Students from 22 middle and high schools in the greater Milwaukee area will present the research they participated in with scientists at area colleges and universities. The 200 students spent their free time learning about protein structure and function through MSOE’s SMART Teams (Students Modeling A Research Topic) and MAPS Teams (Modeling A Protein Story) programs.  

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. 

On Wednesday, April 11 from 4 to 6 p.m., the students will present their findings during a poster session in the Todd Wehr Auditorium, 1047 N. Broadway. Examples of molecular story topics that will be presented include high cholesterol, insulin, cancer, chemical weapons, anesthetics, Alzheimer’s disease and more.  

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 hundreds of students on SMART 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). This year, researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin, UW-Milwaukee, Marquette University, Concordia University and the Blood Center of Wisconsin participated in the program.  

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.