Science Forward Fall 2017

Dr. Edyta Greer, Macaulay Honors College, Fall 2017

Author: David Chung Loo

Blog Post 3: Final Reflection

When I first learned about the three science senses  that were repeatedly mentioned in the course, I was not really thrilled to use it. Eventually, I realized these senses are simply angles of looking at events in our lives. When dealing with numbers, we use our number sense. When describing observations, we can use data sense. When we try to form conclusions or speculations, we can use knowledge sense. All these perspectives help us build a framework around our course as we learn that science is closely tied to our lives.

We learned this message again when we worked on the health innovation. As we tried to come up with innovations or alternate uses of existing products, we tried to address issues affecting people or our families. What was interesting in this project that took a few months was that we made use of 3D printing. I personally love using 3D printing. The project taught us how to use Tinkercad–something we can add on our resume–and taught us to not give up when our ideas are turned down. It also taught us to consider designs in a scientific perspective; it needs to be plausible and helpful. When attending the STEAM festival, I thought about how I panicked during the beginning of the semester and how surprised I was when I was there. I actually made it with a working, approved design.

Although I enjoyed the course overall, I did not really find the Bioblitz very consistent with the flow of the course. It appears to just be an assignment forced in by Macaulay (this may be true). Then again, going out to visit nature is a fun experience, though it could be better incorporated.

Besides all the educational aspects, what I enjoyed most about this class were the aspirin and soap lab, as well as, the “That Chemistry Show.” Because the first lab involved a lab report, I enjoyed the second lab more. I haven’t been in a lab since high school. Following instructions, watching everyone fail to produce pure aspirin, cleaning up the lab utensils, and getting to the 8th floor when it was almost 2:30PM were all events that lead to a calm, enjoyable environment. The Chemistry show was quite fun to watch. However, I was disappointed because not everyone went. Compared to the previous IDC courses, IDC 4001H lacked the group outings that made each visit to places better.

Finally, thank you Dr. Greer and Jake for being lenient, critical, friendly and understanding!

Pill Dissolver – Updated Draft (Amanda Zhang, David Mashkevich, David Chung Loo)

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Blog Post 2: Response to Lab Reports

Doing a lab in school exposes students to the idea of experimentation. When students prepare materials, follow procedures, observe and record data, and reach conclusions, they learn about the world and different approaches to exploring nature. Not only does it serve a pedagogical purpose, it also increases students’ interests in the class. Reading textbooks and listening to lectures might not be enough to keep students’ attention because the material could be boring. However, when students are brought to a lab and get to doing experiments, it gives students a new experience. In addition, doing labs converts ideas, principles, and the theories into practical use. I would hope to understand the world better with doing labs rather than being told through reading others’ work.

In a non-specialist science course, labs are not necessary because there are other methods to teach. Videos, projects, and presentations are useful. That is not to say we should not have labs. Having labs would be fun to have and it might help explain concepts. Compared to a specialist science course, non-specialist science course focuses on specific uses of science. In our case, IDC 3002H focuses a lot on medication innovations and collection of data. “Lab” in non-science courses would be specific to the courses in question. A history course might have a field trip to an important historical location for the lab. It might be an emulation of historical events, like the Boston Tea Party. An American literature course might have a play for the lab. Romeo and Juliet or Julius Caesar could be lab events. I consider anything that allows students to explore the material personally and physically to be equivalent to a lab.

When assembling a report for a lab, using the same style of academic writing for an English or history class would raise the question about what type of information is needed. In an English class, a reflection of feelings might be appropriate, but not for a scientific report. The latter should include procedures and writing about errors. In a history class, chronological order of events might be useful, but it lacks the data recorded in a scientific report. Finally, the structure of the lab report makes it different from an English essay or history essay. A scientific lab report has sections that contain different information. The essays are usually coherent bodies, which make essays different from lab reports.

Lab reports are based on experiments, but in a school setting, it is rare for experiments to be novel. Usually, experiments published by other scientists are reused and students observe results of previously completed experiments. I hope that students will design their own experiments and enjoy the pleasure of doing something original.

Pill Dissolver: Annotated Bibliography

Popular Source:

Ellin, Abby. 2015. “Can’t Swallow a Pill? There’s Help for That.” New York Times, September 21. Accessed October 22, 2017.

Abby Ellin is a journalist and author who writes for many publications, including: The New York Times, Time, New York, and others. She has a BS in communications and writes a variety of topics, from healthcare to travels.

