Science Forward Fall 2017

Dr. Edyta Greer, Macaulay Honors College, Fall 2017

Author: Joe Gofman

Blog Post 3

Coming into this Seminar, I actually had really high hopes and expectations for a fun class. To me personally, both of the first two seminars were interesting but both had failed to strike a chord with me. As a student who lives and breathes STEM, my favorite part of the course was finally taking a class completely dedicated to it, taught by an amazing expert in their own field. Finding out that our professor would be a Professor of Organic Chemistry and that our ITF had a PhD of his own was intimidating from the start, however as the course progressed I realized that neither the lectures, projects, or Professors where what I had initially thought.

In terms of the material of the class, I thoroughly enjoyed every lecture and lab Dr. Greer led us through. I can honestly say she is the only science teacher I’ve ever had that made what we learned in the classroom real and applicable to the world outside of school. The production of our own medical devices/advancements just built on this for me as creating something with a 3D printer is something I’ve always wanted to do. The one thing I wish was different about that however was just how much class time we actually dedicated to that project and its presentation. The creation process, as well as the STEAM festival, were all fun informative events, and it was amazing looking around and seeing some of the best projects of the event belonging to my own classmates, but it left me wanting more fun science lessons led by Dr. Greer from within the classroom.

Regardless, I enjoyed amazing experiences thanks to Dr. Greer and Jake and every one of my classmates. Thank you all for an amazing semester!

Blog Entry 2: Why Lab?

Labs are a crucial method of gaining hands-on experience and insight while working within the realm of science. A lab’s controlled nature with every step and measurement being planned out ahead is essential to properly performing and comprehending what is going on. And so long as the parties performing the experiment understand why they are doing each of these steps, labs are an extremely useful pedagogically useful tool. This is particularly true for science classes such as biology and chemistry because seeing organ systems or chemical reactions first hand is necessary to fully grasp the concept of what may be occurring. These fields require a fundamental understanding of how these subjects exist in the real world, and labs allow for this experience unlike the simple reading of a textbook ever could.

 

Labs may not be explicitly necessary for non-specialist subjects like the sciences, but the application of learned knowledge in a real setting could have the potential to benefit any other subject. If we think of labs as simply the practice of a skill following strict guidelines to yield a highly specific result, then students perusing majors ranging from theater to accounting already perform this in the real world through internships and introductory jobs in their respective fields. And for those who don’t, the implementation of the skills they learn in the classroom under a highly controlled setting could be largely helpful prior to pursuing jobs in the real world. For example, students pursuing accounting majors could practice the skills they learn within the classroom in computer labs, balancing budget sheets in the presence of a skilled professional from within the field.

Annotated Bibliography – “Medicated e-patches”

Popular Source #1: 
Monks, Keiron.2014. “Forget Wearable Tech, Embeddable Implants are Already Here.” CNN, April 9. Accessed October 22, 2017.http://www.appcessories.co.uk/implantable-wearables/

This article is written by Keiron Monks, a general contributor to the online print posted by CCC. A bit of delving into other articles written by him shows a left-leaning tendency in his work, however, this particular article seems devoid of personal opinions by the author.

This piece focuses on the community known as biohackers, a community of citizen scientists with the mission of hacking their own biology, to “gain control of systems in your body that you would never have access to” through the implementation of wearable tech. Presently, at the time this article was posted, magnets and microchips were standard implants to be found within members of this community, whether for aesthetic or practical purposes, but these implants have been growing in complexity and ability to fulfill practical applications.

Popular Source#2:

Unknown, Daniel.2015. “Top 15 Implantable Wearables That Will Change Our Lives.” appcessories, December 2. Accessed October 22, 2017http://www.appcessories.co.uk/author/daniel/ 

This article is written by resident editor in chief of the Appcessories Blog “Daniel” about whom we know nothing more than that. This piece serves as a brief argument that the future of technology is not in wearables but in implantable technology, before launching a numbered list of where this author believes the most relevant movements in this space will occur. Some examples are neural implants for the military, sponge-like implants for cancer cell detection, and the implanting of stretchy wireless materials capable of reducing pain.

Scholarly Article #1:

Andreu-Perez, Javier, Daniel R. Leff, and Guang-Zhong Yang. 2015. “From Wearable Sensors to Smart Implants–Towards Pervasive and Personalized Healthcare.” IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering  62, no. 12 (April 15): 2750 – 2762. Accessed October 22, 2017. doi10.1109/TBME.2015.2422751

All authors for this academic journal hail from the Imperial College of London, from which each of these contributors has published numerous articles before all pertaining to deep knowledge obtained from tech and its potential implications for health.

This paper discusses the evolution of personalized healthcare from its inception with wearable technologies which allowed for activity recognition to the future of this space, which lies in the implant of these sensors for more and better data. The focus of the health prerogative has moved away from reactive in the favor of proactive; preventative, predictive, personalized, and participatory medicine are the future. in the words of the declared significance of this paper: “The sensing technologies discussed in this paper and their future evolution will play a key role in realizing the goal of sustainable healthcare systems.”

