UC Medical Center Brings Scientific Research to Cincinnati Public Schools
Cincinnati--Gary Dean, PhD, University of Cincinnati (UC) associate
professor of molecular genetics, biochemistry, and microbiology, is the
principal investigator for a three-year Science Education Partnership
Award (SEPA) from the National Center for Research Resources of the
National Institutes of Health (NIH). Nearly $800,000 from SEPA will be
used to form a partnership between the UC College of Medicine and
teachers and students in the Cincinnati Public Schools. The partnership
brings scientists into the classroom to collaborate with students on
yeast mutants research.
By studying the cellular processes of yeast cells that are similar to
those in human brain cells, the researchers will attempt to foster the
studentís interest in science. The scientists will work with the
science teachers to compile and present stimulating, hands-on,
inquiry-based lessons that also meet national standards of education.
Other UC Medical Center researchers involved with the project include:
Michele C. Barton, PhD, assistant professor of molecular genetics;
Kenneth Blumenthal, PhD, professor of molecular genetics; Joanna
Groden, PhD, assistant professor of molecular genetics; Catherine
Saelinger, PhD, professor of molecular genetics; James Stringer, PhD,
professor of molecular genetics; and Alison Weiss, PhD, associate
professor of molecular genetics. Terry McCollum, EdD, Cincinnati Public
Schools, will coordinate the UC researchersí efforts with the
participating teachers and students.
In preparation for this project, the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation
provided a $19,500 grant for UC researchers to train 10 community
teachers in basic cell biology and in the methods used in the
experiments. The experiments are designed to generate and characterize
yeast mutants in a poorly understood but important large membrane-bound
proton-pumping enzyme called the vacuolar ATPase (V-ATPase). Students
will then isolate the (plasmid-borne) gene from each mutant after
proving phenotype and send it to a UC lab for sequence determination.
The results will be shared with the students.
"The project strives to foster a spirit of scientific inquiry in
students by involving them directly in real scientific research," says
Dean. One NIH reviewer noted, "Dean has demonstrated an enthusiastic
commitment to this program and a level of excitement that should prove
infectious." The project will strive to extend the mission of the
Cincinnati Urban Systemic Initiative, which attempted to improve
science literacy and engender the interest needed by students to pursue
careers in science-related fields.
For more information about this
program, contact Gary Dean, PhD, by phone at (513) 558-0065, by email
at Gary.Dean@uc.edu, or by fax at (513) 558-8474.