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Course Offerings for Academic Year 2013-2014

Global Warming: Energy and Atmospheric Change (CANCELLED because of low enrollment)

Bruce E. Fleury, Ph.D., Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
An introduction to the ways in which people use natural and manmade sources of energy, including the origin of fossil fuels, the history of their use by human societies, and the impact of the use of fossil fuels on the environment. Alternative sources of power will be considered, including nuclear and solar power, and hydrogen fuel cell technology. The nature and importance of global warming will be considered in detail, including an introduction to how past climate history is measured, the nature of the Ice Ages, and the role of clouds as sources of uncertainty in global warming models. The series will conclude with an examination of the effects that global warming will have on New Orleans.

Explorations in Animal Behavior (January 11 and 18, 2014 with a possible rain date of January 25, 2014)

Tracy Werner Sherry, Ph.D.
Why do animals behave the way they do? What can we learn about human behavior by studying how animals behave? Through a variety of field trips, students will learn basic observational methods and other field techniques through hands-on investigations of sexual differences between animals, territoriality, courtship and feeding behavior. Weather appropriate attire, sturdy footwear (no flip-flops), and bag lunch required. Field sites being considered include Audubon Zoo, Audubon Park Colonial Wading Bird Colony, Aquarium of the Americas, and Lakeside Mall (the human species).

The Discovery of Time (February 1, 15, and 22, 2014)

Bruce E. Fleury, Ph.D., Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Like all of us, scientists are shaped by the world around them. We will explore how ideas in biology and geology were shaped by social forces, such as religious beliefs, world view, and recognized authorities. The discovery of the prehistoric world, the modern renaissance of the dinosaur, and theories of mass extinction are great examples of how science often reflects theology, philosophy and society. We will conclude with a survey of creationism and intelligent design, which remind us that philosophy can not only shape scientific theory, but replace it as well.

Psychology as a Science (3 SPOTS LEFT, March 15, 22, and 29, 2014)

Thomas Hebert, Ph.D., Department of Psychology and Neuroscience

This course introduces students to research techniques used in Psychology research.  We will perform activities in Sensation and Perception, Neuroanatomy, Learning and Memory, Statistical analysis and scientific writing.

Hormone Regulation of Behavior and Cells (April 5 and 12, 2014)

Nandini Vasudevan, Ph.D., Departments of Cell and Molecular Biology and Neuroscience
This course examines the effect of drugs on anxiety and learning behavior in rodents as well as examines the effect of hormones on the behavior of its receptor.  Students will do behavioral and cellular experiments.

Solving Mysteries of the Past: Using Science in Archaeology (CANCELLED because of low enrollment)

Kit Nelson, Ph.D., New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA)
During the two-Saturday course, we will explore how science has been used to solve some of the great archaeological mysteries, to debunk hoaxes, and to understand the human past.  Using critical thinking skills, scientific method, and the tools of modern technology, students will learn now archaeologists uncover and understand the great mysteries of the human past by acting as archaeological detectives.  Several archaeological case studies will be used to demonstrate the science behind archaeological inquiry so that students can learn how to properly evaluate archaeological and scientific evidence and be exposed to important archaeological finds.  For more information, please contact Dr. Kit Nelson at knelson1@tulane.edu.


Below is a sample of classes that has been offered through the Tulane Science Scholars Program.

Previous Courses Offered in Academic Year Program

Drug Effects on the Behavior of Rats

Dr. Thomas Hebert, Psychology and Neuroscience
Dr. Gary Dohanich, Psychology and Neuroscience

Students will learn how to design, conduct, and analyze experiments using live rats to show the effects of alcohol on memory and coordination, and the effects of caffeine on activity. Rats will be trained to find a hidden escape platform in a water maze and then treated with a low dose of alcohol to determine if their memory for the platform location is impaired. Coordination will be determined by measuring the ability of rats to maintain their balance on a slowly rotating rod. Activity will be determined by measuring the number of movements in an open field maze. Data collected from these measures will be graphed and analyzed to allow students to quantify the effects of alcohol on memory and coordination and the effects of caffeine on activity.

Effect of Estrogens in Male Mice

Nandini Vasudevan, Ph.D., Cell and Molecular Biology and Neuroscience
Students will learn to design and conduct experiments to test the rapid effects of injected estrogen on aggressive behaviors in male mice. Gonadectomized male mice will be used as residents and tested for aggressive behavior against intruders. Behaviors will be "scored" analyzed and graphed by students to quantify the effects, if any, on estrogens on various parameters of aggressive and social behaviors.

