March 20, 2017 — Students from 22 Wisconsin middle and high schools have spent a lot of their free time doing scientific research this school year. The 200 students participated in MSOE’s SMART Teams (Students Modeling A Research Topic) and the new MAPS Teams (Modeling A Protein Story) program. The students spent the school year learning about protein structure and function.
After studying a specific protein story, they designed a 3D model of a protein, and developed an abstract and poster to tell the molecular story of that protein. Examples of molecular story topics that will be presented include Zika virus, whooping cough, opioid drugs, neuroglobin, NOTCH and hemoglobin.
On Tuesday, March 21 from 4 to 6 p.m., the students will present their findings during a poster session on the third floor of the MSOE Campus Center, 1025 N. Broadway.
The teams worked with a teacher from their school and a researcher to investigate proteins, and model the unique structure-function relationships of a protein and developed a research question to explore. SMART Team students were also paired with a local researcher.
The SMART Teams program began in 2001 with one team. Since then the program has grown. More than 2,340 middle and high school students from 45 Wisconsin schools, plus an additional 30 teams throughout the U.S. Teams construct physical models of proteins to help researchers investigate important proteins—and they’re doing it as an extracurricular activity.
The program was developed by MSOE’s Center for BioMolecular Modeling (CBM) and grew out of a collaboration between the CBM and researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin, UW-Milwaukee, Marquette University and the Blood Research Institute.
Many of the students who were part of a SMART Team have gone on to pursue degrees in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.
MSOE is an independent, non-profit university with about 2,900 students that was founded in 1903. MSOE offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering, business and nursing. The university has a national academic reputation; longstanding ties to business and industry; dedicated professors with real-world experience; a 97 percent placement rate; and the highest ROI and average starting salaries of any Wisconsin university according to PayScale Inc. MSOE graduates are well-rounded, technologically experienced and highly productive professionals and leaders.