PDB's Education Corner features a different teacher each quarter,
offering an account of how he or she uses the PDB to educate
students. Educators will find this information useful to inspire
their own courses and methods of teaching that incorporate the PDB.
This quarter's column is by Prof. Tim Herman, Director of the Center
for BioMolecular Modeling at the Milwaukee School of Engineering:
The Center for BioMolecular Modeling (CBM) at the Milwaukee School of
Engineering uses rapid prototyping technologies to produce physical
models of proteins and other molecular structures based on atomic
coordinates obtained from the Protein Data Bank. These physical
models are used both by researchers, who find them useful as
?thinking tools? and by students who are just beginning to explore
the molecular world.
The CBM directs science outreach and professional development
programs targeted to both high school science teachers and
undergraduate educators (www.rpc.msoe.edu/cbm). At the high school
level, an NIH-funded SEPA (Science Education Partnership Award)
allows us to offer a two-week summer course entitled ?Genes, Schemes
and Molecular Machines?. In this course, teachers are shown how
physical and computer-generated models of proteins can be used to
make the molecular world real for their students. Using a recently
modified version of RasMol (RP-RasMol), teachers are directly
involved in the design and construction of the physical models.
In the summer of 2002, a team of six high school science teachers
produced the first-ever physical models of the ribosome, based on
recently deposited atomic coordinate data
(www.rpc.msoe.edu/sepa/HandsOn.pdf) More recently, we have begun to
involve high school students in the design of physical models through
our SMART Team program. SMART Teams (Students Modeling A Research
Topic) consist of a high school teacher who has participated in our
summer course and a group of 3-5 students who work with a local
research lab to produce a physical model of the protein under
investigation in the lab
(www.rpc.msoe.edu/cbm/sepa/Nature_article.pdf). Our first SMART Team,
known as Team Anthrax, designed and constructed physical models of
the three proteins involved in anthrax pathogenesis in the months
immediately following the anthrax attacks in the fall of 2002.
Currently, seven SMART Teams are working with researchers in
Wisconsin. Plans are underway to replicate this program in other
areas including San Diego, upstate New York and Salt Lake City.
[For information about how to participate in a SMART Team, contact
Prof. Herman at email@example.com.]
At the undergraduate level, the CBM works with undergraduate
educators to explore ways in which physical models can enhance the
use of molecular visualization tools. With support from an NSF-CCLI
award, the Center plans to launch a Summer Modeling Institute at
which undergraduate faculty will have access to our physical modeling
technologies to design and produce models that will be used in
courses on their local campuses. A Model Lending Library has been
created to allow any undergraduate educator to borrow models
resulting from this project for use in their classroom.
Molecular models for science education--including a DNA Construction
Kit--can be obtained from 3D Molecular Designs (3DMD), a recent spin
off of the CBM (www.3dmoleculardesigns.com).
PDB ID: 1tsr
Y. Cho, S. Gorina, P.D. Jeffrey, N.P. Pavletich (1994): Crystal structure of a p53 tumor suppressor-DNA complex: understanding tumorigenic mutations. Science 265, p. 346.
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