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School of Natural Sciences

2021 CCBM Virtual Sessions

Thank you for your interest in the CCBM Virtual Sessions, which are hosted by the NSF-CREST Center for Cellular and Biomolecular Machines at the University of California, Merced.  ccbm.ucmerced.edu / Flyer

  • As part of the National Science Foundation (NSF) funded center's outreach mission
  • Open to all
  • Focused on STEM - College - Careers  /  Designed for K-12 Students, Teachers, and Community (local and beyond)
  • Via Zoom  /  No cost  /  In partnership with CalTeach at UC Merced

Login information, as well as more details / optional supplies needed (if any), will be sent to registrants in advance of the sessions. Please make sure to add Carrie Kouadio (ckouadio@ucmerced.edu / UC Merced) to your email contacts, to make sure you receive the Zoom login and other information.

Contact: Carrie Kouadio, CCBM Executive Director, UC Merced, ckouadio@ucmerced.edu


2021 CCBM Virtual Sessions

Tour of a Cell and Molecular Biology Lab 

Presented by: Stephanie Woo, Assistant Professor, Molecular Cell Biology, University of California, Merced

The session will consist of a tour of the Woo lab. We will start with a brief description of our research on embryonic development before walking through our lab space. Participants will see work benches typical of most cell and molecular labs as well as more specialized equipment such as our confocal microscope. We will also meet various lab members and learn about their roles (grad student, lab manager, etc.). Pending approval from the Department of Animal Research, we will also include a tour of our zebrafish facility.

Prof. Woo is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular Cell Biology at UC Merced. Her lab studies how epithelial tissues form during embryonic development. Dr. Woo earned her B.S. from the University of Texas, Austin, and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, San Francisco.

June 22

1:00 PM-1:30 PM PT

Target Audience: K-12 Students, Teachers, Community Members


Circus of Science (Home Edition)

Presented by: Alauna Wheeler, Graduate Student, Physics, University of California, Merced

A variety of fun, hands-on science (magic?) activities that can be done at home with materials you already have, meant to help you look at the world around you a little bit differently. The suggested list of materials will be sent before the session. 

Alauna is a Physics graduate student by day (sometimes nights and weekends too) and a mom of a toddler day and night. Alauna loves studying fundamental Soft Matter Physics in the Linda Hirst Lab at the University of California, Merced, and has a hobby of bringing fun, accessible (toddler approved) physics and other science demonstrations to anyone willing to try them.

June 22

11:00 AM- 12:00 PM PT

Target Audience: Elementary Students


Building a Bacterial Carousel

Presented by: Bin Liu, Assistant Professor, Physics, University of California, Merced

Whether a microbe can be "tamed" to perform desired tasks for humans seems not to have an obvious answer. Here, we will explore a few preliminary steps toward taming a bacterium, including using carefully built microstructures to turn freely swimming bacteria into micro carousels. We will also join together for a virtual tour of an automated microscope system that enables such studies. 

Prof. Liu is an Assistant Professor in Physics at UC Merced. He is interested in simple and yet fundamental physical principles that govern complex microbial systems. He likes being inspired by games and toys, which he has applied to his research instruments, such as a "bacterial treadmill," for unveiling such principles.

June 23

1:00 PM- 2:00 PM PT

Target Audience: Middle School Students, High School Students, Teachers


Mentorability

Presented by: John Newton, EXCEL! Program Coordinator, School of Natural Sciences, University of California, Merced

John will review the differences between coaching, role-modeling, sponsoring, and mentoring, as well as the components of being a good mentor or mentee. He will review the history, concepts, and methods behind a good mentoring experience and provide examples of college students who were able to find a good mentor and benefit from the experience.

John is the Program Coordinator and an Academic Coach for the School of Natural Sciences EXCEL! Program. He’s been at UC Merced for over three years now and has worked in Higher Education for over 15 years. John received his Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, CA. He attended The University of Texas at Austin to receive his Master's Degree in Higher Education Leadership. John is a First-Generation college student and strongly supports First-Generation college student success.

June 23

10:00 AM-11:00 PT

Target Audience: High School Students, Teachers


Ethics in Research: How Far is Too Far?

Presented by: Daniel Wong, Assistant Dean for Academic & Postdoctoral Services, Graduate Division, University of California, Los Angeles

In this session, we will grapple with some of the most pressing ethical issues facing researchers today. Through a series of case studies, we will examine the foundations of ethical research and discuss some of the thorniest topics that students and researchers may encounter. At the end of the session, participants will leave with both answers and further questions about how to ethically conduct research.

