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Media Advisory

For immediate use

Oct. 26, 2007

UNC’s Destiny science bus visits New Bern for first time, also Jacksonville

Media representatives are invited to experience hands-on science aboard Discovery, one of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s two traveling science laboratories, when it visits Jacksonville High School and New Bern High School next week. This visit is the Destiny program’s first to New Bern.

Wednesday (Oct. 31)
7:20 a.m. to 8:50 a.m.
10:40 a.m. to 12:10 p.m.
Jacksonville High School
1021 Henderson Drive, Jacksonville
Students from two of Jessica Freeman’s honors biology classes will perform a lab exercise called “Weigh to Go!” Students will explore the connections between obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Using hydrophobic interactive chromatography, a key process in biotechnology research, students will purify a genetically engineered designer protein (simulated modified leptin) from transformed bacterial cells. Additional activities will help students become more aware of the obesity epidemic at global and individual levels.

Thursday (Nov. 1)
11:05 a.m. to 12:35 p.m.
1:15 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.
New Bern High School
4200 Academic Drive, New Bern
Students from two of Lynn Gaskins’ honors biology classes will perform “From Finches to Fishes.” Students will learn the fundamental principles of evolution and natural selection. They will use protein gel electrophoresis to acquire molecular data with which they will construct an evolutionary tree for five fish species. Students will examine proteomics as the new frontier of molecular biology and its importance to understanding the structure and function of the human genome and the genomes of other organisms.

The Destiny traveling science learning program is a science education outreach initiative of Morehead Planetarium and Science Center at UNC-Chapel Hill that serves pre-college teachers and students across North Carolina. Destiny develops and delivers a standards-based, hands-on curriculum and teacher professional development with a team of educators and a fleet of vehicles that travel throughout the state.

Destiny and Discovery, two custom-built, 40-foot, 33,000-pound buses, bring the latest science and technology equipment to students who otherwise would not see a high-tech laboratory or what a career in science can offer. The modules described above are among 14 offered as part of Destiny’s curriculum. All of Destiny’s modules are aligned with the N.C. Standard Course of Study. Development of “Weigh to Go!” was federally funded by the Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) program in the National Center for Research Resources. SEPA’s goals are to engage the public in medical research, stimulate interest in science and encourage the next generation of health professionals.

Destiny’s current principal funders are the state of North Carolina, the SEPA Program and GlaxoSmithKline. Additional support comes from Bio-Rad Laboratories and Medtronic, Inc.

The science buses are powerful visual images that heighten public awareness of the importance of and funding necessary for quality science education. The Destiny program first hit the road in 2000.

Destiny Web site: http://www.moreheadplanetarium.org/go/destiny

Destiny contact: Claire Ruocchio, (919) 843-5915 or clr@unc.edu
News Services contact: Susan Houston, (919) 962-8415 or susan_houston@unc.edu