Science Forward Fall 2017

Dr. Edyta Greer, Macaulay Honors College, Fall 2017

Author: Alvin Kissoon

Blog Post 3

I enjoyed the STEAM Fest it was really fun and interesting seeing other students projects and interacting with students from other Macaulay campuses as well as younger classes. Furthermore, showcasing our own projects also had it’s own merits in speaking about the things we did throughout the semester and the work we put in to get our finished products. BioBlitz itself was very fun for me, the data and information not so much, I didn’t quite understand it myself and would have liked if we went over it in more depth in the class. I didn’t feel like the science senses were a good framework for the course because we didn’t really use them all that much, it was just an idea we had that we would throw in here and there and show how it applied. I enjoyed the 3D printing experience, that was a really fun part of the course and I loved how it was incorporated. The website was mostly used to submit assignments, the tutorials were also helpful from time to time, a reminder that assignments are due would be nice like a timer, because I tend to not check the website very often. Overall, I enjoyed the course I just wish we had more time for Dr. Greer’s science experiments those were my favorite parts of the course.

Blog Entry 2

The purpose of doing a lab in school is to have a hands on experience of the things we read about and how they work. It is useful that a lab is in a controlled environment with an expected result because it gives you the ability to know that you performed the lab correctly. Furthermore, if you did perform the lab incorrectly it gives you steps to take to redo the lab to find out where you went wrong. I don’t feel like labs are necessary for non specialist science courses because we’re more getting an overview of the topic rather than performing it in a sense, however, it is still useful in allowing us to see the practical side of that topic. From this lab experience I hope to be able to see the chemicals reacting and the different procedures and overall I just hope to see the process of creating a drug. A lab in a non science course would be any practical experience for example in a Law class it would be a case study, or in history maybe an archaeological hunt, some sort of hands on experience. You can’t use the same style of writing in a lab as you would in other types of writing because the specific sections serve different purpose in the lab and as such need to be divided up and written about separately.

Taxus brevifolia

Taxus brevifolia otherwise known as Pacific yew or Western yew is a conifer and originates from the Pacific Northwest of North America. The chemotheraphy drug paclitaxel (taxol) is derived from Pacific Yew. This is the most well known cancer drug and the molecule important in the fight against cancer is 10-deacetyl-baccatin III.  Pacific Yew was already scarce when its potential to fight against cancer was discovered and as a result scientists not derive the taxol needed to fight cancer from close relatives of the plant.


A growing problem in our society is the increased spread of STDs. I think a great method for prevention and increased awareness would be a personal test. Similar to a blood sugar test where one you make a prick in your finger and test your blood. This device would analyze your blood and look for markers for specific STDs. This could help people be more safe, by not only having themselves tested but by making sure their partners don’t have STDs as well.

The Miracle Drug

The article was very well written and I loved how the author included a lot of background information as well as conclusive data. It’s format was a little difficult for me to read and took a second to adjust to. Overall I think the writing style of the article was very informative, it gave the right amount of information. It provided a good balance between being statistical and being brief and so that it kept the readers attention without getting too technical. This article’s limited but skillful use of numbers was great in bringing about the importance of this new drug.

I felt as though the article included the molecular drawings because they were a key aspect of the research. Since it took nearly “five years” to come up with the exact structure, it is a proud show case of the researchers work. In addition, it could prove as a means of incentive for other researchers familiar with the drugs, but maybe with different names to conduct research as well.

An article like this might not be in the Times today due it’s detailed information on the research and scientific facts. Many articles today are brief, and in a sense click bait, intended to get the viewers attention. However, I find that more articles like this are needed, for the simple reason while it was lengthy, it was very informative. I actually enjoyed reading this article due to its balance of technical and relatively relevant information. The article kept the readers attention because of the things they could benefit from it while doing a very good job of relaying the hard scientific information that it took to get to these “benefits”.


Paraphrase Excercise

Studies have found that those who work with children should be trained by a nurse on how to react in case of an allergic reaction. This can lead to “increased knowledge about food allergies” and allow in the prevention and quick action upon them (Wahl et al. 2015,97). The study found that often times measures were in place to react to food allergies however treatment was delayed for a variety of reasons. As such, nurses should have the time to train all professionals working with children on how to respond.

Breast-Feeding May Lower Risk of Endometriosis

Popular Article:

Breast-Feeding May Lower Risk of Endometriosis

Bakalar, Nicholas. 2017 “Breast-Feeding May Lower Risk of Endometriosis.” The New York Times. (August 30) Accessed 6 Sept. 2017.

Primary Source:

History of breast feeding and risk of incident endometriosis: prospective cohort study

Farland, Leslie V, et al. 2017 “History of breast feeding and risk of incident endometriosis: prospective cohort study.” BMJ, 358 (August 29). Accessed 6 Sept. 2017.