The Chem club had lots of fun going to WatsonVille high school to show the students a few demonstrations, such as the methanol boom, Elephant's toothpaste, and burning different compounds to see different colored flames. On top of that, the students were able to do some experiments for themselves! One of them was extracting the DNA for strawberries and the other was to analyze the motion of molecules by placing baloons and flowers into liquid nitrogen. Overall the students seemed to really enjoy the demos/ experiments and the UCSC Chem Club enjoyed working with them.
The chemistry club had an exciting time at the Science Alive! Event at Gavilan College in Gilroy, CA. We enjoyed inspiring young students with our exciting demos including dry ice bubbles, red cabbage pH indicators, and homemade lava lamps. We hope to work with the Science Alive! Community for years to come. Students were especially excited to learn about the process of sublimation when examining the dry ice bubbles. We thank the chemistry department, all the volunteers, and Science Alive! Staff that made this event this possible. By examining the separation of oil and water, we were able to create lava lamps when an antacid tablet is added.
Hey Chem Club,
On November 28, we were able to set up a tour of our labs for Watsonville High School’s Chemistry Club. We showed them a snippet of our Undergrad lives of what it’s like to be in college and in research at a University. The High School's Chemistry Club were able to see inside Yat Li’s, Glenn Millhauser’s, Scott Lokey’s, and Peter Weiss’s labs and got to see what they, their Grad students, and Undergrad students get to research and do inside the lab everyday.
Thanks so much to Watsonville High School and their students for coming over and letting us show our research. We hope our passion and love for chemistry will spark interest in science for them like it did with us!
Hey Chem Club, welcome to a new year! Our club started our first event for the school year with Alex Ayzner's tour of SLAC’s National Accelerator Laboratory and their accelerator which showed us the extent of what x-ray spectroscopy can do. The tour led us into one of the accelerators in which we walked around seeing various beam lines and other machines that helps relay data from the accelerator. Thanks again to Alex Ayzner for giving us the opportunity to see the laboratory and teaching us all about spectroscopy!
Yesterday some members of the Chemistry Club visited the Genentech headquarters in South San Francisco and toured the cell culture pilot plant.
A pilot plant mass produces recombinant E. coli and Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cells for use in further research and testing. The process starts with an original sample of E. coli or CHO, usually obtained from a research lab. It is grown in a 10 liter bioreactor where the pH, O2 concentration, temperature, and nutrient levels are closely monitored. After the cells are grown, samples are placed in a larger bioreactor and a even bigger one once the previous stage is completed. CHO doubles every 72 hours and E. coli doubles every 20 minutes, so these samples must be transferred as they grow. After the cells are cultured, the samples are homogenized and run in an array with pores that separate proteins from lipids and DNA. The proteins are isolated using column chromatography loaded with Protein A (a resin with affinity for a wide range of proteins).
Many of the processes that go on in the pilot plant are completely automated in order to decrease production time and eliminate human error. All of the bioreactors are automated, probes with in the bioreactors will measure and regulate the conditions inside. Other devices can count the number of cells as well as determine the viability of the cells. There is a even a device that labels tubes and gives each of them unique barcodes. If you have messy handwriting, you never have to worry!
The pilot plant focuses on small scale manufacturing to observe and optimize the process that will be used in larger scale manufacturing. This is an intermediate step between research and mass manufacturing. Much of the process is a large-scale application of lab research being done at UCSC. Once the protein or small molecule can be produced on a large scale, it will enter testing to see if it is a viable drug.
It costs $3 billion and takes 15 years to produce a drug that will be on the market. Genentech prides themselves on incorporating sustainable processes. All waste after production is neutralized and disposed, any hazardous waste is collected by Genentech and disposed of properly, and materials used are recyclable. The whole campus is aiming towards sustainability by providing charging stations for electric/ hybrid vehicles, waste sorting such as compost and recyclables, and environmentally friendly chemical disposal.
During the final weekend of Spring Break, three undergraduate chemistry students from the UCSC Chemistry Club attended the American Chemical Society Fair & Exposition. Martina Morelli (third year Chemistry major), Belle Zheng (second year Chemistry major), and Eva Jason (third year Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major) attended the Spring ACS conference in San Francisco. These experiences proved invaluable for these students and the club as a whole.
Since this trip would not have been possible without the generous support from the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department, the club is very thankful for the donations from the Department that allowed them to attend this meeting.
Taking part in this gathering of distinguished chemists has enriched the club’s chemical education and introduced them to state-of-the-art chemistry research from around the globe. Below is a summary of the experiences from the attendees.
To maximize exposure to the diverse science exhibited at the conference, each student had picked out sessions they had thought would be interesting and split up. The eventual goal was to expose the remaining Chemistry Club members to the breadth of individual ACS experiences. At the meeting, the club members encountered expansive topics that they had not been exposed in the school curriculum. While Martina learned about “Frontiers in Nanoscience,” Belle and Eva heard from other undergraduate ACS chapters from around the country and got ideas for chemistry demonstrations they could perform at local Santa Cruz elementary schools. One of the most interesting demonstrations was from the University of Michigan - Flint. The students there had devised a demo using pennies to explain how acidic water caused the protective layer in the lead pipes to be stripped away, allowing for the heavy metal to enter the water supply. Next, Eva and Belle heard about the science behind fermented Korean foods. Each researcher presented their work in studying the fermentation processes and its impact on flavor in Korean foods—specifically tea, soy sauce, and rice wine. Eva then heard about peptide design that allowed for new methods of drug delivery and development. Martina and Belle attended sessions in the “Division of Energy and Fuels” on supercapacitors and batteries, a topic Martina has been researching in a campus lab. Martina stayed for additional days, learning about lithium-air batteries, metal oxides used for electrodes, stabilizing water for use as electrolyte material in lithium-ion batteries, and the army’s research on light-weight capacitors to wear as patches on clothing. She also heard a talk on porous organic polymers used for mercury removal.
In addition to hearing compelling talks on new fields of chemistry, the three students also found it valuable to network with other students, professionals, and researchers.
At the exposition, the students spoke to representatives from companies to hear about what types of jobs in fields such as biotechnology, chemical sales, and even within the FBI are available after graduation. At the poster session, the students were able to get a glimpse into the life of a graduate student, thereby helping them prepare for the realities of future graduate school endeavors.
During the first Chemistry Club meeting of the Spring quarter, the students who attended the meeting shared what they learned and enriched the group as a whole.
The experiences gained through the ACS fair provided incomparable inspiration for students as to possibilities within the field of chemistry, in terms of research, academia, and industry. Students gained insights into tangible applications of what they learn in class as well as glimpses into their future research goals.