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Middle-schoolers discover novel chemical bond

Middle school students from rural Maine will present a poster at the Experimental Biology 2013 conference detailing how their involvement with the Aspirnaut science-outreach program led to them becoming active scientific researchers.

Students from the Dedham School in Dedham, Maine, were participants in the Aspirnaut program (, a science-outreach program started at Vanderbilt University, in which scientists engage with middle- and high-school students through videoconferencing. Showing a great interest in the research that was being demoed by Vanderbilt scientists, four talented Dedham students volunteered to become part of the research project. Guided by their teacher and Aspirnaut organizers, the students worked to corroborate and expand on the discovery of a novel chemical bond found in animal tissues. Their research found that this bond, which they describe as an "essential innovation for the genesis of animal tissues," was also present in another lineage of multicellular organisms, thus demonstrating its evolutionary importance. This novel discovery will be included in a soon-to-be published scientific article.

After their discovery, the students made great efforts to inform members of their community about their research and its implications, thereby bringing the outreach effort full circle. The students will be at the Experimental Biology conference to talk about their experiences and how the Aspirnaut outreach program got them interested and involved with science.

WHERE: Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, 415 Summer St., Boston, Mass.

WHEN: 5:30 p.m. Saturday, April 20


Contact: Angela Hopp
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology

Page: 1

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