Summer 2018 Workshops

The Chemistry of Beauty Chemistry

This workshop will focus on the science behind cosmetic, beauty, and personal care products – fragrances, cosmetic pigments, nail polish, and soaps – as well as introducing concepts in ethics, scientific testing and claims substantiation. Each day will begin with a short instruction in the area and end with a laboratory component in the nature of fragrance, pigment compounds, and more!

Instructors: Sarah Slavoff, Assistant Professor of Chemisty.

Chromatography: A Chemist’s Best Friend | Chemistry

Chromatography, or separating a mixture of chemical compounds into its pure components, is an extremely important process in all aspects of chemistry: used by medicinal chemists isolating important medicines from plants, forensics scientists identifying and analyzing compounds at a crime scene, quality control scientists checking for pesticides on crops, research scientists separating new products from a complicated reaction, and many more examples! In this course, we will use gas chromatography to both identify and quantify substances in mixtures, such as separating fragrant oils that naturally occur in fruits. We will also apply gas chromatography to explore cutting-edge topics in sustainable, “green” chemistry such as catalytic reactions and remediation of toxic pollutants in groundwater. During this hands-on course, you will have the opportunity to conduct experiments, collect and analyze data, and draw meaningful conclusions to help investigate real-world problems in sustainable chemistry. Come find out why chromatography is a chemist’s best friend and how we use chemistry and chromatography to make the world a better place!

Instructor: Gannon Connor, graduate student in Chemistry. Daniel Kim, Ph.D. student in Chemistry from Yale School of Medicine. Allie Nagelski, graduate student in Chemistry.

Consciousness: Self, Science, and Society Neuroscience & Psychology

This course is an exploration of the most exciting philosophic and scientific questions in the study of one of neuroscience’s great mysteries: consciousness. Students will learn about the nervous system and the neuroimaging techniques scientists use to record brain activity. We will explore clinical populations that exhibit abnormal consciousness. And we’ll look at how consciousness is portrayed in popular culture (e.g., movies like Inception). How are we aware of ourselves and the world around us?

Instructor: Sharif Kronemer, graduate student in Biology & Biomedical Science

Disorders of the Brain Neuroscience

Our brains make us who we are. Our personalities, emotions, memories and complex abilities all rely on the brain. So what happens when diseases alter the brain? In this course, we will explore the connection between brain and behavior, and how disorders of the brain can change our day-to-day abilities. As we dive into these mental illnesses, we will learn what we know so far, and about the exciting new possibilities in neuroscience research helping to explore these problems and potentially solve them.

Instructor: Veronica Galvin and Dibs Datta, graduate students in Neuroscience

DNA: From 3D to 23andMe  |  Biology

DNA is an incredible molecule. DNA is made up of only four bases, and yet these bases provide all the instructions needed to make you who you are, from the color of your eyes to the shape of your hairline. In the history of science, how have we visualized DNA? This one-week course will take you through how scientists have “seen” DNA over the years, from our intial understanding of genes, to solving the 3D structure of DNA, to being able to look at entire genetic codes. Students who enroll in this course will have the opportunity to learn about influential scientists from diverse backgrounds, consider the molecular “puzzles” of DNA through hands-on activities, and participate in a debate about companies that analyze the genetic ancestry of your DNA, like 23andMe. Together, we’ll answer the question: how do we see DNA, and are there ever times when we shouldn’t look?

Instructor: Elizabeth Luoma, Director of the STEM Education Program at the Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning at Yale University.

Exploring the Physics of Light | Physics

Everyone who can see experiences light and color every moment. In this workshop, we will learn about the fundamental nature of light and color, show how they are intertwined, and analyze the physics behind our everyday experience. We will explore the electromagnetic spectrum and manipulate light with lenses, mirrors, and polarizers. Finally, we will look at how controlling light is important to many technologies from lasers to smart phones. Through hands-on activities, we will discover surprising aspects of light not obvious in everyday life.

