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By Emily Taylor, IV Form
Are Year-Round Islands Off the Coast of Maine Economically Sustainable?
Editor’s Note: Emily created this presentation while attending the Waynflete Sustainable Ocean Studies Summer Camp through partial funding from The Matthews Fund. (For better clarity images, click here for Google Slide presentation)
By Amy Wang, V Form
Constructing a Flowchart in Biology
Editor’s Note: The following description of the assignment provided by Ms. Kimberly Berndt, STEM Faculty–
It can be challenging to understand the complex physiological mechanisms and pathways we explore in Biology. One effective strategy to synthesize, organize, and review information is through visual thinking. We employ visual thinking in a number of ways. In this assignment, students were charged with constructing a flowchart to illustrate their current understanding of how carbohydrates are metabolized.
An effective flowchart takes a complex process and simplifies it in a manner that makes the information more accessible. Flowcharts can be found in many Biology textbooks for this reason. However, the process of constructing a flowchart can be an even more effective tool for learning. Constructing a flowchart requires multiple intellectual tasks. (more…)
By Sophie Haugen, VI Form
A New Reality for Cancer Patients
“No radiation. No Chemo. No Cancer.” These are the words on the sign hanging from the window of the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research at the Seattle Children’s Research Institute. Partway through my fifth form year in Advanced Biology, Jack Thalmann and I were fortunate enough to be selected for internship positions at a cutting-edge research lab for one month of the coming summer.
This past August, we traveled to Seattle and lived in Magnolia, an urban-residential neighborhood located a few miles north of downtown Seattle, with Max (‘72) and Marcia Witter. Each day we commuted to the Ben Towne Center and worked in the Jensen Lab, which focuses on immunotherapy as a treatment for pediatric cancer. Dr. Michael Jensen (‘82), the director of the Center, has made remarkable strides and has achieved some incredible success. Dr. Jensen and the staff at the Jensen Lab take an innovative approach to fighting cancer: they collect blood samples from pediatric cancer patients, genetically engineer the patient’s own T-cells to recognize cancer cells, and infuse the treatment back into the patient’s body. (more…)
By Michelle Hung, VI Form et al
Encapsulating Antitumor Nanodrugs
Nano-particulate drugs hold great promise in improving drug efficacy because of their enhanced solubility, prolonged retention time, and higher bioavailability with tissues or cells. Generally, these nanoparticles are encapsulated to keep them well dispersed according to specific particle sizes in the manufacturing process. The additional advantage of encapsulation is that a rationally selected coating agent may tailor the pharmacokinetics and control the release of therapeutic nanoparticles in the targeted tissue, simultaneously reducing the toxicity and side effects of drugs. (more…)
By Lucy Cao, VI Form
Probing the Semantic Representations of Emotional and Social Concepts in Autism
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are a set of neurodevelopmental disorders as shown through difficulties in social interaction and communication as well as repetitive behaviors. Symptoms of ASD manifest at an early age and become most prominent between the ages two to three years old. One major area of defect common among ASD individuals is language and communication, especially the ability to comprehend language and make inferences based on social and emotional context. Recent linguistics studies have shown that there is an association between the ability of individuals with autism to attribute mental states (to themselves and others) and verbal skills. It is found that high-functioning ASD individuals have a less coherent representation of emotional experiences and tend to avoid using emotional terminology. The goal of this study was to examine the relationship between social competence and semantic representation of social and emotional concepts. Knowing that lexical co-occurrences are useful measurements of semantic knowledge, participants of this study were asked to rate pairs of verbs in terms of similarity on a scale from 1 to 5, 1 being very similar and 5 being very dissimilar. Data collected from the typically developing (TD) participants indicates that there is a correlation between social competence and accuracy of similarity ratings of verbs containing social and emotional content. The less socially competent, the less accurate the ratings are. Moreover, such a correlation is not present in verbs of no social or emotional content. However, the investigator failed to identify a significant difference in the ASD population’s perception of emotional and social verbs and the control participants’ perception of these verbs due to reasons of methodology.
By Katherine Hartigan, VI Form
Mitochondrial Disease in C. elegans
Mitochondrial disease refers to a class of hundreds of disorders related to the mitochondria that are caused by mutations in either mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) or nuclear DNA
(nDNA). These mutations disrupt cellular respiration and the production of ATP, resulting in the overproduction of damaging free radicals. Mitochondrial diseases were once thought to be rare, but links between mitochondrial defects and many diseases of aging have been discovered, making these diseases far more prevalent than previously thought. A cure is nonexistent, and treatments are often individualized or ineffective. Antioxidants, such as Coenzyme Q10, have the ability to neutralize free radicals, making them a logical choice as a dietary supplement for mitochondrial disease patients. In this experiment, the C. elegans mev-1 mutant was used as a model organism for human mitochondrial disease. MitoQ, a reengineered form of Coenzyme Q10 targeted to the mitochondria, was added as a supplement to the diet of mev-1 mutants. The groups of mev-1 mutants were observed and data was collected every 12 hours until their death to determine their approximate lifespan. Following experimentation and data collection, it was found that there was not a significant difference in between the lifespans of the control mev-1 mutants without MitoQ, and the experimental mev-1 mutants with the MitoQ added to their diet. It is necessary to repeat this experiment while collecting data in shorter time intervals than 12 hours in order to draw more accurate conclusions when completing future research. (more…)