Scholarly Article #2:

Kauper, Konrad, Cahil McGovern, Sandy Sherman, Pam Heatherton, Rob Rapoza, Paul Stabila, Brenda Dean, Alice Lee, Suzanna Borges, Bruce Bouchard, Weng Tao. 2012. “Two-Year Intraocular Delivery of Ciliary Neurotrophic Factor by Encapsulated Cell Technology Implants in Patients with Chronic Retinal Degenerative Diseases.” Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science 53, no.12(November 12): 7484-7491. doi:10.1167/iovs.12-9970

This article sought to evaluate the effectiveness of a delivery over a period of up to 2 years of medication dispensed from an implanted, encapsulated technology within the eye to treat a retina degenerating disease. The implantation of the NT-501 capsule produced a consistent dosage of the medication throughout the 2-year period, and ultimately this method of treatment proved more effective for the treatment of this disorder than other systematic exposures to medications. This case study gives evidence that the implantation of a device which provides proper dosages of medications may be effective in the treatment of particular disorders.

 

Clostridium Botulinum

Clostridium Botulinum is a diverse group of pathogenic bacteria grouped by their ability to produce botulinum toxin. The organism itself is known for producing “botulinum” which is the most potent toxin known to mankind is responsible for food-borne botulism via the ingestion of the preformed toxin, infant botulism via intestinal infection by C. Botulinum, and wound botulism via infection of a wound with C. Botulinum. The botulinum toxin, although commonly associated with bulging canned foods (this bulging may occur as the result of an internal increase in pressure caused by the gas produced by the bacteria) can also be produced C. botulinum endospores that are commonly found in soil and are capable of surviving extreme conditions.

Poster Idea – Medicated Patches

Growing up the child of a pharmacist, I spent more time than a little kid ever should around the sick and contagious. Pharmacists not only have the duty of dispensing medication to patients, but they help assess just what path of treatment best aligns with each individual. There is no universal model for what a patient needs may be, yet for most, any ailment the solution prescribed by doctors is the swallowing of a pill. Medication is the form of coated pills was a tremendous advancement, but it is not a suitable solution for everyone. Infants, adolescents, many of the elderly, and patients with throats that are swollen shut or have obstructions in them often cannot swallow pills.

With transdermal options in the form of patches being available for such medications as birth control and curbing nicotine addictions, it could do a great many people a lot of good to have this as an alternate option. This could particularly be applied to something as commonly used as Insulin, which people suffering from Diabetes must inject themselves with throughout the day. Instead of constantly carrying around and injecting themselves, these people could instead simply bring their prescription transdermal patches with them.

joseph Gofman – Blog Entry #1

At first glance, seeing both the title of the article and date in which it was published cast a shadow of doubt over the content of the article for me.  But this fear of reading another nonsensical article about a “Miracle Cure for Cancer” was quickly quelled as the article does not hesitate to jump into some technical concepts right off of the bat. The subject matter,  a group of hormones called prostaglandins, is given a quick background before its current (at the time) potential is delved into. In my own opinion, the way in which the content is laid forth here is challenging to keep up with. The terminology used and pace at which new information is brought up are much higher than would be found within a comparable article in the “New York Times” today. It is hard to retain focus on all of the elements of this story as we the reader are taken from point to point in the form of varying bodies of research. For instance, the end of the second page leading into the start of the third sees a transition from the most recent troubles of prostaglandin research to a seemingly unrelated story that comes in the form of a study of fertility, which is then tied back in through yet another researcher’s work with sheep uteruses.

For a reader such as myself who may only be finding out about this subject matter through this content, there is simply too much here to digest.  The author does a great job of providing setting, context, and findings but when all of this amounts to 8 pages of in-depth coverage of a dozen sparely connected points the takeaway is minimal. Adding physical images and models to this also did little to help me understand what I was already having trouble comprehending. Overall I thought the article was extremely interesting, but as a college student pursuing a major in science, it left me scratching my head more than I would have liked.

Paraphrasing Exercise

Recent studies confirm the importance of school nurses, faculty, and staff properly knowing how to respond to incidences of anaphylactic shock. When dealing with younger students especially, a reaction to a previously unknown allergen may occur at any time. However, school nurses 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 guidelines can create confusion and lead to an inappropriate treatment for many students (Wahl et al. 2015,97).

Scientists Edit Disease-Causing Gene Mutation in Human Embryos

Popular Article:

Scientists Edit Disease-Causing Gene Mutation in Embryos

Howard, Jacqueline. 2017. “Scientists edit disease-causing gene mutation in human embryos.” CNN.com (August 2) Accessed 5 Sept. 2017.

Primary Source:

Correction of a pathogenic gene mutation in human embryos”

 

Hong, Ma,  et all. 2017. “Correction of a pathogenic gene mutation in human embryos.” ,  Nature, vol. 000 (August): 1-22.