Science Forward Fall 2017

Dr. Edyta Greer, Macaulay Honors College, Fall 2017

Author: Amanda Zhang

Blog Entry 3: Reflection

Throughout the semester, we engaged in several events, projects, and assignments.  There were some that I found interesting and meaningful while others I felt like it wasn’t very useful or well integrated into the class.  The Bio Blitz was a good opportunity to work with the other Macaulay students from the different campuses and enjoy nature, which most of us don’t really have the time for anymore.  However, the Bio Blitz report that we had to do with the data that was collected from our Bio Blitz felt random in the context of our course at the time and I felt like it interrupted the flow of the course.  I think it was good to challenge us to somehow interpret the large amounts of data and display it, but in the end I don’t think it wasn’t helpful outside of the Bio Blitz.

I enjoyed the 3-D printing health care innovation project.  If it weren’t for this class, I wouldn’t have been introduced to designing on the Tinker cad website or 3-D printing, which is a widely-used technology in a variety of industries today.  I’ve always been fascinated by 3-D printing so I appreciated the workshops we had and the actual demonstration of a 3-D printer at work.  I also thought that the STEAM Festival was a good experience.  I enjoyed seeing other Macaulay students’ works and posters that they worked hard on throughout this semester.  It was also nice to have others talking to me and group about our project and it was clear that many people were genuinely interested in our design.

Overall, I liked the many different things we got to experience in this IDC course.  It was an array of activities and projects that made this class interesting.  I also enjoyed the two labs we did at the end of the semester where we had the opportunity to do some hands-on experiments.  It was a nice way to wrap up the semester in which we experienced technology and chemistry.

Blog Entry 2: Thinking About Lab

I think that the purpose of doing a lab in school is to gain a better understanding of what we’re learning in class and see it hands on.  Applying the knowledge we learned from class and applying it in a lab helps to reinforce our ability to see and analyze it from different perspectives.  Even though students aren’t usually the ones who design the experiment and there’s an expected result for the lab, I still think that the labs are pedagogically useful.  There should be an expected result that everyone should get because successful experiments have to be able to replicated and the results should generally be the same.  There’s usually a purpose in a lab, and if the result of the experiment isn’t the expected one, it would contradict what the student learned in class and it wouldn’t help in reinforcing the knowledge for students.  Of course, there’s always room for error in experiments so in that case, students will learn that repeating experiments would help in achieving accuracy and a common consensus.  So they’ll always learn from their “errors.”

Labs aren’t exactly necessary for a non-specialist course like ours, but it would definitely be helpful.  Doing these labs would help us see what real world scientists do and it would allow us to see the importance of what we learn in class.  For the synthesis of an aspirin lab, I hope to gain a better understanding of how the production of an aspirin works and how chemicals are able to combine to create a common drug.  It’s always rewarding to see a process to the end and get the expected result of an experiment.  If it isn’t the expected result, it’s a great learning experience.  A “lab” in a non-science course would be similar to a science lab.  It would have the same criteria of testing something to see if it would achieve the expected result.  For example, for a history course, a lab could consist of something like testing an event in history by compiling research from numerous reputable sources to attain a final conclusion.  You wouldn’t be able to use the same academic style of writing for an English or history class for a science lab report because in science there are components that aren’t relevant to other subjects.  Science is based a lot on data and observations as well as use of mathematical concepts.  Science is also always dynamic and there’s no right or wrong answer so a hypothesis and the conclusion of a lab report may differ from experimenter to experimenter.  Science lab reports are very straightforward and there can’t be any assumptions made that aren’t based on real data or observations.

Pill Dissolver Annotated Bibliography

Annotated Bibliography

Peer Reviewed Article

Lopez, Felipe L, et al. “Formulation Approaches to Pediatric Oral Drug Delivery: Benefits and Limitations of Current Platforms.” Expert Opinion on Drug Delivery, Informa Healthcare, 2 Nov. 2015,

This discussed the importance for correct dosages especially for infants and children.  It’s necessary to take into account the processing and manufacturing of a device to more adequately deliver the correct dosages of medicine to pediatrics.  Some recent advances in the oral delivery system of medicine is the liquid dosage form and solid dosage form, with a device such as the “pill swallowing cup.”  This would be helpful in giving us ideas on how we should create an efficient pill swallower device by understanding the devices already out there in the market.


Peer Reviewed Article

Edelbi, R El, et al. “In Situ Coating Makes It Easier for Children to Swallow and Tolerate Tablets and Capsules.” Acta Paediatrica (Oslo, Norway : 1992), John Wiley and Sons Inc., 9 June 2015,

The authors discuss an in situ coating introduced by MedCoat.  Children especially have a hard time swallowing tablets and pills, so the purpose of the in situ coating is to disguise the unpleasant taste of the medicine.  The in situ coating is comprised of things like gelatin, sugar and maltitol syrup.  This can be helpful because it would give us different ideas on how to create our pill dissolver device and what would be effective and ineffective.


