✂️🐟🎉🏀 Hey everyone, @Science_Baller here! I'll be the guest host today talking about all things #STEMed #scioutreach #scicomm and #CRISPR today! Jump with questions at any time and I'll try to answer them! It's going to be a #zebrafishparty and I'm pumped! 😎
A little about myself: I am a new lecturer in Biological Sciences @VanderbiltU . I teach a section of Introductory Bio (220 students) and 3 sections of Intro Bio Lab (16 students/each). What's the biggest course you have had to teach? #STEMed #AcademicTwitter #phdlife #phdchat
I graduated with my Ph.D. in Biochemistry in May from @RiceUniversity . My research focused on #zebrafish genetics using #CRISPR mutagenesis. My big paper discussed a new #CRISPR tool that we developed which has an increased mutation rate+longer deletions onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.100…
However, as #scicomm -ers it's important to realize that not all people have the training to read and analyze scientific papers. As scientists, we need to learn how to write our science for a more lay audience. Here's that same article written that way: blogs.plos.org/synbio/2018/04…
✂️🐟🎉🏀 It's important to also be vocal on social media and public life. Many ask about how to get into #scicomm and #SciOutreach and my best advice is to just start doing it! You'll only get better with practice!
I have done so by making a fb page facebook.com/ScienceBaller/ and dedicated my twitter @Science_Baller primarily to #scicomm. Along the way, I've discovered a great network of science advocates in a diverse set of fields.
One of the best ways to do #scicomm is to visit local schools. I have done countless demonstrations on #zebrafish genetics and the students love seeing a cute pet can be used in scientific research! Here's a good explantation: yourgenome.org/facts/why-use-…
✂️🐟🎉🏀 However, I primarily talk about the use and benefits of #CRISPR and the misconceptions about #GMO technology #factsnotfear. Hit me with your all #CRISPR and #GMO questions! I'm going to start answering some I got yesterday.
✂️🐟🎉🏀 Let's start with some questions from 8th grade minds at @dentonsclass from @HeadMagnetPrep ! #scicomm #scioutreach
Bruce wants to know "How small is CRISPR?". CRISPR is composed of two key tools: Cas9 (which cuts the DNA think ✂️) and the guide RNA (which tells it where to cut). Both are made up of nucleotides (0.34 nm each). Cas9 has about 2200 nucleotides and sgRNA is about 200
Evan wants to know "What exactly does CRISPR do?" Related to my last tweet, the Cas9 cuts DNA under the direction of the guide RNA. This makes a double strand break in DNA. The repair mechanism to fix DNA is trash, so mutations often occur that can knock out gene function.
Here's a good video showing the mechanism in action! #crispr #scicomm
One the founders of CRISPR is Jennifer Doudna and she remains at the forefront of this technology (Bisrat, Ava's questions). Keep in mind this field started in 2012 and started exploding in 2013, 2014. It's fascinating to see how quickly this came about! ted.com/talks/jennifer…
Previously, scientists used tools such as siRNA and morpholions to knock down gene function (by inhibiting RNA and thus not breaking DNA). However, these tools have transient effects and cannot be as readily in genetics (Christina's question).
✂️🐟🎉🏀 There is some research on testing #crispr on non viable human embryos. However, we are still at the early stages of this technology, so to work out all the kinks and eventually be able to use this tool in humans, we have to use model organisms like zebrafish! (Avery's ?)
To get Cas9 RNA and guide RNA into zebrafish, we perform microinjections on zebrafish embryos. We inject at the one cell stage, so the Cas9 + guide RNA can be present in all the cells of the adult zebrafish as its cells divide and it develops
This is why we don't have a "shot" for CRISPR because there's no way currently to be able to get into all of the cells of an adult organism (William's ?). However, CRISPR is able to work within 30 minutes post injection in zebrafish (De'Asia and Hattie's ?s).
