Exploring Life in the Lab at Northwestern

Evanston Township High School students get a taste of NU science
Science in Society
May 8, 2014

From electron microscopy to the all-you-can-eat buffet at Sargent Hall, 60 Evanston Township High School (ETHS) students got a chance to experience life at Northwestern when they visited the university last week.

The students from Ms. Jenna Paplaczyk’s Biology with Support classes learned about authentic scientific research when they visited two advanced imaging facilities and two research lab spaces.

At Northwestern University’s Atomic and Nanoscale Characterization Experimental Center (NUANCE), staff member Eric Miller and graduate student Mark McClendon demonstrated how scanning electron microscopes work.

Operations Director William Russin at the Biological Imaging Facility (BIF) demonstrated the power of a confocal microscope by imaging an anesthetized fish, while Imaging Specialist Charlene Wilke spoke more about the way scientists prepare samples.

Graduate student Kathryn Gunn, from the Mondragón lab, talked about protein crystals and showed the students a microscope she built as part of her research with single protein molecules.

At the Horvath lab, graduate student Annie Bruns talked about the concept of regeneration, when organisms can grow back a missing limb or other part of the body. Students got to look at regenerating roundworms under a microscope.

The mostly freshman and sophomore high school students participate in the ETHS-NU Biology Program, an in-class enrichment program for ETHS Biology with Support students. Students have the opportunity to work closely with Northwestern science graduate students on challenging, hands-on biomedical labs and to learn more about the application of science in real world situations. The field trip to Northwestern was a culminating activity for the program.

Check out pictures from the field trip here!

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