Biomedical Innovations students conclude year of research with presentations
Biomedical Innovations students conclude year of research with presentations
Thursday, May 16, 2019
For the past year, students in the College Credit Biomedical Innovations class at Pattonville High School have been conducting independent research projects of their own choosing. To conclude their work, they presented their research and findings to an audience of students, staff and other guests in the high school auditorium.

During their presentations, they shared the goal of their research projects, the background research they conducted, the steps they took for their experiments, their research findings, possible options for further study and their thanks and acknowledgement to students and staff who helped them in their efforts. Students who presented and the names of their presentations are as follows:

  • Mikayla Bridges, "Cast Away!";
  • Lucas Gibson, "Outgrowing Aging;"
  • Mario Jauregui, "Optimization of Bacterial Transformation;"
  • Roma Khurana, "Analgesics and Hand Grip Strength;"
  • Marisa Ruggiero, "To the Bone: A Decompositional Study;"
  • T.J. Simer, "How Gross is Your Favorite Bathroom?";
  • Samuel Vaclavik, "Ear Biometrics Involving Intelligent Pathfinding of the Auricle;" and
  • Gabrielle Ziegler, "Stabbed in the Back, A Decompositional Study."
Following each presentation, the students responded to questions from the audience, such as why they chose their research topic.

"I think it was just interesting," Simer said about why he chose to study bacterial colonies in school bathrooms. "I'm really fascinated by bacteria and microorganisms." He said he even has a microscope at home because he likes to "go to the level you can't see."

An audience member asked Jauregui about the practical applications for his research. He said research on bacterial transformation is applicable for manufacturing hormones which are used for a variety of health-related treatments and medicines such as insulin, vaccines and gene therapy.

Bridges and Vaclavik engaged the support of other staff in conducting their research.

Bridges was studying "how durable casts are and whether they are doing a good job of keeping bacteria out." Part of her research involved manufacturing a cast with a 3D printer at school, and she was aided by industrial tech teachers Darrell Langston and Jonathan Saettele. She also developed and tested a polypropylene cast that uses some of the same materials found in football helmets, which turned out to be a durable material when put to a force test.

Vaclavik enlisted the assistance of his computer science teacher Jeremiah Simmons and Simon Amies, who is the web and database administrator for the Pattonville School District. His research on ear biometrics involved writing code to determine whether the rough surfaces of the outer ear could be used for biometrics in the same way fingerprints and facial recognition are used to keep technological devices and other personal belongings secure.

Biomedical Innovations is a capstone course that enables students to apply their knowledge and skills to answer questions or solve problems related to the biomedical sciences. Students in the class completed all four years of the biomedical science program at Pattonville High School. Their teacher is Jamie Jobe.

Pattonville began offering the national Project Lead The Way (PTLW) biomedical sciences program in the 2013-2014 school year in conjunction with its previously established engineering and computer science programs. The biomedical program is a rigorous four-course sequence that gives students the opportunity to investigate the roles of biomedical professionals as they study the concepts of human medicine, physiology, genetics, microbiology, public health and forensic sciences. They examine the structures and interaction of human body systems and explore the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease, all while working collaboratively to understand and design solutions to the most pressing challenges of today and the future.

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Biomedical sciences teacher Jamie Jobe, center, is shown with students who completed capstone research projects in her class.