Explorations in Animal Behavior

Tracy Werner Sherry, Ph.D.
Why do animals behave the way they do? What can we learn about human behavior by studying how animals behave? Through a variety of field trips, students will learn basic observational methods and other field techniques through hands-on investigations of sexual differences between animals, territoriality, courtship and feeding behavior. Weather appropriate attire, sturdy footwear (no flip-flops), and bag lunch required. Field sites being considered include Audubon Zoo, Audubon Park Colonial Wading Bird Colony, Aquarium of the Americas, and Lakeside Mall (the human species).

Global Warming: Energy and Atmospheric Change

Bruce E. Fleury, Ph.D., Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
An introduction to the ways in which people use natural and manmade sources of energy, including the origin of fossil fuels, the history of their use by human societies, and the impact of the use of fossil fuels on the environment. Alternative sources of power will be considered, including nuclear and solar power, and hydrogen fuel cell technology. The nature and importance of global warming will be considered in detail, including an introduction to how past climate history is measured, the nature of the Ice Ages, and the role of clouds as sources of uncertainty in global warming models. The series will conclude with an examination of the effects that global warming will have on New Orleans.

Raising Voices, Saving Lives

Vezira Hadzic, DVM BMS PhD candidate and anatomy pathology residence, Tulane National Primate Research Center
The professional veterinarian oath says “I solemnly swear to use my scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society through the protection of animal health, the relief of animal suffering, the promotion of public health, and the advancement of medical knowledge.” This course will give you answers to the common questions about research such as: why research is important, why animals are used in research, and the truth about animal research. Also this course will present the microscopic structure of cells, tissues, and organs, with emphasis on areas of research relevant to experimental pathology. During this course TSSP students may have an opportunity to visit the Tulane National Primate Research Center (not yet confirmed). In the pathology lab, students will be given the chance to identify tissues from different animals.

The Discovery of Time

Bruce E. Fleury, Ph.D., Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Like all of us, scientists are shaped by the world around them. We will explore how ideas in biology and geology were shaped by social forces, such as religious beliefs, world view, and recognized authorities. The discovery of the prehistoric world, the modern renaissance of the dinosaur, and theories of mass extinction are great examples of how science often reflects theology, philosophy and society. We will conclude with a survey of creationism and intelligent design, which remind us that philosophy can not only shape scientific theory, but replace it as well.

Robotics in Biomedical Engineering

Will Glindmeyer, Ph.D. candidate, Biomedical Engineering
Biomedical engineering will be one of the most exciting and fastest growing fields of the 21st century. It is an interdisciplinary field that incorporates principles of chemistry, physics, biology, math, and engineering. Within our lifetimes biomedical engineers will develop many new technologies that will change the way health care is administered throughout the world, ranging from growing tissues and organs in culture to designing more advanced prosthetics to improving techniques for diagnosing and treating diseases. At the beginning of each class we will briefly describe a different concentration of biomedical engineering (bioelectronics, biomechanics, cell and tissue engineering, and biomaterials) and talk about what kind of advances these fields could see in the near future. After the introduction, the majority of the class will be spent building robots from scratch using the Parallax BOE-bot kit. Robotics has many applications to biomedical engineering, ranging from prosthetics to large-scale diagnostic equipment in hospitals. We'll get some hands-on experience with robotics by building the bots and programming them to perform several challenging tasks.

How Things Work – "Reverse Engineering"

John C. Prindle, Jr., Ph.D., P.E., Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering
Do you like to take things apart to discover how they actually work? Are you a fan of McGyver, favoring brain over brawn in order to solve desperate problems? (Remember his main asset was his practical application of scientific knowledge and inventive use of common items—along with his ever-present Swiss Army knife and duct tape!) Come learn how everyday items function and find out what “reverse engineering” really means. If you took this class in the fall semester, feel free to join us again, as the “problems” will be different!

Robotics in Biomedical Engineering

Justin Cooper & Minhua Qiu, Ph.D. Candidates, Biomedical Engineering
Biomedical engineering will be one of the most exciting and fastest growing fields of the 21st century. It is an interdisciplinary field that incorporates principles of chemistry, physics, biology, math, and engineering. Within our lifetimes biomedical engineers will develop many new technologies that will change the way health care is administered throughout the world, ranging from growing tissues and organs in culture to designing more advanced prosthetics to improving techniques for diagnosing and treating diseases. At the beginning of each class we will briefly describe a different concentration of biomedical engineering (bioelectronics, biomechanics, cell and tissue engineering, and biomaterials) and talk about what kind of advances these fields could see in the near future. After the introduction, the majority of the class will be spent building robots from scratch using the Parallax BOE-bot kit. Robotics has many applications to biomedical engineering, ranging from prosthetics to large-scale diagnostic equipment in hospitals. We’ll get some hands-on experience with robotics by building the bots and programming them to perform several challenging tasks.

