Science Forward Fall 2017

Dr. Edyta Greer, Macaulay Honors College, Fall 2017

Author: David Mashkevich

Blog Entry 3 (David Mashkevich)

Going into the course at the beginning of the year, I wasn’t sure what to expect, as I had previously taken only introductory science courses, and only in high school. I have to say that starting the year off with BioBlitz was not what I expected. Even though the event was put together well and I enjoyed interacting with students from other CUNY colleges, I thought that the data collected was pretty straightforward and would have preferred to see a more in-depth study of a certain organism or species. Perhaps with that, other groups would have been able to present their findings at a follow-up Macaulay event.

However, the STEAM festival was quite the opposite. I think the chance to be creative within science was well taken by the class and we presented some of the best work at the festival. The event and presentation seems fitting because science has become increasingly innovative, which is driven by creativity. Such an opportunity is therefore valuable, because it can help students realize their potential for careers within science. I also thought the course made great use of the 3D printing available at Baruch, as this made our projects very practical and real, as compared to other classes that may have put together numerical analyses.

Lastly, I thought that the use of ePortfolios was well integrated into the course and made submitting assignments simple and straightforward throughout the semester. Knowing all of the assignment deadlines made it easy for me to plan out my work ahead of time, to prevent from falling behind. This became especially important when we had several parallel projects to work on – I think it really helped ensure that we completed all of the work that was required for the course. Thank you again for a great semester everyone!



Blog Post 2

What sets science apart from other areas/fields of study is that it stresses equal value on both the results and process of a sequence. In an experiment, these is a specific set of steps to follow to stress a correct way of doing something. Your thinking in an experiment has to be methodical and sequential, with each step of the procedure leading to the next, eventually culminating in some sort of result. The process in this setup must be controlled because any deviance from it can lead to altered or flawed results that are not easily replicated. The procedure in any given lab procedure is outlined in detail because for something to be accepted in the scientific community, it must be replicable using a unique sequence. Thus, unlike other academic writing that can include elaborate prose and figurative language, lab reports must be written in a coherent, concise and detailed manner, because their purpose eliminate potential error from those duplicating the experiment.

Personally, I feel that the purpose of doing a lab in school is to experience the practical applications of science concepts taught in the classroom. Students retain information better when through experiences and “doing” rather than just listening and writing, so the practical aspects of a lab certainly help students better understand the science that they have been learning. This is especially important for students taking non-specialist courses – where it is important to thoroughly understand and retain the building blocks of science. Conducting lab experiments in non-specialist science classes allow students to leave the class knowing the fundamental importance of scientific results and research, given that they themselves participated in the scientific process. This is precisely what I seem to gain from our upcoming labs – a stronger understanding and retention of scientific concepts through the experience of actually conducting the experiment.

Pill Dissolver – Draft Slide

Download (PPTX, 2.35MB)

Annotated Bibliography – Pill Dissolver

Academic Source 1:

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

This article was published in Volume 16, issue no. 2 of AAPS PharmSciTech, the peer-reviewed online journal of The American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists. The journal publishes pharmaceutical news related to the research, development and evaluation of pharmaceutical dosage forms and delivery systems.

The text initially provides background on oral administration of medication, stating that it has long been preferred because it is non-invasive. The article then proceeds to discuss new research conducted for the development of new forms of pediatric medicines, while stating that the findings can be widely interpreted. The research referenced in this article mentions that increasing usage of orally disintegrating films and tablets, especially small-sized tablets may be appropriate for the administration of pediatric medicine, pending licensing and approval. Overall, enhancements to the administration of pediatric medicine are necessary, but only if they are subject to proper regulation and review.


Academic Source 2:

van Riet-Nales, Diana, Alfred F A M Schobben, Herman Vromans, Toine C G Egberts, Carin M A Rademakers. 2016. “Safe and effective pharmacotherapy in infants and preschool children: importance of formulation aspects.” Archives of Disease in Childhood 101. no. 7 (March 15): 662-669. Accessed October 22, 2017. doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2015-308227

This article was published in Volume 101, issue no. 7 of Archives of Disease in Childhood, an international peer review journal that aims to inform pediatricians about various advances in the diagnosis and treatment of childhood diseases.

The text discusses the current methods of oral ingestion of medication for newborns and infants, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each. One trend the article points out is that there has been a general increase in the attention that is paid to the specific form that pediatric medication takes. Moreover, the older a child gets, the more tolerant that child becomes to larger tablets meant to dissolve in the stomach rather than the mouth. The study also found that there is evidence to suggest that children prefer mini-tablets rather than a powder, suspension or syrup. Lastly, the article discusses the potential for the administration of medicine through orodispersible films – a tablet designed to disintegrate in the patient’s mouth.


Popular Source:

Gray, Richard. 2014. “Just a spoonful of water: doctors find best method for swallowing pills.” The Guardian. November 10. Accessed October 22, 2017.

This article was written in 2014 by Richard Gray, a science journalist with 15 years of experience writing about various topics in the field. He studied biochemistry at the University of Edinburgh prior to being a journalist.

