Snapshots of St. George's

Science class uses FabLab to help understand HIV
Posted 02/13/2017 10:00PM


Tom Evans’ microbiology class is incorporating a “makers” component into the curriculum with the help of FabLab Director Tim Johnson. “Besides the normal classroom work on infectious agents and diseases, and working with live cultures in the laboratory sessions, we have all undertaken a task to better understand the structure and infectious capabilities of HIV,” said Mr. Evans, who designed the course a few years ago to focus primarily on the AIDS virus. Now students in the class —Mia Del Rosso ’17, Toby Almeida ’17, Ayla Barry ’17, Andrew Parry ’18 and Dave LaMountain ’17 — are spending Thursday afternoons in the FabLab in the arts center to design and build representative models of HIV “to better understand how the virus actually infects the human cell.”

“It has been [great] for me, Tim and the students to have a project like this to dig into and to try to imagine how real HIV-AIDs researchers dedicate their lives to such a challenge,” Mr. Evans said.

Ayla Barry ’17 said working in the Fab Lab is helping is furthering her understanding of HIV as a whole. “In order to produce an accurate representation of the disease, we have to research it in great detail,” she said. “HIV is so complex that making a 3-D model is probably the best way to truly understand each and every one of its elements.”

Director of the Merck-Horton Center for Teaching and Learning Tom Callahan said he’s thrilled to see science students in the FabLab. “This is very exciting for me,” he said, “because good research has shown that ‘making’ and adding creativity to a topic deepens understanding and strengthens long-term memory.”

A Coeducational Boarding and Day School for Grades 9 Through 12
St. George's School
372 Purgatory Road Middletown, Rhode Island 02842
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