In this article, she writes about the issue of taking medications in two forms: liquid solution or pills. Ellin writes that some children and adults experience anxiety and negative associations with swallowing a pill. She introduces various solutions, which include taking liquid medications and using a specialized pill-swallowing cup; “The cup is filled with fluid, and the pill is placed in a reservoir so the liquid and the pill mix in the mouth” (Ellin, 2015). Some other solutions include leaning back and imaging a slide when swallowing and rolling up a bread with the pill inside and swallow. Building off this source, my group decides to make a cup that not only becomes a reservoir for the pill, but completely turns the pill into liquid. Using this source, our group can build off pre-existing ideas and see an impression of why our innovation is necessary.


Academic Source:

Liu, Fang, Sejal Ranmal, Hannah K. Batchelor, Mine Orlu-Gul, Terry B. Ernest, Iwan W. Thomas, Talia Flanagan, and Catherine Tuleu. 2014. “Patient-Centred Pharmaceutical Design to Improve Acceptability of Medicines: Similarities and Differences in Paediatric and Geriatric Populations.” Drugs 74, no. 16 (October 2): 1871-1889. Accessed October 22, 2017. doi:  10.1007/s40265-014-0297-2.

Fang Liu is the primary author of the academic journal article. She is a Senior Lecturer in Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery. She joined University of Hertfordshire in 2009 as a Lecturer in Clinical Pharmaceutics. Her research interests include gastrointestinal targeting, development of age-appropriate formulations, and investigating medication management. She published her works in over 10 peer reviewed journals and she co-authors a book on polymers for oral drug delivery.

In this article, Liu describes the idea of various designs of oral medicines that correspond to different age groups. The taste, smell, viscosity of liquid or shape of pills are all considerations to the oral medications. It also has research on the acceptability of oral medicines among different age group, referencing to children, adolescence, and even adults’ inability to swallow pills. She concludes that children and older adults have similar difficulties to swallow pills, which can be solved through taking other medications like liquid formulations or covering pills with a gelatin of better taste (MedCoat). From her research, I learned that most researchers are trying to make pills more accepted instead of finding ways to administer liquid formulations. When I read this, I realized that our innovation might not be deemed necessary for most age groups because they prefer pills and tablets. As a result, this article helps me to be more specific with the age groups. I have to consider specifications for children and elderly.


Preis, Maren. 2015. “Orally Disintegrating Films and Mini-Tablets—Innovative Dosage Forms of Choice for Pediatric Use.” AAPS PharmSciTech 16, no. 2 (March 5): 234-241. Accessed October 22, 2017. doi:  10.1208/s12249-015-0313-1.

Maren Preis is a researcher at Åbo Akademi University. She researched and wrote about Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Technology, Drug Delivery Systems, and Pharmaceutical formulation. She has a PhD in Anesthetics, Pediatrics, and Pharmacy.

This article focuses on aspects that affect the administration of oral drugs. Preis reiterates the importance of dosage form. For children, swallowing pills can be difficult.  Because these pills are designed with various considerations like the time of digestion, leaving pills in children’s mouth not swallowed can be problematic. Therefore, she describes the use of pills and tablets that can quickly disintegrated in one’s mouth as a potential promising medication. This would solve the problem of children being unable to swallow their medications. When I read this article, I find that this guideline has similar effects to our innovation. Our innovation does the disintegration for children while Preis talks about pills that are easily disintegrating. What I learn from this article is the existence of this new framework approved by FDA for the purpose of making better medicines for children. Learning this would solve the problem of finding some mixtures that can quickly disintegrate medicines. These mixtures would be placed in our pill dissolver. After a pill is placed in the pill dissolver, users would shake the pill dissolver and the mixtures would disintegrate the pill.

Lophophora williamsii


Image source:

Lophophora williamsii is also called a peyote. It is a small, spineless cactus found in southern Texas and northern Mexico. It contains mescaline and hordenine. Peyote has small disc-shaped buttons that grow on top of the roots. People harvest these buttons and roll them into balls to keep in capsules, grind as powder or serve in hot tea. Ingesting the drug would cause hallucinogenic effect like alteration of perception, muscle tension, nausea, and vomiting. Because of this, sale and production of peyote for recreational use is illegal. Mescaline, as mentioned earlier, is the main psychoactive compound found in peyote. This is a naturally occurring alkaloid that can activate serotonin receptor and stimulate dopamine receptors. Other than the hallucination effects, peyote has been used to treat fever, joint pain, paralysis, fractures, wounds and snakebites.



