Learning life in the lab

first_imgHigh school students from Chelsea tried their hands at a little genetic engineering last Thursday, in a lab exercise at Harvard’s Science Center that first coaxed bacteria to produce a red fluorescent protein, and then harvested the material.The group of about 15 students carefully followed steps outlined on the blackboard by research assistant Alia Qatarneh. In the process, they completed the Amgen-Bruce Wallace Biotechnology Lab Program, an eight-lab biotechnology course supported by the Harvard Life Sciences Outreach Program and funded by the Amgen Foundation.“For over a decade, the Outreach Program has shared the technology of our teaching labs [with area schools] through class visits to campus,” said Robert Lue, outreach program director and professor of the practice of molecular and cellular biology. “The Amgen program gives us another way to package technology with curriculum in a manner that brings it to the schools. The bidirectional combination of approaches maximizes the beneficial impact of Harvard’s resources in the life sciences.”The course is made available to high schools around the state. The Outreach Program provides instructions for eight labs and lends the schools kits that include $20,000 in chemicals and equipment that many schools couldn’t otherwise afford, such as centrifuges, hot water baths, and thermal cyclers (also known as PCR machines, for polymerase chain reaction) that amplify DNA.“The class would not be happening at Chelsea High School without this program,” said Melissa Puopolo, a science teacher at the school.“I don’t have a centrifuge,” she said. Having access to “the equipment is huge; the PCR machine is really expensive.”The biotech outreach effort has proven popular, according to Tara Bennett, the program manager. In its first two years, it has served 5,000 students in 50 schools across the state, from Yarmouth on Cape Cod to Lee along the New York state border. What that means, however, is that the kits can be loaned out for just three weeks at a time. Because Chelsea had to return the kit before finishing the final lab, the students traveled to Harvard to complete it.“It is a tight schedule,” Bennett said. “These are big-ticket items whose cost is preventing teachers from introducing students to the [biotechnology] equipment.”The processes used in Thursday’s lab are standard in biotechnology, Bennett said, and can be used to get bacteria to produce biological products such as the red fluorescent protein — which is used to tag other molecules so scientists can track them — or important therapeutic substances such as insulin.Chelsea High School students Bahiya Nasuuna (left) and Jolena Gonzalez perform lab work with RFP-expressing bacteria inside Harvard’s Science Center.The students learn that science is sometimes messy and that experiments don’t always turn out as planned. In the labs, Puopolo said, students get hands-on experience that could give them a leg up in college or even help them land a biotech job out of high school.“They can say … ‘I can work with DNA or pour gels,’ ” Puopolo said. “There are so many jobs in biotech in the area.”Neris Yanes, a junior at Chelsea High, said she liked the lab work because it allowed her to participate rather than just listen. Bahiya Nasuuna, a senior, enjoyed the clear steps outlined in the lab and said science may be in her future.“Science is my favorite subject. I definitely want to pursue it in college,” Nasuuna said.last_img read more

SMC to host international film festival

first_imgThe Saint Mary’s Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership (CWIL) will host the World Cinema Festival from Jan. 27-Jan. 29 in Vander Vennet Theatre.Associate director of CWIL Mana Derakhshani said the College had offered a film festival to the community for over 10 years, beginning with a French film festival and transitioning to a variety of international films.Derakhshani said the film festival complements the work of the College to internationalize the campus.“[The festival] brings to campus major films from other countries that we don’t usually get to see in the U.S., particularly outside of a large metropolis such as New York or Chicago,” Derakhshani said. “In addition, screening foreign films on campus supports the larger college-wide learning outcomes of intercultural competence and global learning.”The festival will feature three films in their original languages, with English subtitles, over the course of three nights. Each film will start at 7 p.m., beginning with the Arabic-language film “Wadjda”, directed by Haifaa Al-Mansour on Tuesday. On Wednesday, “Queen”, a Hindi-language film directed by Vikas Bahl, will be screened. The festival will conclude with “So Young”, a Mandarin-language film directed by Wei Zhao.​Derakhshani said she hopes students will attend and learn something about the perspective of other cultures.“Films are windows into particular cultures and allow us to gain some understanding of certain aspects of these cultures,” she said.Derakhshani said viewing these films is a way to engage with the larger world and prepare oneself to interact with different cultures.She said there would be much in the films that differ from the realities of Saint Mary’s students, though there may be some experiences that are similar.“These three films specifically portray young women or girls’ quest for agency and voice in three different cultures and in three different contexts,” she said. “Noting both differences and similarities will increase the audience’s ability to encounter difference with an ethnorelative perspective rather than a judgmental ethnocentric attitude.“Seeing the world through someone else’s cultural lens helps us understand our own culture and norms better.”Two of the films are in languages taught at the College, Arabic and Mandarin, Derakhshani said.“I hope students learning these languages — or wanting to learn them — will come to hear the language in an authentic context,” she said.Derakhshani said she hopes many students will take advantage of the opportunity to watch the films. The event is free and open to the public.For the complete schedule and more information on the films, visit https://www.saintmarys.edu/news-events/news-releases/world-cinema-festival-2015.Tags: center for women’s intercultural leadership, Haifaa Al-Mansour, Mana Derakhshani, Saint Mary’s College, Vander Vennet Theatre, Vikas Bahl, Wei Zhao, World Cinema Festivallast_img read more

