Project to develop instructional tools addressing drug abuse
Sept. 06, 2012 College News - The Center for BioMolecular Modeling (CBM) at Milwaukee School of Engineering has been awarded a four-year, $750,000 Science Education Drug Abuse Partnership Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to support a project entitled Drugs, Drug Targets and You. The project is a collaborative effort of the MSOE Center for BioMolecular Modeling, led by Tim Herman, PhD; the Medical College of Wisconsin Neuroscience Research Center, led by Cecilia Hillard, PhD; and Shuchismita Dutta of the Protein Data Bank at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.
Drugs, Drug Targets and You is a professional development program for high school science teachers focused on teaching the molecular mechanisms involved in drug abuse and addiction. CBM staff will work closely with high school teachers to develop innovative instructional materials that will engage their students in an active, inquiry-driven exploration of this area of science.
The initial planning for this project resulted from a collaboration between Drs. Herman and Hillard, facilitated by the Community Engagement Key Function of the Clinical and Translational Science Institute of Southeast Wisconsin.
Building on the success of previous CBM projects, the Drugs, Drug Targets and You instructional materials will include both physical models of proteins that serve as drug targets and molecular animations of the key roles played by these proteins in signaling pathways in the brain. These tools will allow students to discover basic mechanisms of drug action in an inquiry-driven way, and to develop an understanding of the molecular consequences of drug abuse. In addition, the cellular context in which the proteins function will be illustrated in unique cellular landscapes created by molecular artist David Goodsell of Scripps Research Institute.
This is the fourth in a series of major NIH awards to the MSOE CBM. Previous projects have focused on the development of innovative instructional materials related to basic concepts of molecular structure and function and in two student-enrichment programs, each of which is currently being disseminated at the national level: the SMART Team program (Students Modeling A Research Topic) matches teams of high school students and their teacher with a local research lab; and the Science Olympiad Protein Modeling Event, which was developed by the CBM as a large-scale way to introduce high school students to basic concepts of protein structure and function. The SMART Team program is currently supported by funds from the CTSI of Southeast Wisconsin.