Meinig School hosts CURIE Academy for high school girls
Last week, the Meinig School hosted forty junior and senior high school girls in Weill Hall for afternoon design and research sessions as part of Cornell Engineering Diversity Program’s CURIE Academy, a one-week summer residential program for high school girls who excel in math and science.
Held July 16-22 at various locations across Cornell’s campus, the CURIE Academy featured morning field sessions led by Cornell Engineering faculty in various engineering disciplines, followed by afternoon sessions involving a research/design project, where CURIE scholars worked in small collaborative groups under the auspices of a Cornell Engineering faculty research director. This year’s project was led by Meinig School associate professor Jan Lammerding and titled, “Squishing cells to stop cancer in its tracks.” Working with Lammerding Lab graduate students in these sessions, CURIE scholars focused on the physical aspects of how and why cancer cells spread. In particular, they investigated the physics of cancer cell invasion, the design and use of microfluidic tools to measure the mechanical properties of microscopic particles, and analysis tools to distinguish aggressive cancer cells from more benign cancers and from normal cells.
The CURIE Academy is a one-week summer residential program for high school girls who excel in math and science. The focus is on juniors and seniors who may not have had prior opportunities to explore engineering, but want to learn more about the many opportunities in engineering in an interactive atmosphere. The program is led by Cornell University's world-renowned faculty and graduate students, who lead CURIE participants in field sessions, lab demonstrations, and project research. Social events, panel discussions, and other out-of-classroom activities provide participants with opportunities to network informally with Cornell faculty, staff, and students.
The Lammerding Lab investigates the intricate interplay between cellular structure, mechanics and function through an interdisciplinary research approach that combines engineering principles, microfabrication, and cell and molecular biology techniques, as well as the development and application of novel experimental assays. Their team is composed of students and postdoctoral researchers with a broad range of backgrounds, including (biomedical) engineering, biology, chemistry and other life sciences, who explore creative solutions to relevant biological and clinical problems. Their research is focused on the nuclear envelope and its interface with the surrounding cytoskeleton, as mutations in nuclear envelope proteins are responsible for more than 10 human diseases, such as muscular dystrophy, dilated cardiomyopathy, and premature aging (Hutchison-Gilford progeria syndrome). Furthermore, abnormal expression of nuclear envelope proteins expression has recently been identified in numerous cancers, often correlating with negative clinical outcomes.