MIT BLOSSOMS - Discovering Medicines, Using Robots and Computers
Scientists who are
working to discover new medicines often
use robots to prepare samples of cells,
allowing them to test chemicals to identify
those that might be used to treat diseases.
Students will meet a scientist who works
to identify new medicines. She created
free software that "looks"
at images of cells and determines which
images show cells that have responded
to the potential medicines. Students
will learn about how this technology
is currently enabling research to identify
new antibiotics to treat tuberculosis.
Students will complete hands-on activities
that demonstrate how new medicines can
be discovered using robots and computer
software, starring the student as "the
computer." In the process, the
students learn about experimental design,
including positive and negative controls.
Students should have some introductory
knowledge about the following topics:
(1) biology: students should have a
basic understanding of infection and
good hygiene, they should know what
bacteria and cells are; (2) chemistry:
the students should know what a chemical
compound (molecule) is. They should
have an understanding that medicines,
also called "drugs", are
chemical compounds; (3) basic experimental
design: students should understand the
terms "samples" and "testing".
All hand-outs necessary for this video
lesson can be downloaded below.
In this lesson, students will model an avian-human flu virus structure, replication, and spread. The accompanying PBS NOVA movie Pandemic Flu regarding H5N1 Avian and Swine Flu highlights interactions between the virus, humans, and birds.
Type: Lesson Plan
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