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.

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Dr. Timothy Herman

Department: Center for BioMolecular Modeling
(414) 277-7529 Cudahy Campus Center: CC202