CELL BIOLOGY (1972-2014)
The goal of my laboratory was to understand interactions between cells and their extracellular environment. Our research contributed to the discovery of the adhesion protein fibronectin. We characterized the role of material surface properties in determining fibronectin function and established the potential importance of fibronectin in tissue engineering and wound repair. We popularized using human wound fluid to analyze the human wound environment and learned that chronic wounds contain degraded fibronectin and elevated proteinase enzyme levels. Our research also focused on using tissue cells interacting with three dimensional collagen extracellular matrices to study wound contraction and tissue biomechanics. From 1973 to 2014, the laboratory was funded continuously by the National Institutes of Health including a MERIT award from 1999-2008.
SCIENCE EDUCATION (2014- )
Next Generation Science Standards describes student experience of the practices of science as one of three essential dimensions of science education, “students cannot comprehend scientific practices, nor fully appreciate the nature of scientific knowledge itself, without directly experiencing those practices for themselves.” Science and engineering fairs offer students an opportunity to experience these practices for themselves. Moreover, student SEF participation begins in schools but, as the level of SEF competition progresses from school to district to region to state to national, the out of school community becomes more and more involved with community science fair directors and their advisory committees coordinating SEF activities including recruiting large numbers of volunteer judges from academia, industry, and the community at large. Therefore, SEFs also represent a paradigmatic example of school and community partnerships engaged in STEM education. The goal of our research is to establish a base of knowledge regarding student and teacher experiences in high school science and engineering fairs. Knowledge regarding student and teacher experiences in SEFs will make possible identification of best practices leading to more effective, inclusive, and equitable SEF learning opportunities thereby enhancing successful student participation and outcomes.