Girl Scout STEM Badges, Shark Week (Abstract Science: July 24-28)
The Girl Scouts of the USA roll out new STEM badges, restoring muscle function in animals, and could shark bacteria be a new source of antibiotics?
(The Verge, 7/25/2017, Dani Deahl)
It’s not all about the cookies. The Girl Scouts of the USA introduced 23 new badges in the areas of science, technology, engineering, math, and the outdoors. It's the largest addition of new badges in a decade for Girl Scouts of the USA. The effort takes a progressive approach to STEM and also nudges girls to become citizen scientists using the great outdoors as their laboratory. Among the new badges are those that introduce kindergarten and first graders to the world of robots and engineering. Scouts can learn basic programming and build prototypes to solve everyday problems. Older scouts will have the chance to enhance those skills, learning more about artificial intelligence, algorithms and how to formally present their work.
(The Scientist, 7/25/2017, Diana Kwon)
Did you know that some golden retrievers can develop Duchenne muscular dystrophy? Using gene therapy, scientists were able to restore muscle function in dogs with the disease. Researchers injected microdystrophin, a shortened version of the dystrophin gene that individuals with DMD lack, into 12 dogs with the disease. The treatment led to improved muscle function in those animals for more than two years. Duchenne’s continues to be a hot topic in the science world. You may remember an article that our Eureka Blog featured on the use of MDX mice to study Duchenne’s.
(WTOP, 7/27/2017, Michelle Basch)
Well it’s no secret that the blood of horseshoe crabs helps saves lives but someday you may be able to thank a shark. Scientists are participating in a mid-Atlantic expedition by the shark-tagging-and-tracking group OCEARCH. This expedition allows scientists to study and get close to captured sharks to obtain bacteria samples. Sharks heal quickly and have very effective immune systems which could lead to medical breakthroughs in the drug discovery field.
—Compiled by Social Media Specialist Jillian Scola