While most young people spend their Saturday mornings sleeping, watching television or, if you’re lucky, mowing the lawn, one group of girls is getting ready to bring out their microscopes and learn about biophysics as part of the 5th Annual Saturday Morning Biophysics: Image Life! program hosted at the Texas A&M Health Science Center (TAMHSC) College of Medicine.

A group of about 30 girls will devote three hours each Saturday for five weeks to lectures, multi-media presentations, interactive demonstrations and hands-on activities.

Initiated by Andreea Trache, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Systems Biology and Translational Medicine at the TAMHSC College of Medicine, Saturday Morning Biophysics: Image Life! specifically targets girls in grades 6-12 and encourages them to explore careers in science.

Participants at the 2011 Saturday Morning Biophysics program examine cells with microscopes.

“The speakers and I introduce the group to current research topics in the physical and life sciences using easy-to-understand, non-technical terms,” said Dr. Trache.

From 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. each Saturday, the girls learn about microscopes and other tools used to conduct scientific research in life sciences. Thus, live organisms, tissues and individual cells can be studied in great detail.

The 2012 program is free to registered participants and is held September 15, October 6, 13 and 27, and November 10 in room 162 of the Joe H. Reynolds Medical Building on the west campus of Texas A&M University in College Station.

This year’s topics include medicines, viruses, cancer, chemistry, visualization science, microscopy, and college preparation. Teachers and parents are also encouraged to attend the sessions.

In addition to speakers from the TAMHSC College of Medicine, the program will host speakers from Texas A&M University’s College of Science, College of Engineering, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and College of Architecture.

Since 2008, Saturday Morning Biophysics—Image Life! has been attended by more than 100 girls, many from rural areas in Brazos, Burleson, Washington and Grimes counties.

The program is sponsored by Dr. Trache’s National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award, the NSF’s most prestigious award to junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research. The program was also featured on the NSF website in May 2010 as a “National Lab Day Exemplary Project.”

To register or for more information, visit Saturday Morning Biophysics: Image Life! or email Andreea Trache at trache@tamu.edu

— Dhwani Chauhan

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