Special Events & Workshops Science Fair 2012
Carnegie Science Center’s 73rd Annual Pittsburgh Regional
Science & Engineering Fair (PRSEF)
PTEI/McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine
Sponsor Award Winners
Robert Specht, Grade 8Project: "Doctors, Clean Your Pens"
School: Greensburg Central Catholic Junior High School
Teacher: Pam Cullen
I provided an untouched pen to a pediatrician’s office, a family physician’s office, and an ER center for 5 days. The receptionist was in charge of monitoring the pens. After receiving all the pens back, each pen was swabbed and placed on a Petri dish. I waited 30 days and examined the dishes under a microscope. I recorded the data. My hypothesis was incorrect. The Petri dishes from the pediatrician’s office had nearly double the volume of bacteria from the Petri dishes than the ER dishes. When was the last time you cleaned the pen you are using right now?
Alicia Grabiec, Grade 11Project: “Effect Mirna on Fibroblasts Fibrot Prep”
School: Freeport Senior High School
Teacher: Donald Orlowski
The purpose of this experiment is to determine whether or not the transfection of miR30b in human fetal lung fibroblast cells will alter the expression of fibrotic properties of these cells. I hypothesize that compared to the control, a successful transfection of miR30b into human fetal lung fibroblast cells should result in the down regulation of fibrotic activity and a decrease in their mesenchymal gene expression. Methods that were used are transfection, real-time PCR, scratch, migration, and proliferation assays. I conclude that modifying microRNA profiles in fibroblasts may be a therapeutic modality in diseases characterized by fibroblast proliferation.
About the PRSEF:
This year 1,108 students in grades 6-12, from 120 schools, competed for more than $1 million in cash prizes and scholarships. This is the largest number of PRSEF participants since 1975. PRSEF is a major initiative of Carnegie Science Center’s Chevron Center for STEM Education and Career Development—a wide range of experiences that excite and inspire students grades Pre K-12 to explore regional, cutting-edge STEM topics and careers. Experiences range from hands-on exhibits by corporations, universities, and organizations, to presentations and workshops where students interact directly with scientists and other professionals in the fields.