What is the Hypothesis you are testing?
John and I are going to do research with an e-coli stand. We are going to test the e-coli against it's antibody, and see if they bind using the LED or Laser system. If time allows (normally research is ongoing and takes years), since we only have four weeks left, we may be able to compare our results of the Laser system against the LED system. The laser system will give more accurate results, but the LED system is what will eventually be affordable and taken into the field. Normally the BSAIL laboratory works with viral detection, but John and I proposed using the same system to detect bacteria (e-coli specifically). If we can successfully test the presence of bacteria at various quantities, then this system that is being developed to take into the field can be used as an environmental detector for water quality.
What kind of controls does the experiment have?
John and I are going to test the effectiveness of the IRIS system in detecting bacteria using possibly both the laser and LED systems. The laser system would be baseline data because it is more accurate and then we could compare our results using the LED system to our results from the laser system. Our first runs of the experiment may serve as a control to test other bacterial strains for binding. We have ordered a generic antibody for e-coli bacterial strains. Towards the end of our research if time allows we could run different bacterium against the antibody.
How will you measure your results?
We will measure our results using computer and graphical analysis of the images collected of the binding of the e-coli with the antibodies. The IRIS system is able to produce a visual image of binding as well as quantify.
How will the reliability of your data be ensured?
The reliability of our data will be ensured through repeated experimentation and the use of different equipment for bacterial detection. Alex, a graduate student here, works on the calibration of the laboratory equipment because one of his roles in the lab is to construct the equipment. We will need to run repeated experiments with varying concentrations to verify the data. Our data could potentially serve as (preliminary) baseline experimental data, which could one day be compared to results obtained in the field.
How will inquiry figure into your lesson plan?
I am looking forward to the challenge of implementing this experience into my curriculum. I think that a few of the concepts that I have been learning about this far will fit in nicely in my chemistry, biology, and ecology units. I will fit inquiry into my lesson planning by keeping in mind the curiosity and wonder that the students, may have for the individual project that I am working on.
What materials will you use to carry out your lesson
I hope that we will be able to bring a mask back to our classroom for our students to observe, I also hope to bring back images that were taken through out these six weeks to facilitate discussion and trigger questions. I would also like to use a laser and LED light simply to discuss the differences between the two and how they can be used as a biosensor.