Outreach 2012, Puerto Varas
The Chilean Society for Cell Biology organizes a practical outreach program for schools in Puerto Varas
In continuation of a pilot outreach program conducted in 2011, this year the Coordinators of The Chilean Society for Cell Biology, Eliseo Campos, Andrés Couve and Brigitte van Zundert invited approximately 150 high school students from 5 different schools of Puerto Varas and Puerto Montt to participate in a practical 2.5 hour workshop focused on cell biology. Students had access to young and established investigators and a fully equipped room containing 15 phase-contrast microscopes and 15 binocular microscopes. With the phase-contrast microscopes they were able to examine brain samples from transgenic mouse models of Alzheimer´s disease, a prevalent neurodegenerative disease and observe, for example, amyloid plaques. The activity resulted from a collaborative effort of multiple SBCCH members including the kind donation of the samples by Dr. Nibaldo Inestrosa. With the binocular microscopes, students were able to observe real-time movement of transgenic strains of Caenorhabditis elegans with locomotion defects provided by Drs. Rebeca Aldunate and Alicia Minniti, who also taught the basics of nematode worm biology during the workshop. It is important to note that high school students were very enthusiastic and honored to participate in this workshop and hoped that the event would be repeated next year. After completion of the practical workshop the students visited and actively participated in the poster sessions at the SBCCH meeting. See some pictures of the event!
We are planning to repeat this outreach initiative next year and to include additional activities for high school teachers to further engage them in exciting new approaches and discoveries in cell biology. We sincerely thank Gene X-press for installing and providing the microscopes, and our young investigators Pedro Cisternas, Cheril Tapia, Juvenal Rios y Felipe Serrano, Juan Francisco Codocedo, Carla Montecinos, Valerie Ramírez, David González and Fabiola Rojas for their participation!