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American Society of Cell Biology 46 th Annual Meeting. K12 Science Partnership Lunch. Tactile Teaching: Exploring the Molecular World with Physical Models of Proteins and Other Molecular Structures. by

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American Society of Cell Biology46th Annual Meeting

K12 Science Partnership Lunch

Tactile Teaching:Exploring the Molecular World with Physical Models of Proteins and Other Molecular Structures


Tim Herman and Margaret Franzen Milwaukee School of EngineeringCenter for BioMolecular Modeling

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The MSOE Center for BioMolecular Modeling

  • We make physical models of molecular structures, using rapid prototyping technology.

  • Science Education Outreach Mission

    • Professional Development Program for High School Science Teachers

    • Undergraduate Curriculum Development

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Any image that can be created in the computer environment of RasMol,…

… can now be converted to a physical model by rapid prototyping.

Protein Models….in 4 Easy Steps

x,y,z coordinatesProtein Data Bank

Ply/Stl file


Z Corp 3D-Printer

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From the Protein Data Bank at RasMol,…

239 amino acids

1833 Total Atoms

A Protein Model Starts with its PDB File.

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Each triangle,--- RasMol,…3 points and a vector


...its all about triangles.

A Heme Group

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Powerful RasMol,…


Physical Models are Thinking Tools

Physical Models

  • are (almost) universally effective in capturing students’ interest

  • allow you to “see” things that are not obvious in computer-generated images.

  • stimulate questions.

  • are synergistic with computer visualization tools

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Exploring the Models I RasMol,…

Water Kits…

Amino Acid Starter Kit

  • Because:

  • Life happens in water.

  • Proteins fold in water.

  • How does a protein know what shape to fold up into?

  • The basic laws of chemistry that drive protein folding.

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Physical Models and Computer Visualization --- are Synergistic


How stringently are the “ChemicalPrinciples that Govern Protein Folding” applied to real proteins?

--- A Jmol Tutorial ---

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Science Education Outreach Programs Synergistic

  • NIH SEPA Program

    • Summer Course for High School Teachers

    • Two Student Enrichment Programs

      • SMART Teams

      • Science Olympiad Protein Folding event

  • NSF-CCLI Curriculum Projects

    • Proteins in Active Learning Modules

      • PALM Workshop – June 2007

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The PALM Project Synergistic

Proteins in Active Learning Modules

  • An NSF-CCLI Project

    • Making the Molecular World “Real” through the use of:

      • 1. Physical Models

      • 2. Computer Visualization Tools (Jmol)

      • 3. Illustrations

      • 4. Flash Animations

      • 5. Graphical Representations of Data

Multiple Representations of Molecular Structures.

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…and a good teacher! Synergistic

Molecular Stories

Compelling molecular stories begin withPhysical Models…

…and are elaborated with an artful combination of

Computer Visualizations



Graphical Representations of Data

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Two Molecular Stories Synergistic

Evolution in Action

Molecular Gymnastics

The Influenza HA Protein


How the influenza virus hemagglutinin protein undergoes a dramatic conformational change upon endocytosis, leading to fusion of the viral and cellular membranes.

How an effort to control mosquito populations by spraying with an insecticide inevitably leads to the emergence of resistant mosquitoes.

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The MSOE Model Lending Library Synergistic

  • Physical Model Collections --- in suitcases

  • Borrow for two weeks, “just like a book from Inter-Library Loan”

  • No Cost, --- except for return postage.

  • In Two Formats:

    • Classroom Sets

    • Discussion Props / Lab Stations

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Discussion Props and Lab Stations Synergistic

  • Introduction to Protein Structure

  • Serine Protease Collection

  • Ribosome Collection

  • Membrane Transport Collection

  • Zinc Finger Collection

  • DNA Collection

  • Acetylcholinesterase ~New~

  • Immunology Collection ~New~

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Classroom Sets Synergistic

  • Amino Acid Starter Kit©

  • Water Kit© Collection

  • NaCl Lattices

  • Alpha Helix/Beta Sheet Collection ~New~

  • BioInformatics Map of the β-Globin Gene©

  • DNA Discovery Kit©

  • Mini-Toober β-Globin Folding Kit©

  • MHC Class I Collection ~New~

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The PALM Project Synergistic

Proteins in Active Learning Modules

A 3-Day Summer Workshop for Undergraduate Faculty

June 6-8, 2007

Milwaukee School of Engineering

Models / Jmols / Animations / Illustrations

Assessment Instruments

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3D Molecular Designs Synergistic

  • A Small Business, spun off of the CBM

  • A Dual Mission:

    • To develop and commercialize innovative instructional materials

    • To create custom protein models for researchers.

  • R&D Program Supported by SBIR awards

    • RP-RasMol design software; Water Kit; DNA Discovery Kit; Paper Bioinformatics Maps; Beta-Globin Toober Folding Kit etc.

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Rapid Prototyping Technology Synergistic

  • An Additive Manufacturing Technology

  • A Layer-by-Layer Approach

  • Five Technologies

    • Sterolithography

    • Laminated Object Manufacturing

    • Selective laser Sintering

    • Fused Deposition Modeling

    • Color Z Corporation 3D Printing