Gray’s article discusses the results of a series of tests taken with a sample size of 143 patients taking 283 pills. As background, the article mentioned two key figures; namely, that one in three people have difficulty swallowing oral medication, and that 10% of patients with swallowing difficulties cite this as a reason for not taking prescribed medication at all. Gray outlines the procedure of the study, and then proceeds to outline the two techniques that patients were asked to use to swallowing traditional medicine capsules: the “pop bottle method” and “lean forward method.” The study found that these techniques resulted in more pills successfully swallowed.

PMMOP: Cannabis sativa

The plant I chose is called Cannabis sativa. It is a member of the Cannabis genus and was originally classified in 1753 by Swedish botanist, Carl Linnaeus. However, Cannabis plants are believed to have existed for centuries – buried cannabis seeds have been found in Siberian burial grounds dating back to 3,000 B.C. More recently, it has become widely known for its psychoactive properties. The plant contains over 500 compounds, and differences in chemical composition of Cannabis sativa may cause different reactions in humans. The plant’s main constituent is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is a member of the cannabinoid class of chemical compounds. These substances act on cannabinoid receptors in body cells, which alter neurotransmitter releases in the brain. This deviance from normal brain communication disrupts several mental and physical functions, commonly leading to a state of euphoria, heightened sensory perception, altered perception of time and increased appetite.

Poster Presentation Idea – Dissolver Cage

Most common medication or supplements are prescribed to be swallowed orally, usually accompanied by a glass of water. However, this form of intake present a choking hazard to younger children, and to elderly people who may have trouble swallowing pills whole. This target audience would also likely have trouble chewing pills or ingesting crushed up pills, which leaves only one solution…

For my poster presentation idea, I would like to propose a dissolver cage – a device that would submerge the prescribed pill in water or any other liquid of choice. The cage could also include a cover to fit the top of a glass, so that the patient would be able to shake the solution to allow the pill to dissolve quicker. Thus, such a device would allow those who struggle swallowing whole pills to intake their medication safely and smoothly.

Blog Entry 1 (David Mashkevich)

After reading the 1971 New York Times article, I immediately noticed some differences in writing style when compared to similar scientific articles published today. Overall, this article was much more process-oriented, offering relevant details to support the claims outlined in the scientific study. The author tells the story and process of the scientific innovation, presenting findings in the order that they were discovered. In particular, the author devotes paragraphs of the text to state the credentials of particular researchers. For instance, the end of the first page contains a section discussing the history of prostaglandin research, which names specific studies and their findings. The section gives context to the current study and I found it interesting that the author gives the location and names of those involved in previous studies. I speculate that this was done to justify the credibility of those who contributed to the outlined research, as few people would have been able to verify that on their own. Information was not as readily available in the 1970s, and readers would likely have had to make several calls to verify the work of researchers named in the article. However, an article in today’s newspaper may have contained links/references to these previous studies – so that readers could conduct their own background checks.

I also believe that while the article does a great job of explaining the scientific innovation outlined in the research study, something like this would never be published in today’s New York Times. This is largely due to major changes in the way we receive and interpret information in today’s world. More so than ever, it has become important to condense information and deliver key points in as few words as possible, and information now moves quicker than ever before. This is directly reflected by the aforementioned differences between the two articles, and readers must now conduct their own due diligence if they wish to learn more about the process of scientific research and verify the credibility of the publisher/author of a scientific study. Unfortunately, this opens the door for more inaccurate reporting and falsified information to leak into popular media, which our Hot Topic presentations helped us identify.

Thus, this article presents a great amount of valuable scientific information and background of those involved in the scientific study, but only because readers would not have had the resources to find that information on their own.

Paraphrase Exercise

Allergies present a common problem in many schools that can potentially have severe implications. For this reason, many schools deem it necessary to have emergency plans in place to care for those with known allergies; this responsibility commonly falls on school nurses. However, recent studies have shown that emergency response plans laid out by the school are not always followed. This can be attributed to one of several factors: “a lack of prescribed medication, calling parents or health care providers first, or because the reaction was to an unknown allergen.” (Wahl et al. 2015, 97) This presents a major threat to the safety of children in schools, to which training is the most viable solution. Educating school nurses on the causes and treatments of common allergic reactions would benefit students who are prone to allergic reactions, and the emergency officials who must promptly and properly respond to them.

Hot Topic – Can a Healthy Lifestyle Compress the Disabled Period in Older Adults?

Media Source: ScienceDaily Article

“Lifestyle factors may affect how long individuals live free of disability.” ScienceDaily. 1 September 2017.

Journal Source: Wiley Database – Journal Publication

Jacob, Mini E., Laura M. Yee, Paula H. Diehr, Alice M. Arnold, Stephen M. Thielke, Paulo H. M. Chaves, Liana Del Gobbo. 2016. “Can a Healthy Lifestyle Compress the Disabled Period in Older Adults?” Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 64, no. 10 (October): 1952-1961. DOI: 10.1111/jgs.14314