‘Pull the brake’: Unease as more than half of COVID-19 beds in Jakarta in use

first_imgAnies previously said in July that the administration had prepared 4,556 isolation beds and 659 ICU beds for COVID-19 patients, higher than the figures mentioned in the release.However, city officials also noted that the number of available ICU beds have shown a significant decrease due in part to reallocation to non-COVID-19 patients – entire ICU wards can be redesignated under such circumstances.National COVID-19 task force spokesperson Wiku Adisasmito said during a press briefing on Tuesday that the bed occupancy rate, which he referred to as bed utilization per month, stood at 66 percent in the capital.”There is still some buffer before we reach 80 percent; this is the [safe] bed occupancy rate that usually applies at hospitals, so they can carefully and promptly treat patients,” Wiku told reporters. As of Wednesday, the city recorded 27,863 confirmed cases, with 9,044 active cases and 981 deaths. Among the active cases, 2,714 patients are currently hospitalized. The hospitalized patients also include 1,221 suspected cases of COVID-19 and two probable cases.Jakarta Health Agency head Widyastuti said during a webinar on Aug. 6 that the capital was, at the moment, in a “very critical condition”, as more than half of the bed capacity was used on a daily basis.Read also: Jakarta still struggles with virus despite improved health facilities”We have to be alert. If we don’t improve our bed capacity – daily testing capacity can reach 5,000 specimens from the ones we conduct free of charge, in addition to the ones carried out by private labs – then [hospitals] can collapse, because there simply is not enough capacity,” she said.Data provided by Widyastuti during the webinar show that, from Aug. 1 to 4, the isolation bed occupancy rate stood at 58 percent and the ICU bed occupancy rate at 61 percent.On July 24, Anies said the isolation bed occupancy rate was at 44 percent and ICU bed occupancy rate at 32 percent. This meant ICU utilization almost doubled within less than two weeks.Widyastuti said the city had been improving its bed capacity to match its testing capacity as well as tracing efforts by community health centers.Jakarta had eight referral hospitals at the beginning of the pandemic and now had 67, she said, adding that the administration had further resorted to experts’ estimations to predict the number of cases it would see and the number of hospital beds as well as human resources it would need to prepare.As the city began to gradually reopen its economy since early June, the administration has ramped up testing capacity, reaching four times the benchmark set by the World Health Organization (WHO) of 1 test per 1,000 people per week.Officials have largely attributed the city’s soaring case number to this fact, in addition to its aggressive contact-tracing, although the positivity rate remained higher than the WHO suggestion of 5 percent, reaching 8.7 percent in the past week.Jakarta Health Agency data show that daily isolation bed occupancy rates in the city’s 67 referral hospitals began to gradually increase to around 50 percent after July 20.Before then, the rate had been fluctuating at around 25 percent since the beginning of May, with the ICU occupancy rate consistently higher than the isolation bed occupancy rate, although it mostly stayed below 50 percent.Read also: ‘It was too crowded’: Patients find it hard to get COVID-19 tests, treatmentIn March, peak occupancy across both bed categories reached 200 percent on some days. By May, peak occupancy had come down to 71 percent for isolation beds and 121 percent for ICU beds.The bed occupancy rate and length of stay in hospitals stood at 83.99 percent and 2.57 days, respectively, in March; 112 percent and 6.33 days in April; 43.06 percent and 7.68 days in May; 40.58 percent and 7.69 days in June and 45.20 percent and 7.06 days in July.The Jakarta administration decided on Thursday to once again extend its transition from large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) for another two weeks beginning on Friday. The city started the transition on July 5.Governor Anies in mid-July hinted at the possibility of the administration pulling “the emergency brake”, which would restore the stricter PSBB if cases continued to soar amid concerns of rising positivity rates. During PSBB, the city allowed only eight essential sectors to operate.University of Indonesia epidemiologist Tri Yunis Miko urged the administration to pull the brake now, before cases soared beyond the health care system’s capacity.Increasing the number of beds, while necessary to anticipate further spikes, was not the solution, he said, insisting that eliminating sources of transmission was key.”How many more beds do we need to add? Do we know how many cases we’ll see in the future? Testing is increasing, but we can’t guess the number of cases and how many of these cases will be severe. We can’t be sure of it, because it depends on the population,” he said on Thursday.He said that extending the transition phase was “like doing nothing”, with a tightening and easing of restrictions being done at the same time.Read also: Our health system’s capacity vs demand from large-scale social distancingReimposing the PSBB in full, however, was not an option, given the economic concerns of the government, Miko acknowledged. Even so, he suggested that the city reimpose stricter restrictions at lower levels of administration, such as districts and subdistricts.While doing this, the administration must also ensure that companies let employees work from home and distribute aid to those who may potentially lose their income, he said.Editor’s Note: Updated to include disclaimer by the Jakarta administration that reallocation of ICU wards for non-COVID-19 patients have also contributed to the sharp decline in available ICU beds in the capital. Jakarta is reaching a critical point in its fight against COVID-19 as it sees rising hospitalization of COVID-19 patients, prompting concerns that it would have to increase its healthcare capacity and reimpose stricter curbs.Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan said in a press release late on Thursday that 65 percent of 4,456 isolation beds and 67 percent of 483 intensive care unit (ICU) beds designated for COVID-19 patients were now occupied.”In the past two weeks, there has been a trend of increasing isolation and ICU room [occupation] in Jakarta. […] The [occupancy rates] have varied over a month, ranging from 40 to 50 percent in July,” Anies said.center_img Topics :last_img read more

