Thursday, July 30, 2009

Week 5 Reflection

This week we finished all of the manufacturing and testing of our specimens. We are in the process of analyzing our data from the buckling tests we preformed on our specimens. We tested four different criteria and it has been a little confusing as to what we are looking for in our data. Some parts are clear and others are required more data manipulation and a little creativity. During these past few weeks we started out by building sandwich structures with various gaps between the aluminum and foam components, simulating defects in adhesion during the manufacturing process. Now that we have the data we’re trying to see what it all means. I think a better way to have done this project would have been to develop a working hypothesis in the beginning, construct our specimens based on our hypothesis, and see if the data supports our ideas. At this point we’re trying to find out what the data means, in essence, forming a hypothesis based on our current data. This backwards way of experimenting has made the last set of data analysis and construction of our poster more challenging than it needed to be. With an initial set of goals upfront, this project could have been more productive.


Reflection on final weeks of NU RET 2009

This has been a stimulating experience.  Mary and I have made two new plasmids, pUN63 and pUN64, so our names will forever be on file in the Cram Lab binder that lists plasmids made in this lab.  The plasmids were created for the RNA interference experiment which we set up on Monday of this week.  We will see the results on Friday and next Monday.  The yeast two hybrid experimental results are just in today.  The experiment was successful and showed a strong interaction between the proteins we are studying.

Working in a molecular biology lab has made me more mindful of what my chemistry students will face in biology class after they have had chemistry.  I plan to incorporate examples from biology at every opportunity so they will have an easier time transferring their chemistry knowledge to biology.

The interactions with the other teachers in the program have been invaluable.  I look forward to trying some of the other lesson plans as well as the one I am working on.  The blog will be very helpful to share ideas with one another to make the lessons run successfully.  When I taught freshman physics our school had a weekly workshop at which physics teachers planned the course curriculum and labs.  Those who had already done the lab with their students were able to warn the rest of us of potential problems and how to trouble shoot the lab.  They also shared ideas about points that were confusing for students and how to clarify the concepts.  I see the blog as serving a similar purpose for those of us at various schools.

Margaret Farrar

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My RET Experiences

I have been been able to create my scientific and teaching personality during last four week-long experiences at Northeastern University. I see lot of purpose in my stay and interactions. We are all geared to be better teachers disseminating cutting edge research and technology to our classrooms. There is strong emphasis on reflection and transferring research experience to day to day teaching. Interacting with young and bright scientists in labs where graduate students use state of the art facilities and are immersed in the rigor and depth of their research fields is a rewarding experience. There is variety in the programs in terms of field trips, professional development discussions, invited talks, and in-depth research.

I also feel fortunate to be part of Boston-Cambridge community. It is diverse and enriching. I will be visiting Centre of Nanoscale Research at Harvard University. It is a unique facility one of its kind. The museums in Cambridge and Boston area are fantastic. This has been a treat!!!!


On Being a Scientist: Third Edition

Some interesting discussions took place regarding ethics in research. Specifically, how the pressure to seek and retain funding may compromise research integrity.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Week 3 - July 12th

Week of July 12th - Week 3
Week 3

July 13th - July 16th

Monday - Labs 8:30 - 4:30

Tuesday - Labs 8:30 - 4:30

Wednesday - Lab 8:30 - 12:00

12:00 - Brown Bag Lunch - 90 SN

Presenter - Judy Newmark - Biology - topic - new imaging techniques to non-invasively determine the health and viability of preimplantation embryos.

1:00 - 2:30 - Professional Development Session* - 90 SN

* Please post initial ideas regarding your lessons to the Discussion Board - please bring a written draft for small group discussion if completed.

2:30 - 4:30 - Lab (Lowell group meet - visit Nian Sun's lab)

Thursday - Field Trip information - Biogen - contact Ryan at for more information.