Daniel Wong currently serves as the Assistant Dean for Academic and Postdoctoral Services in the Graduate Division at the University of California, Los Angeles. He and his staff administer programs and processes that encourage the academic progress and professional development of graduate students, visiting graduate researchers, and postdoctoral scholars. He earned his bachelor's degrees in Biochemistry and English from the University of Kansas and his Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

June 24

10:00 AM- 11:15 AM PT

Target Audience: Middle School Students, High School Students, Teachers, Community Members


How Would You Build a Machine that Sorts Cells?

Presented by: David Gravano, Technical Director of Cytometry, University of California, Merced

The session will begin with a discussion of why investigators need to characterize the properties of cells and sort them and how this is relevant to treating disease. We will then look at a Lego model of a “cell sorter” that utilizes motors and sensors to sort colored marbles. Lastly, we will see a real cell sorter in action sorting mouse blood cells and discuss its similarities and differences to the Lego model. 

David Gravano is the Technical Director of Cytometry in the Stem Cell Instrumentation Foundry at UC Merced. He was a founding graduate student at UC Merced, beginning in 2005, where he went on to earn a Ph.D. in Quantitative Systems Biology with an emphasis in Immunology. 

June 24 & June 25/ These sessions occur over 2 days

1:00 PM- 1:50 PM PT

Target Audience: High School Students, Teachers, Community Members


Taking Pictures of Molecules: How Do We See the Invisible World?

Presented by: Michael Thompson, Assistant Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, Merced

Textbooks in chemistry, biology, and physics are filled with beautiful images depicting molecules with a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and physical properties. Our understanding of chemistry is central to our understanding of ourselves and our surroundings, and as the saying goes "seeing is believing." I will explain how we can visualize the invisible and "see" into the molecular world.

Professor Mike Thompson grew up in the San Fernando Valley of Southern California, where he was originally inspired to be a scientist by his outstanding high school STEM teachers. He has a deep connection to the UC system - he received his Bachelor's degree from Berkeley, he attended UCLA for his Ph.D., and then he was a postdoctoral fellow at UCSF before being hired as Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UC Merced.

June 25

10:00 AM- 11:00 AM PT

Target Audience: High School Students, Teachers, Community Members


Addressing the Challenges of Transitioning from High School to College

Presented by: Helia Samani, Undergraduate Student, Microbial Biology, University of California, Berkeley

The transition from high school to college presents academic and social challenges that can make for a difficult adjustment. This is complicated by the systemic barriers placed on communities, including the California Central Valley, that limit access to resources for students pursuing higher education. This session will address the disparities between college preparation in high school and the actual expectations of university students. Entering college unprepared for its challenges can be discouraging but being aware of the resources available to you can make it easier for you to succeed.

Helia Samani is a third-year undergraduate at UC Berkeley, where she is pursuing a degree in Microbial Biology with a concentration in Host-Pathogen Interactions. Since starting her undergraduate career, she has served as a research assistant in the lab of Dr. Daniel Portnoy, under the mentorship of Dr. Ying Feng.

July 7

10:00 AM- 10:45 AM PT

Target Audience: High School Students


Introduction to Computer Simulations in Physics, from Forest Fires to Salad Dressing 

Presented by: Daniel Beller, Assistant Professor, Physics, University of California, Merced

We will have a hands-on introduction to how computer simulations are used in scientific research, focusing on a versatile kind of simulation called "lattice models." We will examine simulations of real-world topics such as forest fires, oil-water separation in salad dressing, and the spread of diseases. In a series of guided activities, participants will use and edit Python programs through an Internet browser and will discover small changes in parameters that dramatically affect the simulated results. Preparation instructions will be sent before the session. 

Daniel Beller is a theoretical physicist and an Assistant Professor at the University of California, Merced in the Department of Physics. He and his research group use mathematical modeling and computer simulations to study the physics of soft materials, with properties intermediate between conventional liquids and solids. One of their major interests is liquid crystals, which flow like a liquid but behave in other ways like solid crystals. Professor Beller’s group also studies the physics of life at the cellular scale, aiming to understand collective effects that can only occur when many cells or many proteins work together.

July 12- 15/ These sessions occur over 4 days

11:00 AM- 12:00 PM PT

Target Audience: High School Students, Teachers, Community Members


Visualizing Cells via Fluorescent Staining

Jose Zamora, Ph.D. Candidate, Materials and Biomaterials Science and Engineering, University of California, Merced

In this workshop, we will briefly cover stem cell biology and other cellular biological structures. The workshop will then shift to a live demonstration where we will show the audience how to visualize some of these structures under fluorescence. 