AquaTrojans Middle School Swimmers Continue Winning Ways

first_imgFor the second time this season, The AquaTrojans of SDMS took on the Bengals from Greendale MS in a dual swim meet. Same results as before. The boys won 118-58 and the girls won 129-49.Individual winners include:  Grace Crane-200 Free, 100 Free; Jackson Ketcham-200 Free, 100 Free; Ray Krider-200 IM, 100 FlyMackenzie Schantz-50 Free, 100 Fly; Matthew Badinghaus-50 Free, 100 Breaststroke; Ally McGuire-1 meter diving; Kennidi Green-500 Freestyle; Jayme Pennington-100 Backstroke; Jacob Nixon-100 Backstroke; and Jordan Marro-100 Breaststroke.Great job AquaTrojans!!!Courtesy of AquaTrojans Coach Brandon Loveless.last_img read more

Dornsife/LA Times poll asks voters about high-speed rail

first_imgIn a recently released USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences/Los Angeles Times poll, seven out of 10 voters said they wanted another opportunity to vote on California’s high-speed rail project.From SoCal to NorCal · The high-speed rail project would connect Southern California with Northern California, linking the two areas through the Central Valley. A one-way trip would cost about $120. – Uracha Chaiyapinunt | Daily TrojanIf the rail is built, the train will be 520 miles long, linking the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles through the Central Valley. Traveling on the train between these cities would cost about $120 one way and would take approximately two hours and 40 minutes.“Even though it would theoretically take longer than a plane, I usually choose trains over planes because they’re more relaxing and simpler, and you don’t have to get to the station as early as you would if you were taking a plane,” said Anna Skelsey, a freshman majoring in theater.California has dedicated $9 billion to the $68 billion project  to build the high-speed rail and, according to the poll, 51 percent of voters agreed that the money should be used elsewhere, though 45 percent believed it was well spent. Fifty-two percent believed that the government should stop the bullet train project completely.Some voters did feel, however, that the high-speed rail could be beneficial to transportation. Sixty-one percent said that a high-speed rail would decrease the amount of traffic on highways and at airports. Sixty-five percent also thought that this project would create new jobs, in contrast to only 32 percent who disagreed.Voters also answered a question on Tesla founder Elon Musk’s “Hyperloop” plan. According to Musk, the Hyperloop would consist of pressurized capsules being driven though a tube by electric motors.About 75 percent of voters claimed to know “little or nothing” about the Hyperloop, compared to 26 percent who claimed to know “a lot or some” about it.Fifty-five percent of voters said they would take the Hyperloop over any other mode of transportation, though 13 percent said they would rather take a high-speed train. In contrast to the high-speed rail, Musk claims that the Hyperloop would cost $20 for a one-way, 30-minute trip between San Francisco and Los Angeles.“I like being able to see nature and various other sites when I’m in a train,” said Pedraam Mirzanian, an undecided freshman. “You don’t get that if you’re in a plane or if you’re going really fast in a Hyperloop.”The USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll was conducted between Sept. 18 and 24. It polled 1,500 registered California voters. Follow Alexandria on Twitter @alimar18last_img read more

DARTS NEWS: SOUTH WEST DONEGAL DARTS LEAGUE

first_imgSouth West Donegal DartsHolders Roartys started off the season with a big 9-1 win in O’Donnell’s, John Con beat Andrew Gillespie in the first match which is worth two points 3-2 with John hitting an 118 checkout and a 180, Kilcar House had a winning return to the league with a 7-3 win over Big Francies, Raymond Hegarty beat Mike Naulty 3-1 in the opening singles match which put the home side 5-0 up and finally in Cashel, Glenhead had a good opening night win over The Bridge Bar 7-3 was the final score also in this match.Week One Results Glenhead 7-3 Bridge BarKilcar House 7-3 Big FranciesO’Donnell’s 1-9 RoartysCope House Bye Week TwoFriday 12th OctoberBridge Bar v Kilcar HouseBig Francies v O’Donnell’sSaturday Cope House v GlenheadRoartys ByeSaturday 20th October tournament in Big Francies, Ardara details next week.DARTS NEWS: SOUTH WEST DONEGAL DARTS LEAGUE was last modified: October 7th, 2012 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:South West Donegal Darts Leaguelast_img read more