Participants at the 2010 Saturday Morning Biophysics program

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 4th 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., Assistant Professor of Systems Biology and Translational Medicine at the TAMHSC College of Medicine, Saturday Morning Biophysics—Image Life! specifically targets girls in grades 9-12 and encourages them to explore careers in science.

“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 instruments used to conduct scientific research in life sciences.  Thus, live organisms, tissues and individual cells can be studied in great detail.

Participants at the 2010 Saturday Morning Biophysics program examine cells with microscopes.

The 2011 program is free to registered participants and is held September 10, October 1, 8 and 22, and November 5 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 forensic science, viruses, cancer, chemistry, and college preparation.  Teachers are also encouraged to attend any and all 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 Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, and College of Education and Human Development.

“I also invited graduate and post-doctoral students from across the campus to share their experiences in science and research,” said Dr. Trache.  “More importantly, some of these graduate students are the first in their families to attend college and can really relate to the girls.”

Since 2008, Saturday Morning Biophysics—Image Life! has exposed more than 70 girls, many from rural areas in Brazos, Burleson, Washington and Grimes counties, to science and research.

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 the Saturday Morning Biophysics—Image Life! website or email trache@medicine.tamhsc.edu

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