Nano technology class conducts original research

Students in the Introduction to Nanotechnology classes have been working on original research projects that they will be presenting tomorrow, March 7 in the IJAS Regional science fair. The students will be competing in the project session of the fair.

Students in the Intro to Nanotech class spend their third term conducting research projects with the help of mentors from various universities, graduate programs and local industries.

“We try to tie all the projects into research that they can do with the equipment in the lab. It’s a science fair project, but with the cool equipment we have in here. They’re trying to go beyond what some students can do in other places,” Carol Bouvier, nanotechnology teacher, said.

Zoe Maglaris, senior, has been working on a project to develop an antibacterial material with her partner, Simi Kang, senior.

“Both of us are looking into the medical field so both of us decided that we wanted to do something with making an antibacterial material, which could be beneficial to the medical field,” Maglaris said.

Maglaris and Kang will present a poster and 38 page research paper at the science fair.

Kyle Levy and Vincent Parra, seniors, have been using the equipment in the nanotechnology lab to look at nanoparticles that could have the potential to attack cancer cells.

“It’s something that peaks my interest definitely. Who wouldn’t want to be doing cancer research in high school? It’s something I find really cool,” Levy said.

Isabel Chan and Hiba Fakhoury, seniors, have been researching seeds coat morphology and working with Dr. Louise Egerton, a mentor from Northwestern University and the Chicago Botanic Gardens, to complete their research.

“I chose to do a comparative study on seed coat morphology because I’ve always been interested in anthropology and history, and I thought that project would best suit my interest since it related to genetics and the history of seeds,” Chan said.

Chan and Fakhoury both presented at a wildlife conference at the University of Illinois on Saturday, Jan. 31. Forest preserve managers at the conference were able to ask the students questions and use their findings to support research relating to prairie conservation.

A lot of the Chicago Botanic Garden’s (CBG) research is related to is prairie restoration and working with plants in the area. (CBG’s) research was looking at the effects of heat and fire and smoke and how it relates to prairie burnings to see how regular prairie seeds would behave. We don’t have a lot of prairie in Illinois, but they’ve done a lot of work to maintain what we do have.  Forest preserves are interested in this,” Ms. Bouvier said.

Students in both Ms. Bouvier’s and Lisa Del Muro’s nanotechnology classes will be presenting tomorrow. If their work is selected for the state science fair, they will continue to work on and revise their research. Students will also be submitting their work to the Positive Impact competition that will be held at WHS in April.

According to Levy, the projects were more challenging than he expected them to be, but he is excited to present his work at the science fair.

“It’s all been a lot more work than I expected. It’s definitely a lot of hard work and it takes a lot of patience,” Levy said.