SMART (Students Modeling A Research Topic) teams of high school students and their teacher work with research scientists to design and construct physical models of the proteins that are being investigated in their laboratories. The primary goal of the SMART Team program is to connect high school students to the real world of science that exists in an active biomolecular research.
Have you ever wondered how new drug therapies are developed? Or how your body has the ability to clot wounds? To learn more about these and other fascinating “molecular stories”, come hear from local middle and high school students as they present their SMART Teams projects.
SMART Teams (Students Modeling A Research Topic) is a science education enrichment program developed by the Center for BioMolecular Modeling at the Milwaukee School of Engineering that combines science and 3-dimensional printing technology. This year one of the teams is working with Gil White MD of the BloodCenter to study proteins known as integrins which play a crucial role in initiating the clotting process in damaged blood vessels. Under the mentorship of Dr. White and their science teacher, Phil Kroner, PhD, a team from Wauwatosa East High School has researched the clotting process to understand the structure and function of the integrin αIIbβ3. As an outcome of their research, the students will design and build a 3- dimensional physical model of the integrin using rapid prototyping technology.
The SMART Team program is designed to engage students in the “real world of science”. By bringing students together with a research scientist to explore a particular topic in depth, this program permits them to see science as it is done in a laboratory.
In addition to building a model, students develop a poster and an oral presentation explaining the “molecular story” of their particular protein.
The program is always interested in working with new science mentors. Mentors can be graduate students, postdocs, research associates, or faculty members. “It really has been fun working with these students. They are amazingly inquisitive and it has been rewarding to see them develop an interest in their project and their model. And, as with all students, I have learned a thing or two, as well!” — Gil White, MD, BloodCenter of Wisconsin.
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