Columbia University Summer Research Program for Science Teachers


August 23, 1995

Investigating the Regulation of Leukocyte Adhesion Through Extracellular Matrices

Dana J. Solecki, Saint Ann's School, 129 Pierrepont Street, Brooklyn Heights, New York 11201


To examine the relationship between leukocyte adhesion and migration in response to chemoattractants.

Student Preparation:

Prior to the investigation, students will have been introduced to sterile culture techniques using bacterial cultures. Additionally, students will have studied the responsiveness of bacteria and protozoa to various stimuli including chemoattractants. Students will apply similar techniques and procedures to studying the effect of chemoattractants on leukocytes. [Teaching Standard D - Making resources available]


After having reviewed with the students the chapter on sterile techniques in DNA Science, I will demonstrate the techniques using a mock cell culture. The students will spend the remainder of the period practicing and perfecting their sterile culture technique. Students will record in their laboratory book the protocol and any problems they encountered when performing the procedures.


The students will develop several procedures for studying the leukocyte/chemoattractant relationship [Content Standard A - Design and conduct experiments]. I will provide them with the results of my summer research, an outline of my research protocol [Teaching Standard E - Model skills of inquiry], and all of the equipment and reagents necessary, and ask them to devise several procedures that will enable them to answer the following questions:

  1. What is the relationship between various extracellular matrix components and leukocyte adhesion;
  2. What role do chemoattractants play in adhesion of leukocytes to extracellular matrices;
  3. Is there any variation in the degree of cell adhesion to extracellular matrices.
    [Content Standard C - The Cell] [Content Standard Unifying Concepts- Change, constancy, measurement]

The students will have four full weeks of research time in order to answer the foregoing questions [Teaching Standard D - Extended investigations]. Since I meet with each student independently one day a week , I will use a portion of that time to review and supervise the student's progress [Teaching Standard C - Ongoing assessment] [Teaching Standard B - Guide and facilitate learning]. I will assist in determining the feasibility of the student's research plan, and I will help refine each student's procedures and techniques.


After having completed the experimentation, each student will present a brief presentation to the class outlining the question investigated, the procedures, and the results [Content Standard A - Communicate and defend]. Then, as a class, we will develop a protocol for addressing each of the questions presented. The class will be divided into groups and will use the agreed upon protocol to reexamine the relationship between leukocyte adhesion, chemoattractants and extracellular matrices [Teaching Standard E - Nurture Collaboration].


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