Poster Idea: Neo-Transparent Film Dressings

About two months ago, my father suffered a puncture in his calves. After applying anti-bacterial medication, my father wrapped the wound with clean, white cloths. A few weeks later, the wound is still present. After seeing the doctor, my father returned with gauze wound dressings. As of right now, the injury is still present. Although it is a simple wound, I am dissatisfied at how long the wound is taking to cure. Every week, my father would go to the hospital to have the dressings taken off and then put back on. Although my father is not complaining, I feel tired imagining this situation.

To change this situation, maybe the doctor should use transparent film dressing. This product helps easily monitor injuries without having to change dressings repeatedly. However, transparent film dressing is not without precaution. For wound with inflammations, such product should not be used. The idea to improve this situation is a new type of transparent film dressing that would be applicable to different types of injuries. To approach this, researching different companies that produce transparent film dressing and different scientists who specialized in external injuries might be helpful.

Blog Post 1: Response to Science Article

Reading “The New Mystery – Maybe Miracle – Drug” gives a strong contrast to modern New York Times article. I find the article to be really long. I was thinking “If this is the popular article, then how long is the journal article.” Compared to modern science popular articles that I read, this 1971 article contains thorough evidence and higher level complexity. I can see many instances of knowledge sense and data sense, when the author describes the research and its importance. I see number sense when the author shows the level of success in the induction of labor or abortion. I liked the fact that the statistical data is not overwhelming, but just enough to see the function of prostaglandins. The many findings and questions seem to leave the question unanswered, leading to stronger interests. As described in the article, research is not simple finding, but an exploration through facts that can last many years and through the hands of other scientists. An example of what I mean is Professor Ulf S. von Euler encouraging a younger colleague to continue his work.

Looking at the placement of the molecular drawings and images of scientists, I find that the pictures correspond to the text rather than appear as a chronology of history. Mentioning Dr. Sultan H. M. Karim, a scientist who studied the hormone in the 1960s first, Galton establishes why is this hormone worth the research. The next two scientists who had pictures printed on this article are Professor Ulf S. von Euler and Professor Sune Bergstrom. Both scientists made major contribution to prostaglandins, but one was from the 1930s and the other from the 1950s. While both scientists were before Dr. Karim, Galton chooses to present them after. His decision to do might be that Galton wants to present a path of discovery rather than facts. Overlapping scientists from different time is used to help convey the idea that through many years of research, the pieces of the puzzle are built one by one, leading to a product waiting to be changed up again. In this way, the author writes using a less fixed structure, opting for a structure where he can add more connections and research evidence. This story-telling style makes the article more interesting to read. The information and facts provided becomes details that enrich the main idea, rather than being burdensome.

After reading this article I realized that I underestimated the abilities of the freelance writers of New York Times. If the level of requirements for popular articles today is the same as that of 1970s, then the level of information in each article is worth a read.

Paraphrasing Exercise

School nurses are responsible for children’s health and safety. Children who are allergic to epinephrine should receive the correct treatment. However, school nurses have to contemplate over both the medical instructions provided by the children’s health care providers and the rules and guidelines provided by school district and the American Academy of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology. While the nurses waver over the two, treatment for children are often delayed, leading to severe harms like anaphylaxis and “severe reactions with epinephrine” (Wahl et al. 2015, 97). It would help for the school nurses to be familiar with the possible treatments, including the use of EpiPens.



Wahl, Ann, Hilary Stephens, Mark Ruffo, and Amanda L. Jones. 2015. “The Evaluation of a Food Allergy and Epinephrine Autoinjector Training Program for Personnel Who Care for Children in Schools and Community Settings.” Journal of School Nursing 31, no. 2: 91-98. doi: 10.1177/1059840514526889.

Scientists Want to Turn our Gut Bacteria into Medicine.

Popular article:

Maldarelli, Claire. 2017. “Scientists want to turn our gut bacteria into medicine.” Popular Science, August 31. Accessed September 5, 2017.


Primary source:

Cohen, Louis J., Daria Esterhazy, Seong-Hwan Kim, Christophe Lemetre, Rhiannon R. Aguilar, Emma A. Gordon, Amanda J. Pickard, et al. 2017. “Commensal bacteria make GPCR ligands that mimic human signalling molecules.” Nature 549, no. 7670 (September 7): 48-53. Accessed September 5, 2017. doi:10.1038/nature23874.

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