Instructors: David Moore, Assistant Professor of Physics. Sumita Ghosh, graduate student in Physics.

ForAGirl: Engaging Girls in STEM through Video Game Research Research

Hosted by the Yale Play2Prevent Laboratories, this specialized workshop provides hands-on research training to Pathways students. Students will work with highly qualified female mentors from the Yale School of Medicine to participate in the steps involved with developing video games that promote healthy behavior. Participants will learn about research, clinical practice, game intervention design and evaluation methods.  As a part of this workshop, students will attend daily lunch-time talks from Yale women faculty and may conduct offsite activities in their communities. Note: this workshop occurs from 1pm to 5pm each day of the Pathways Summer Scholars Program.

Instructors: Lynn E. Fiellin, Associate Professor of Medicine (General Medicine) and in the Child Study Center; Director, Yale Center for Health & Learning Games. Kimberly Hieftje, Research Scientist in Medicine (General Medicine), Yale School of Medicine. Claudia-Santi Fernandes, Associate Research Scientist at Yale Center for Health & Learning Games. Tyra Pendergrass, Associate Director of play2PREVENT Lab.

Hormones and Behavior | Biology/Biological Anthropology

Social behaviors, such as aggression, bonding, love, and parental care, are fundamental parts of human life. In this course, we will use these topics, among others, to explore the field of behavioral endocrinology, which studies the interactions between hormones and behavior. We will learn scientific fundamentals of how hormones alter the development and expression of behavior and how behaviors influence the production and effects of hormones. We will also investigate the methods researchers use to study behavioral endocrinology through hands-on demosntrations and tours of the Yale Reproductive Ecology Laboratory.

Instructors: Margaret Corley, post-doctoral researcher in Biological Anthropology.

Learning about the Brain with Bugs | Biology

To say that the brain is an extremely complex system is something of an understatement! Understanding even a small part of the brain is a truly exciting prospect, and this course will focus on how neuroscientists use insect model organisms to learn about how the brain is organized into circuits, and how those circuits are studied in the laboratory. We will begin by exploring optical illusions and learn how we can test our own visual perception, and then we will gain hands-on experience with techniques used to study vision in the lab - and learn what insects can tell us about our own brains! Students will work with a variety of techniques used in neuroscience research, including brain imaging, genetic manipulation, and behavioral measurements in fly-sized virtual reality, and will design and analyze data from experiments that will probe neurons involved in a motion-detecting circuit in the visual system.

Instructors: Bara Badwan and Catherine Matulis, graduate students of Molecular, Development, and Cellular Biology.

Math, Modeling & Microbes | Biology

In this course, we’ll investigate how a microbial population grows! In order to make predictions about this system, we’ll build a model and explore it through interactive Python programs. Finally we’ll put our predictions to the test by doing an experiment with actual microbes. By connecting these distinct activities - model-building, programming and experimentation - we’ll learn how scientists work day-to-day and why it’s often more useful to ask interesting questions than find the right answers.

Instructors: Smita Gopinath, postdoctoral fellow in Immunobiology.

Model Organisms in Biology: The Mighty Worm  |  Biology

C. elegans (or “worms”) are tiny (1 mm), transparent organisms with approximately 1000 cells that eat bacteria to survive. Despite their seemingly simple nature, they have provided significant insights into many areas in research and medicine, including understanding how the brain works and determining strategies to stop aging. This workshop will provide a lens into the daily life of a biologist that uses C. elegans to ask important questions in the life sciences. The goal is to stimulate students to think about how their own outstanding scientific questions could be addressed using the toolbox provided by this tiny, but mighty, “worm.”

Instructors: Shirin Bahmanyar, Assistant Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. Lauren Penfield, graduate student in MCDB. Michael Mauro, graduate student in MCDB. Razvan Azamfirei, masters student in MCDB.

