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2005 RET Participant Michelle Bell

Michelle Bell
Gallatin High School
Chemistry/Physical Science/Anatomy and Physiology

Professor: Dr. Todd Giorgio
Adam Smith- mentor
Nanotechnology Lab

I spent my time in Dr. Giorgio's lab working on a project for Adam Smith. The overall project involved placing a polyethylene glycol (PEG) on a quantum dot in order to eventually use the quantum dots in a more cancer cell specific treatment for cancer. My project was to find the smallest percentage of agarose gel that could be made in order to run the quantum dot through agarose gel electrophoresis. The problem with making a gel of low agarose concentration is that the gel is less likely to hold together. After much trial and error the correct percentage was found. It was also discovered that the smallest percentage of agarose could only be used by running the gel on ice. In addition I checked many samples for PEG attachment by running the samples on a fluorimeter. I prepared a standard curve of know concentrations and then used this to find the concentrations of the unknown samples.

My curriculum module deals with preparing a standard curve and then assessing the concentration of an unknown sample, This was accomplished by proposing a situation to students in which they are told their favorite brand of peanut butter is contaminated with Aflatoxin B1. They were asked what this may mean to their overall health. In the course of the module students had a competition as to who can bring in the oldest peanut butter. We then ran a lab where they are given a sample that is suppose to represent their contaminated peanut butter. They then analyze the results to assess their overall health risk due to the contamination . The unit also highlights the profession of biomedical engineering .