IGERT students partcipate in a variety of outreach activities, including visiting local schools and conducting laboratory tours and demonstrations to communicate the potential of stem cells to teachers, students and the community at large.
If you are interested in potentially meeting with or having the Stem Cell Biomanufacturing IGERT graduate students visit your school or community group, please contact us.
Buzz on Biotechnology is an annual science fair open house which allows high school students, teachers, parents and siblings to see innovative research at Georgia Tech while exploring Tech's campus & the state-of-the-art Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience. This event provides the opportunity to engage in hands-on science and engineering concepts, view sample demonstrations, tour research laboratories and meet some of Georgia Tech's outstanding graduate students.
Groups of 10-15 tour the Stem Cell Engineering Center core facilities and the McDevitt Stem Cell Engineering lab. The IGERT graduate students lead these groups through the research facility and describe the equipment used to study stem cells. The tour provides groups with an opportunity to look at live mouse embryonic stem cells and embryoid bodies under a microscope, and view several videos related to laboratory techniques and “beating” embryoid bodies.
Stem cells provide the opportunity for novel cell therapies, diagnostic methods, and treatment options. These seminars provide an overview of the past, present, and future of stem cell engineering including answers to questions such as: What are stem cells and where do they come from? What can they be used for? How does the discovery of stem cells affect the future of medicine and research?
IGERT students present a stem cell demonstration called “atrium cell” which involved assuming that the building’s atrium where the event was held represented the cell membrane and had the students identify objects that the IGERT students brought which could represent the different organelles within a cell.
Three IGERT trainees participated in the Dunwoody High School Interdisciplinary Science Fair mentoring program in both Physics and Biology developed by BBUGS. Each graduate student was assigned to four or five high school students and met with them twice over the Fall semester to help choose a topic and develop the project. The IGERT students also assisted via email correspondence with the high school teams throughout the semester if the group had further questions.
Two IGERT trainees: Tom Bongiorno and Alison Douglas volunteered to give a stem cell lecture to High School students in two of Ms. Maness’s Biology classes at Benjamin E. Mays High School on February 8, 2012. The students presented a PowerPoint on the different types of stem cells, stem cell research and the potential stem cell usage in regenerative medicine. They also brought in stem cells undergoing differentiation for the students to see under their microscope.
Two IGERT trainees participated as judges at Kincaid Elementary School science fair. The two trainees, Douglas White and Devon Headen, spoke with each of the groups about their projects, gauged the students’ understanding of the methodology and science behind the projects and then scored the groups on their hypothesis, knowledge, analyzed data and conclusions. Some of the projects included making a battery using different fruits using the equation V=IR to explain the results; another student looked at how temperature fluctuations could affect how high a tennis ball bounced using the gas law; and another student looked at Pavlov's classical conditioning using frogs.
IGERT students Josh Zimmermann and Marian Hettiaratchi volunteered to give a stem cell lecture to high school students in two of Ms. Maness’s Genetics classes at Benjamin E. Mays High School on March 22, 2012. The students presented a PowerPoint on the different types of stem cells, stem cell research and the potential stem cell usage in regenerative medicine. They also demonstrated stem cells undergoing differentiation for the students under a microscope.
IGERT trainees Shalini Saxena, Jenna Wilson and Josh Zimmermann participated in the Summer College Tour 2012 where they gave lab demonstrations on imaging and processing stem cells.
The participating high schools include the Coretta Scott King Young Women's Leadership Academy and the B.E.S.T. Academy. These Atlanta high school students were given an introduction to bioengineering at Georgia Tech followed by lab tours and demonstrations. In the Platt laboratory, students learned about cancer metastasis and bone disorders in sickle cell disease. In the McDevitt laboratory, students were shown how to use modern technology to optimize stem cell studies. In the Nerem laboratory, students learned about the biomechanics and fluid flow in arteries undergoing atherosclerosis.
IGERT trainee Tom Bongiorno volunteered at the Montgomery Elementary School Science Night on February 7, 2013. Over 30 elementary school students and parents were present at the event to see science exhibits and demos. Bongiorno demonstrated the adaption of stem cell separation using density and magnetism. This hands-on demonstration taught elementary school students about the challenges associated with cell separation. Students were asked to estimate the size of a cell, and were guided through the difficulties of separating different cell types. They were then asked to predict whether colored spheres (representing cells) would float or sink when placed in a tub of water, demonstrating cell separation by adhesion. Finally, the students were taught the basics of magnetic activated cell sorting and selectivity by trying to attach metal cylinders (representing magnetic antibodies) to both spherical and square rods (representing 2 different proteins) on the cell surface. The cylinders fit on the spherical rods, but did not fit onto square rods. The students then used a magnet to test their predictions about which cells would be magnetic. The demonstration was a great success and gave the students a hands-on opportunity to understand the difficulties associated with stem cell separation.