Jose Zamora is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, Merced. His focus and interests lie in understanding how blood vessels emerge and mature. He is currently developing both computational and experimental models to advance current tools and techniques for accomplishing better blood vessel development in a laboratory environment.  

July 12

1:00 PM- 2:00 PM PT

Target Audience: High School Students, Teachers, Community Members


Combatting Misinformation: Accessible Ways of Incorporating Primary Sources in Your Science Classroom to Promote Critical Thinking in Students

Presented by: Melissa Goodlad, Ph.D. Candidate, Chemistry and Chemical Biology, University of California, Merced

To combat misinformation, students must develop the scientific literacy and critical thinking necessary to discriminate between science, pseudoscience, and nonsense. Peer-reviewed journals are the most reliable sources of information but are often full of intimidating jargon and have limited accessibility, while misinformation is free and sensationalized. This webinar will present accessible and time-efficient classroom resources for incorporating peer-reviewed journals into your curriculum. Teaching students to disseminate scientific journals in the classroom will equip them to critique information outside the classroom.

Melissa Goodlad is a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate in the Chemistry and Chemical Biology Department at UC Merced. Melissa taught Physics, Chemistry, and AP Chemistry in Fresno and Clovis Unified School Districts, where she achieved the district-wide highest pass rate for the AP Chemistry exam. Before beginning her high school teaching career, Melissa worked at CSU Fresno as a Supplemental Instructor for the chemistry curriculum, where she taught incoming students reading and study skills necessary for their college chemistry careers. After her dissertation, Melissa plans to return to teaching chemistry at the community college level.

Date: TBD

1:00 PM- 2:30 PM PT 

Target Audience: Teachers


How to Win at Work: Making an Impact in Your Field

Presented by: Daniel Wong, Assistant Dean for Academic & Postdoctoral Services, Graduate Division, University of California, Los Angeles

How do we identify those tasks that are most important? How do we remain motivated to seek greater heights in work and life? Where do we begin when overwhelmed by tasks and obligations? This workshop presents the concept of “Deep Work” as a strategy for addressing these questions and more. Through an interactive workshop and discussion, we will explore why this strategy is an effective concept for achieving your goals; we will also address how to begin implementing it in our daily work and lives. 

Daniel Wong currently serves as the Assistant Dean for Academic and Postdoctoral Services in the Graduate Division at the University of California, Los Angeles. He and his staff administer programs and processes that encourage the academic progress and professional development of graduate students, visiting graduate researchers, and postdoctoral scholars. He earned his bachelor's degrees in Biochemistry and English from the University of Kansas and his Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

July 14

1:00 PM -2:15 PM PT

Target Audience: Middle School Students, High School Students, Teachers, Community Members


The Science of Flocks and Swarms

Presented by: Ajay Gopinathan, Professor, Physics, University of California, Merced

Flocks of birds, schools of fish, and swarms of ants are all around us. We have all seen and marveled at them. But why and how do they form? This session will introduce participants to the simple universal rules that give rise to collective flocking behavior and explore them with hands-on computer simulations. Preparation instructions will be sent before the session. 

Professor Ajay Gopinathan is currently Professor and Chair of Physics and Co-Director of the NSF-CREST Center for Cellular and Biomolecular Machines at the University of California, Merced. He did his schooling and undergraduate degree in India and received his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Chicago. Following this, he worked at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of California, Santa Barbara before arriving at UC Merced as one of the first few faculty members in Physics. Professor Gopinathan’s current research involves using theoretical and computational methods to understand biological processes such as the movement of material inside cells, the growth and division of bacteria, and the migration of groups of cancer cells.

July 19 & July 21/ These sessions occur over 2 days

10:00 AM- 11:00 AM PT

Target Audience: Elementary School Students (5th and 6th graders)


College Readiness and STEM Disciplines

Presented by: Petia Gueorguieva, STEM Resource Center Coordinator, University of California, Merced

In an informal, interactive setting, we will discuss education/STEM education matters and college readiness. We will explore the value of collecting information and implementing good academic practices in high school, so students become college-ready and make educated college and financial choices. A presentation will be shared with the audience. 

Petia Gueorguieva is the Coordinator for UC Merced’s STEM Resource Center, where she guides students to navigate their STEM majors and achieve their academic goals. Previously, she taught college chemistry and student-success courses. Petia holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Louisiana State University and an M.S. in Physical Sciences Education from Sofia University, Bulgaria. 