Reputable Source Article

Scott, Clare. “University of Michigan Adapts Electronics Manufacturing Technology to 3D Print Medicine.” 3DPrint.Com | The Voice of 3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing, 3DR Holdings LLC, 28 Sept. 2017,

The article talks about how 3D printing has the capabilities of printing out pills with the correct dosages in such a form as a dissolvable strip.  It goes through the process that the 3D printer goes through to print this kind of drug.  It highlights that this could make it much easier for patients and doctors to be administered with the right amount of doses for medicine.  This article is helpful because it shows how the 3D printing technology can make it easier for individuals to effectively take their medication, whether it be the right dosage or that it be ingested more easily.

Digitalis Purpurea

Digitalis Purpurea, also known as common foxglove, is a flowering plant located in woods, meadows and fields throughout mainly Europe, specifically Western Europe.  Digitalis is the component that contains digitoxin which is a cardiac lycoside.  The plant is toxic if ingested, however the digitoxin compound is extracted to be used as a medication for heart conditions.


Download (PPTX, 18.81MB)

Poster Presentation Idea

An important health care issue is Alzheimer’s disease in which most that do have it start experiencing the symptoms when they reach around sixty years old.  It’s a form of dementia that occurs in the elderly and it’s also a progressive disease because it gradually increases memory loss, among others.  There is no cure for this disease.  However, there are definitely medications that can ease the symptoms temporarily.  There are numerous things that can be improved for people with Alzheimer’s currently in the health field.  There are innovations that can be created to make their lives easier and more accessible.  Companies in the technology field can play a huge role in helping people with Alzheimer’s, especially assisting them with their memory loss and minimizing the trauma that comes with it.  Devices can be made specifically for those with Alzheimer’s to assist them in their daily lives so that the effect of the disease is reduced drastically.

Blog Entry 1

After reading the article “The New Mystery-Maybe Miracle-Drug,” I realized that although it was definitely a lot more scientific than a New York Times article we’d see today, I enjoyed reading it.  I think the author did a great job in writing a really comprehensive article on prostaglandins and all its possible uses as well as descriptions of past research and a basic history of the research’s beginnings.  At first, I thought that the article was not a good article for general readership because I felt that it was too scientific in both the terminology and excessive explanations of scientists and their findings with this compound.  But after I finished reading it, I understood the bigger picture of the article and it seems to me that the main purpose of the author writing it was to inform readers of this exciting, pioneering compound that could potentially solve many health issues.  The author never asserted that prostaglandins could actually solve these health issues, and he was clear that these implicated uses are still in progress being researched.

I compared the way Lawrence Galton wrote his article to the author of the article that I did for my Hot Topic presentation. Galton wrote his article in a way that I don’t really see much in today’s New York Times articles- it was extremely detailed with information that doesn’t seem fit for just anyone to read.  This isn’t necessarily a good or bad thing.  The author of the article that I did for my Hot Topic presentation seemed to sensationalize the findings from the research it was reporting about and hadn’t done a good job in being clear about the research.  It was definitely written for general readership because everything was put in very simple terms.  Galton, on the other hand, although he did use scientific jargon that not an everyday reader would understand, he did a thorough job of including plenty of background information to lay the foundation for his reporting on prostaglandins.  By doing so, it gives the readers a better understanding of this new initiative that could potentially solve many health issues at the time.  He did however include unnecessary information such as the diagram of the molecule and other seemingly trivial information about prostaglandins.  But overall, I think that Galton’s writing style did a good job to effectively present his reporting in a comprehensive manner.

Paraphrase Exercise

School nurses across the country have to reconcile health care providers’ specific emergency action plan for their patients with the school standards and the “American Academy of Asthma, Allergy, and Immunology guidelines.”  The differences between the two can create confusion and risk in nurses not using the appropriate treatment for its students.  School nurses have the special position of being able to work with both health care providers and parents of students in determining a treatment option (Wahl et al. 2015, 97).

Oral Contraceptives Tied to Lower Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk

Oral Contraceptives Tied to Lower Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk

Bakalar, Nicholas. 2017. Oral Contraceptives Tied to Lower Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk.” The New York Times (August 23). Accessed September 04, 2017.

Oral contraceptives, breastfeeding and the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis: results from the Swedish EIRA study

Orellana, Cecilia, Saedis Saevarsdottir, Lars Klareskog, Elizabeth W. Karlson, Lars Alfredsson, and Camilla Bengtsson. 2017. “Oral contraceptives, breastfeeding and the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis: results from the Swedish EIRA study.Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases 21, no. 1620 (August 17): 1-9. Accessed September 4, 2017. doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2017-211620.