their ears," laughed Niji Mahkwa principal Rob Riel. "It's a great opportunity for the children to see a fully functioning high-end science lab within a school."

Inner-city youths eager to learn in high-tech lab


Photos of the Week July 2008

Winnipeg Free Press, 26/7/08

Grade 5, 6 and 7 students at theBiomedical Youth Summer Camp at the University of Manitoba Faculty of Medicine. This is the second annual free week-long science camp offered to children inner city children, without the oppurtuninty to attend a summer camp.

Photos of the week, July 2008


U of M lab for kids could nurture future scientists

Staff Writer Winnipeg Free Press, 2/4/2007

"There is a need for more aboriginal people in the fields of medicine and science," Riel
(Niji Mahkwa Elementary School Principal) said. "He's (Dr Francis Amara) trying to build a community lab as a model. He wants to let the community know they have the capability to jump into the fields of science and medicine.

"They're really looking at an untapped resource, at what the inner-city can offer," Riel said.

U of M lab for kids could nurture future scientists



Kimberley Corneillie The Metro, July 19 2007

Dr. Francis Amara, associate professor and senior scientist, in the
department of biochemistry and medical genetics, Faculty of Medicine,
said this initiative is designed to help give students of under represented
minorities and low socio economic backgrounds an introduction to
science and research.

The goal of the program is to encourage them to learn more about
science and to eventually pursue careers in the health profession.
Jasmine Boulette, who proudly said she’s entering Grade 6 at Niji
Mahkwa School, had a great time.

“I really liked the tour and the science experiment.” When asked what
she would like to learn as a scientist she answered, “I want to learn how
long mosquitoes live and I want to cure cancer.”

“I am hoping that this program will create a sustainable interest in
science, and have an impact on the career choices for these children,”
said Dr. Amara.

Budding Scientists at Four Foot, Two