Focusing young eyes on biology

Saturday January 12, 2013

NORTH ADAMS -- Twenty-seven fourth-graders at Greylock Elementary School were up to their gills in science lab work this week.

Friday concluded a five-day program called BioEYES that Williams College presented in the school. The biology program focuses on learning about and implementing a study on a fast-breeding species known as zebrafish.

Williams College first brought the program to Williamstown Elementary School four years ago. This year, the college expanded the program to include a pilot program at Greylock.

"Its amazing. Its different," said fourth-grade teacher Susan Candiloro. "The kids have been very engaged and asked excellent questions this week. Not to mention theyve been responsible about taking care of the fish."

Candiloro and fellow teacher Paul Narotski combined classrooms this week so Williams neuroscience professor Martha Marvin and students from her winter study course could run the BioEYES workshop with the kids.

BioEYES is a science education program for students in kindergarten through 12th grade, developed by Philadelphia-based neurobiologist Steven Farber and educator Jamie Shuda.

During the week, Marvin and the Williams College students helped the elementary school students to formulate hypotheses about genetics and then test their hypotheses by mating a male and female zebrafish. Zebrafish breeding is a model system for studying vertebrates and neuroscience

On Friday, the fourth-graders put their developing fish -- some creatures given names like "Squishy," "Squirmy" and "Nemo" -- under microscopes brought in by the college. Since zebrafish embryos are transparent, the students were able to observe organs, a heartbeat and blood flow in their specimens.

Audible reactions from the kids ranged from "whoa," to "eww" to "weird."

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Focusing young eyes on biology

Pingry biology teacher publishes research paper in online journal

Pingry biology teacher Dr. Morgan Thompson, a resident of Bridgewater, recently had a research paper published online in the scientific journal Nature Structural & Molecular Biology in December 2012. The journal, among the most prestigious in the biology field, publishes articles about protein structures and how proteins function inside cells.

The articles topic stemmed from the larger question of how cells move around inside the body. Dr. Thompsons work focused on examining the structure of two proteins and their interaction with each other at an atomic level: actin, which forms long polymers that act like a skeleton to give cells their structure, and a class of proteins called formins, which interact with actin and help regulate polymer assembly. Solving the structure of these proteins led her to develop two molecular models that illustrate this interaction. Determining the relationship between actin and formins could lead to a better understanding of a wide range of diseases from muscle disease to cancer.

Dr. Thompson, who earned a Ph.D. at Dartmouth College in the fall of 2012, has been presenting this research at conferences for about five years, and her paper was a chapter in her thesis for the Ph.D. She conducted lab research under the guidance of Dartmouth biochemist Dr. Henry Higgs and Dartmouth chemistry professor Dr. Jon Kull.

Her experiences in graduate school serve Dr. Thompson well at Pingry, since she uses her molecular biology skills from Dartmouth in a molecular biology research class she teaches and in introductory biology labs. New to Pingry this school year, she said, I came to Pingry because of the advanced level of its research program and science curriculum compared to other high schools. I have been really impressed with what Pingry offers its students.

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Pingry biology teacher publishes research paper in online journal

Biology Labs as Coop Class (Apologia Biology Experiment Module 10.1) – Video

Biology Labs as Coop Class (Apologia Biology Experiment Module 10.1)
This video is meant to give you a taste of what biology labs can be like in a co-op setting. I set up a camera at one end of the room and let it run while we did Experiment 10.1 during Co-op Week 9. It really is necessary for the students to talk as they work in pairs, so it can get a bit noisy. Also, this particular week our classroom was open to the musical rehearsal in the room next to us (the folding wall was broken) so it was a bit more noisy than normal, but the video will still give you a good idea of how labs in a group setting can look.

By: Conniethedaisyhead

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Biology Labs as Coop Class (Apologia Biology Experiment Module 10.1) - Video

UB Dental Researcher Stefan Ruhl Studies Salivary Biology in Great Apes – Video

UB Dental Researcher Stefan Ruhl Studies Salivary Biology in Great Apes
Under the leadership of Dean Michael Glick, DMD the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine is engaging faculty, staff and students in an aggressive new strategic plan aimed at defining excellence in global health. The school is creating innovations in oral health education, research, and service to improve the quality of healthcare. In the School #39;s Oral Biology Department, researcher Dr. Stefan Ruhl tries to find out how saliva manages to protect humans from harmful pathogens while at the same time allowing a beneficial microflora to colonize the oral cavity. To solve this question, he has turned for help to our closest existing evolutionary relatives, the great apes.


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UB Dental Researcher Stefan Ruhl Studies Salivary Biology in Great Apes - Video

Wiley College campus saddened by death of biology instructor

Classes resume at Wiley College following winter break today but, as students, faculty and staff start their spring semester, they will do so with heavy hearts following the death of faculty member Valentyn Siniak.

The assistant professor of biology from Ukraine was in his sixth year at the college before he died in a motorcycle crash Friday at age 37.

Its been awkward, said Dr. Walter Shumate, Wileys Dean of the Division of Science, of what it was like going to work on Monday. When youre used to seeing somebody and then theyre not there, every time we should see him theres this glaring absence. Its really a cave in our hearts that were trying to fill with him but hes not here right now. Its just been very awkward.

Shumate said there wasnt any one instance he remembered that could illustrate the kind of person Siniak was, but that he there are few who are so endearing as the his departed colleague and friend.

He always worked with students with their problems, not only in class but also out of class, he said. There were so many times a student would come to him with a personal issue or a work-related issue and he would sit down with them and help them through it or give advice. If he couldnt give them good advice, hed just sit down and listen and be that sounding board they needed. Every student in every one of his classes adored him absolutely.

Thats no hyperbole. Everyone truly cared for him.

A lover of photography, Shumate said Siniak had a genuine curiosity that never faded.

Whether it was finding out what was wrong with students, or how to help students, or anything in the realm of science, he was always curious, said Shumate. He was a great friend to everyone in the building, and were going to miss him terribly because of that.

He loved to see students happy and was always a big fan of seeing people happy in general.

Dr. Khaled Al-Agha, a professor of mathematics at Wiley, said hell remember Siniak, who was his office neighbor, as a wonderful friend, colleague and a good person.

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Wiley College campus saddened by death of biology instructor

Recent Brookline High grad one of five in world to get perfect AP Biology score

Jacqueline You knows what it takes to be perfect.

The former Brookline High School student aced her AP Biology exam last year, getting all 63 multiple-choice and eight free response questions correct. She was one of only five students in the world to get a perfect score.

Originally from Cincinnati, You has lived in Brookline for four years and now attends Boston University, where she is on the pre-med track. A self-described doodler and scribbler, You said she likes to draw and write.

Recently, Brookline High Schools perfect student took the time to answer a few of our questions about her remarkable achievement.

Q: You were one of five people in the world to get a perfect score in the AP Biology test. What was the secret to your success, and did you expect to get every question correct?

A: I dont think there was a secret. I was really lucky to have been taught by several amazing science teachers at Brookline High. They made classes fun and eye-opening, and their enthusiasm sparked my interest in science. No, I hadnt anticipated getting every question right. I couldnt believe it when I found out.

Q: For others who struggle with tests and studying, do you have any advice for them?

A: Ask questions if youre confused. This may sound like something from your parents dog-eared nagging, but its true. Dont be shy about raising your hand or approaching a teacher after class. You are your own advocate. And your teachers appreciate the fact that you are pursuing answers.

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Recent Brookline High grad one of five in world to get perfect AP Biology score