Molecule by Molecule: Seeing & Manipulating Single Molecules | Chemistry

Chemists “see” the nanoscopic world of atoms and molecules with light. We see chemical bonds forming and breaking with colors of light ranging from the ultraviolet to the infrared and build instruments to carefully measure what our eyes cannot. In this laboratory course, you will build your own spectrometer (to keep) and use it to learn how molecules absorb and emit light. We will also learn the inner workings of microscopes by examining how we use them to make images and seeing them in action in Yale labs.

Instructor: Ziad Ganim, Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Musical Acoustics & Instrument Design: When Engineering Meets Music | Engineering

Students will learn about basic engineering tools that can be used to design and build musical instruments ranging from electronic to mechanical. We will go over some music and acoustic concepts and then jump into building simple electronic circuits that play tones, as well as design and build mechanical objects that vibrate pleasantly.

Instructor: Konrad Kaczmarek, Assistant Professor in the Music Department & Larry Wilen, Senior Research Scientist in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Rethinking Chemistry: Applications, Reputations, and Impacts | Chemistry

This class will explore the history, media attention, and applications of controversial topics in chemistry, including heavy metals, genetic engineering, and pharmaceutical drugs. By the end of the course, you will have a more complete understanding of how and why these topics have impacted our world and, conversely, how society has conditioned us to respond to them in a particular way. We will learn chemistry and biology in a hands-on, experimental way, and supplement our knowledge of the topics we learn with news articles and videos. On the final day of class, you will take on the role of a government lobbyist and present an argument for or against a chemical principle that impacts your daily life.

Instructor: David Caianiello, Ph.D. student in Chemistry.

Sensory Physiology  |  Biology

Touch, temperature, tastes, and smells provide important information from the environment that our bodies need in order to perform essential functions. We’ll explore our senses through hands-on experiments like infrared imaging, touch, and temperature sensitivity assays, taste experiments, and electrophysiological recordings from insects. Finally, the workshop will culminate in an amazing cockroach race! We will split into small groups to create “robo-roaches”—cockroaches whose sensory physiology has been manipulated so that their movements can be controlled with the swipe of a smartphone!

Instructor: Elena Gracheva, Assistant Professor of Cellular and Molecular Physiology and of Neuroscience

The Weird World of the Very Small: The Science of Nanoscale  |  Material Science & Biomedical Engineering

Nanoscience is the study of materials roughly one billion times smaller than solids visible to the naked eye. Due to their nano-size, these materials have unique properties that have been exploited for applications in medicine, alternative energy, and electronics. In this laboratory course, you will synthesize gold nanoparticles, characterize their properties (why are gold particles red?), and use them as chemical sensors to detect electrolytes in sports drinks. In addition to the hands-on laboratory experience, we will demystify fundamental concepts in nanoscience through group discussions, lectures, and a final laboratory activity.

Instructors: Stephanie Laga and Rishi Agarwal, graduate students of Chemistry.

Understanding GMOs - Science, Philosophy, and Dialogue  |  Biology

Genetically Modified crops have been on the global market since 1994. Since then, rapid advances in agricultural biotechnology have brought progress and fear, leading to notable conflicts between scientists, industry, and the public. What is a GMO? Ever wonder how they are made? Why are GMOs so controversial? In order to understand and simplify this highly complex topic, we will investigate its social, philosophical, and scientific foundations through discussions, lectures, and activities, without test tubes. 

Instructor: Michael Grome, graduate student in Cell Biology

Using Computers for Simulations & Modeling Physics/Programming

Did you ever wonder how scientists and engineers predict weather patterns, study molecular machines in your cells, and design spaceships to land on the moon? Well, computers are used to simulate and model these behaviors using a few simple laws of physics! In this class you will learn how computers are used to design programs to predict trajectories of rockets and other projectiles through hands-on learning in the computer lab. This course will end with a water balloon launch to test our own simulations!

Instructor: Nandan Pandit, graduate student in Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry