Written By: Juliet Obi, chapter president
The University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) Biophysical Society (BPS) student chapter at the School of Pharmacy organized an educational outreach event last November to introduce biophysical concepts to high school students in the UMB CURE Scholars program. The program aims to provide middle and high school students in West Baltimore with competitive and rewarding research, health care, and STEM-related career opportunities.
I introduced biophysics as a research field then explained the principles of diffusion, density, and biological molecules in motion to the students, highlighting why these concepts are important in biophysics.
Afterwards, we divided the students into three groups for hands-on experimental demonstrations. For the diffusion experiments, students prepared agarose plates, made a hole in the plates, and added a drop of dye (methylene blue) to demonstrate that the dye spot increases in size over time. For the density experiments, students created a liquid rainbow in which the colors didn’t mix. Basic concepts of molecular dynamics simulations and biological macromolecules were also introduced to the students by showing them short simulations and folding pathways of proteins.
A follow-up session helped ensure the students understood the biophysical concepts introduced to them. To conclude the outreach event, the students tried their hands at performing some density calculations. Our chapter’s executive board would like to thank the CURE Scholars Program for their collaboration, chapter advisor Dr. Daniel Deredge for offering his lab space to carry out the demonstrations, and the Biophysical Society for making the biophysics lessons we used in the outreach readily accessible. We would also like to thank chapter members Kyle Kihn, Christina Williams, and Agbo-oma Uwakweh for volunteering at the event.
More BPS-UMB events are underway for national Biophysics Week March 20-24, including a BPS-UMB coffee hour and a computational biophysics seminar. For any questions or inquiries on how to join the UMB-BPS student chapter, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow us on Twitter @umb_bps.
President: Juliet Obi
Vice President: Aarion Romany
Secretary: Ally Smith
Treasurer: Catherine Ladipo
Social Media Manager: Sheneil Black
Faculty Advisor: Daniel Deredge, PhD