X-ray Crystallography Outreach to High School Students Continues

in Front Page
April 1st, 2013

For a second year, Professor Karen Allen and Dr. Jeff Bacon of the BU Chemical Instrumentation Center have continued their X-ray Crystallography outreach program to local area high schools.   This February, they welcomed a group of Advanced Placement Biology students from Acton-Boxborough Regional High School.

Biology Students from Acton-Boxborough High

Biology Students from Acton-Boxborough High

Prior to coming to BU, the students had grown their own crystals of lysozyme in their school laboratory. During their visit, the group learned about the history and theory of X-ray crystallography for determining protein structure  in a one hour classroom discussion led by Prof. Allen.  They then took their crystal samples to the X-ray laboratory where Dr. Bacon gave them a practical demonstration of the experiment.  The students examined their crystals under a microscope, and two crystals were mounted on the instrument for live demonstrations of X-ray diffraction and unit cell determination.

The crystallography outreach program began as an activity of the ACA Young Scientists’ Special Interest Group in 2012, and was supported by a donation of crystallization supplies from Hampton Research.

Prof. Allen Leading Classroom Discussion

Prof. Allen Leading Classroom Discussion

Dr. Bacon describing X-Ray Laboratory Instrumentation

Dr. Bacon describing X-Ray Laboratory Instrumentation

Students examining their crystals

Students examining their crystals

Mounted lysozyme crystals

Mounted lysozyme crystals