Jasmin Hume, Ph.D. (2nd. year) Chemical and Biological Sciences
Summary: In this exercise, students will learn that bacteria can be found everywhere, including on the surface of our own hands. Students will study three different conditions and compare the growth of bacteria from these surfaces: (1) unwashed hand, (2) hand washed with soap and water, and (3) hand sanitized with antibacterial hand gel. The students will take swabs of their hands in these three different conditions and streak the swabs on Petri dishes containing agar gel which supports bacterial growth. After creating these three samples, over the period of one week the Petri dishes will show growth of several different kinds of bacteria, and the students will quantitatively compare the amount of bacteria growing from each test condition. Quantitative analysis of these samples will be done by taking photos of the Petri dishes at different time points and analyzing the images through imaging software. In addition to monitoring the quantity of bacteria from differ conditions, they will also be able to record the growth of bacteria over time, which is an excellent tool to study binary fission and the reproduction of unicellular organisms.
Sophia Mercurio, Chemical and Biological Sciences
Summary: Students consider human senses and the many everyday human-made sensors so common in their lives. They learn about the three components of biosensors—a special type of sensor—and their functions and importance. With this understanding, students identify various organs in the human body that behave as sensors, such as the pancreas. Using LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT robots, provided rbt robot programs and LEGO sensors (light, ultrasonic, sound, touch), students gain first-hand experience with sensors and come to see how engineer-designed sensors play important roles in our daily lives, informing people of their surroundings and ultimately improving our quality of life.