Connecting Enzymes and Diseases

Researcher seeks insight into hepatitis C and Alzheimer’s.

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They combine art with science, “which is one of the really cool aspects,” she says. “We use computer graphics and other engaging activities that are fun for kids. Students can see on a computer screen how amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, come together to give a protein the characteristic shape it needs to perform its function. The amino acids are encoded by DNA, which gets transmitted to family members.

“Students then go and question their family members about their medical history,” she adds. “Interestingly, most students have no idea what diseases are in their families. By learning their own personal medical information, they also learn about genes and genetics.”