July 20

11:00 AM- 12:00 PM PT

Target Audience: High School Students, Teachers, Community Members


Modeling Cells and Organelles on Computers

Presented by: Kinjal Dasbiswas, Assistant Professor, Physics, University of California, Merced & Patrick Noerr, Graduate Student, Physics, University of California, Merced

In this hands-on computational workshop, we will analyze microscopy images of molecular motors and then learn about the physics and mechanics of cell division. We will also use computer code in Python to model the formation of liquid droplets inside cells and see them divide like cells. Preparation instructions will be sent before the session. 

Professor Kinjal Dasbiswas is a theoretical physicist working to uncover the principles behind the organization of biological matter occurring in cells and tissue. He uses mathematical modeling and computation to study the amazing scientific phenomena you might see under a microscope in a biology lab. This is his third year as an Assistant Professor at the University of California, Merced.

Patrick Noerr is a theorist interested in the role that mechanical interactions play in biological systems. He utilizes both analytic and computational methods to model and predicts the behavior of systems of cells. Mr. Noerr is currently finishing his second year as a Physics graduate student at the University of California, Merced.

July 20- July 22/ These sessions occur over 3 days

1:00 PM- 2:00 PM PT

Target Audience: High School Students, Teachers


Circus of Science (Home Edition)

Presented by: Alauna Wheeler, Graduate Student, Physics, University of California, Merced

A variety of fun, hands-on science (magic?) activities that can be done at home with materials you already have, meant to help you look at the world around you a little bit differently. The suggested list of materials will be sent before the session. 

Alauna is a Physics graduate student by day (sometimes nights and weekends too) and a mom of a toddler day and night. Alauna loves studying fundamental Soft Matter Physics in the Linda Hirst Lab at the University of California, Merced, and has a hobby of bringing fun, accessible (toddler approved) physics and other science demonstrations to anyone willing to try them. 

July 27

11:00 AM- 12:00 PM PT

Target Audience: Elementary School Students


Build a Model to Understand the Role and Structure of DNA 

Presented by: Xuecai (Susan) Ge, Assistant Professor, Molecular Cell Biology, University of California, Merced

We will first learn some basics about the hereditary material DNA: its structure, replication, and how it determines the appearance of living things. We will then build a DNA molecular model with straws and tape. The suggested list of materials will be sent before the session.  

Dr. Xuecai Ge is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology at the University of California, Merced. She has a research group that is studying how the brain is formed at the fetal stage and how gene mutations cause diseases in newborn babies and children. She teaches cell biology to UC Merced undergraduate students and likes to spend time with young students.

July 29

10:00 AM- 11:00 AM PT

Target Audience: Elementary School Students


The Fungal World Wide Web

Presented by: Arvind Gopinath, Assistant Professor, Bioengineering, University of California, Merced

Hidden in the ground beneath us is an information superhighway made up of diverse biological cell populations that allow individuals who may be widely separated to communicate and help each other out. This biological World Wide Web is made up of fungi. Fungal bodies are made up of a mass of thin threads, known as a mycelium that link cells to the roots of plants as far as many meters away. We will look at these fascinating networks that aren't just sitting around; rather they are actively involved in biological, physical, and chemical processes and signaling including the sharing of nutrients and information.

Arvind Gopinath is a Professor of Bioengineering at the University of California, Merced. His lab currently studies how microbes such as bacteria and fungi grow and interact with their environment, and how these modes of interaction manifest in their biophysical and biomechanics properties. 

Date: TBD

Target Audience: K-12 Students, Teachers, Community Members


May the Forces Be with You - Measuring Forces that Hold Molecules Together

Presented by: Roberto Andresen Eguiluz

In these interactive sessions, we will talk about the forces that hold solids and liquids together, fabricate our own force measuring apparatus, and quantify the strength of glues. Finally, we will talk about how to present, compare, and discuss the strength of tested glues. The suggested list of materials will be sent before the session.

Roberto Andresen Eguiluz is an Assistant Professor in Materials Science and Engineering at the University of California, Merced since July 2019. He has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Cornell University, and had postdoctoral appointments at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of California at Santa Barbara.

September 14, 16, and 17/ These sessions occur over 3 days

4:00- 5:00 PM PT

Target Audience: Middle School Students, High School Students


Click HERE to see the full list of CCBM Virtual Sessions 

Contact

CCBM Executive Director, Carrie Kouadio ckouadio@ucmerced.edu

ccbm.ucmerced.edu  


Click HERE to see a list of Summer/ Fall 2020 CCBM Virtual Sessions