History of Life

Bruce E. Fleury, Ph.D., Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Covers the "discovery of time", which leads up to a discussion on creationism and intelligent design. It’s a nice peek at how scientific history intertwines with intellectual and social history and how it can be constrained by religious beliefs…Shows how Darwin's revolution in biology and Lyell's revolution in geology arose in part from the gradual discovery of how old the Earth really was. Several notable female scientists are restored to glory into the bargain, including Mary Anning, Mary Buckland, and Mary Lyell. “Scientific theories are models of reality constructed by human beings, and these models inevitably reflect, and are used to endorse, the values and interests of those who create them.” (Peter Bowler)

Taking on the Energy Crunch: Improving Power Grid Efficiency and Reliability

Maryclaire Peterson, Ph.D., Electrical Engineering, Entergy
As new technology continues to become available, energy consumption is drastically increasing and our dependence on reliable and consistent power delivery is becoming an important concern. Therefore, in an effort reduce the global energy shortage and improve energy efficiency, renewable energy resources, such as wind and sunlight, are becoming popular alternatives. In this session, we will look at the limitations of renewable energy resources and explore some other techniques that make the current power system more reliable. Using the Matlab software package, we will implement several simple power conversion schemes and observe their positive impact on system reliability. We will also discuss the Northeast blackout of 2003: what went wrong and what measures engineers have taken to avoid future problems.

Creativity in Engineering

John C. Prindle, Jr., Ph.D., P.E., Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering
Despite what you might think, all fields of engineering combine the rigor of the sciences with the creativity of art. Many of the world’s most important engineering inventions have resulted from the creative application of one or more of the sciences. This session will involve teams of students designing/building a device from everyday materials (e.g. balloons, paperclips, etc.) to achieve a specific objective. At the end of the course, there will be a competition to see which team’s device best achieves the objective.

Experience in Cancer (includes tour of Tulane Medical School)

Kamilah Jackson, M.D./Ph.D. candidate, M.S. Cell and Molecular Biology
This class will cover the basic mechanisms of cancer and the normal processes associated with it. It will also cover the causes of the five most common types of cancer: lung cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer, colon/rectal cancer and, non-meleanomic skin cancer. A hands-on experiment will be done in methods to detect cancer and a tour of the medical school will be given. After a discussion on medical treatments, we will also try to come up with new and innovative ways to treat cancer based on the knowledge gained in the course. If you have ever wondered why cancer is so deadly, this is the time to find out.

Spectroscopy & Nanotechnology (Chemistry and Chemical Engineering)
Infrared Spectroscopy: Applications in Chemistry and Forensics

Russ Schmehl, Ph.D., Chemistry Department
One of the most useful techniques for “fingerprinting” molecules and materials is infrared spectroscopy. It has become very widely used because of the tremendous flexibility in sampling and the ability to rapidly do signal averaging. In two sessions we will discuss how an infrared spectrophotometer works and use the instrument to observe its operation and illustrate its use in forensic analysis.

An Experience in Nanotechnology

Vijay John, Ph.D., Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering,
Jibao He, Coordinated Instrumentation Facility
Jingjing Zhan, Ph.D graduate student.

Students will receive hands-on experience in making nanostructured materials, through an interesting aerosol method. The implications of nanoscience to future technological developments will be shown through this example where a gram of material has enough surface area to cover a football field. Students will also be exposed to electron microscopy where we can actually visualize the interior nanostructure of the materials they have made. Through this experience students will gain an appreciation for nanotechnology and its implications to health, the environment, and to energy technologies.

Experience Biomedical Engineering!

Natalie Guthrey, Ph.D. graduate student
In these sessions, we will explore concepts in the field of Biomedical Engineering. Each class will begin with a brief lesson on an engineering and biologic concept accompanied by a fun experiment where we will see the concept in action! Each lesson will conclude with real-world applications and problems associated with the lesson. Example topics include prediction and measurement of lung capacity, building a circuit to measure your heart rate, fluid flow within your body, and how to engineer cells and tissues.

School of Science and Engineering, 201 Lindy Boggs Center, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5764 sse@tulane.edu