BLOSSOMS - Discovering Medicines Using Robots & Computers with Anne Carpenter & Mark Bray
Video Summary: Scientists who are working to discover new medicines often use robots to prepare samples of cells, allowing them to test chemicals to identify those that might be used to treat diseases. Students will meet a scientist who works to identify new medicines. She created free software that "looks" at images of cells and determines which images show cells that have responded to the potential medicines. Students will learn about how this technology is currently enabling research to identify new antibiotics to treat tuberculosis. Students will complete hands-on activities that demonstrate how new medicines can be discovered using robots and computer software, starring the student as "the computer." In the process, the students learn about experimental design, including positive and negative controls. Students should have some introductory knowledge about the following topics: (1) biology: students should have a basic understanding of infection and good hygiene, they should know what bacteria and cells are; (2) chemistry: the students should know what a chemical compound (molecule) is. They should have an understanding that medicines, also called “drugs”, are chemical compounds; (3) basic experimental design: students should understand the terms “samples” and “testing”. All hand-outs necessary for this video lesson can be downloaded below.