In order to add additional DNA to target site, such as GFP to highlight a region where a gene is expressed, scientists just need to co-inject this DNA (often with modified ends) along with Cas9 and the guide RNA (Bosco's question)
CRISPR is no where near ready for testing on humans right now, but it will definitely become a reality within our lifetimes (hopefully 10-20 years). Theoretically, it could help cure any disease that results from a DNA mutation. (Marcela, Abby, and Kayla's ?s).
Cancer cells can easily be identified. p53 acts as tumor suppressor by activating DNA repair and triggering cells to destroy themselves (apoptosis). We all have p53, but cancer can occur when it doesn't function normally (Kendel, Michael, and Alex's ?s)
it's hypothesized that since elephants have so many copies p53 that they can avoid cancer at a higher rate than humans. nature.com/news/how-eleph…
I got into this field in 2012 and I was excited to be a part of something new! I've always loved science, but by doing work on #CRISPR research I can work in a multitude of fields and communicate with a diverse set of scientists! (A'Darios and Fath's ?s)
Keep them coming @dentonsclass and @HeadMagnetPrep ! Let me know if you have some follow up questions! ✂️🐟🎉🏀
✂️🐟🎉🏀 An important aspect of science outreach also starts at your home institution. Today in my Introductory Bio Lab Course, the students performed a #soap experiment that they designed on their own
Have you wondered the best way to clean high used inanimate objects?? Here, students infected their student ID cards with non pathogenic E.coli, cleaned one half with soap and the other half with wipes. Which one do you think is more effective?
In my future classes, I plan to incorporate experiments without clear outcomes. Here, the students get to experience #genuine scientific research and really began to think like a scientist. We're hoping to partner with collaborators to bring their science into the classroom!
In the Spring, I am teaching a Project Based Research Lab (BSCI 1512L). Here, students will dive into #CRISPR. Half of them will design new guide RNAs for targets that Faculty at Vandy are interested in. The other half will design, clone, and test new Cas9 variants like #ExoCas9
I also am developing a new course that I hope will be on the books within the next 1-2 years: Principles of Gene Editing. We'll cover the history of the field, the techniques, and really get into the debates about the future applications of #CRISPR
Have you any of you tried developing a new course related to your field? How about teaching your research speciality in a more general course? What obstacles did you run into and how did you overcome them? #scicomm #sciED #STEMed #AcademicTwitter #phdlife #phdchat
✂️🐟🎉🏀 Hey everyone! Back after dinner for two quick final topics to cover this evening. First, let's answer some questions about #crispr that I've received over the day. These are from @gen_goode in connection with @chadlyon and @ISRStratford 11th grade students
#CRISPR was first discovered in bacteria as an adaptive immune system in the 90s, but it has only been used to edit DNA since 2012. This is very rapid development, but it's still not ready to be used in humans. Nonetheless, this should become a reality in the next 10-20 years
Personally, I like working with #CRISPR because of its a rapidly developing field and it connects to many different fields. The way we're using CRISPR is changing too. From small mutations to inserting synthetic DNA to curing diseases. genengnews.com/gen-news-highl…
In the long term, #CRISPR could be used to bring extinct animals back. This could be done by using it to modify closely related extant species. Many of heard of such projects with the wooly mammoth, but the #quaggaproject is really making headway. quaggaproject.org
The benefits of #CRISPR are that helps us accelerate processes like these. Farmers have been doing selective breeding for years, but using CRISPR allows to select for certain desired traits in a single generation. (Drew's ? @ISRStratford )
#CRISPR only uses RNA (and sometimes proteins) to modify its desired targets. There's no other chemicals involved. However, you shouldn't be afraid of chemicals because they essentially make up everything around us. (Phillip's ? @ISRStratford) rationalwiki.org/wiki/Chemophob…
#chemophobia and fear of #GMOs are some of the reasons that scientists have to be active in policy discussions. The question "Are GMOs safe to eat?" currently has the highest difference in opinion between the scientific community and the public. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/P…
I've been involved in Science Policy #scipol as a member of the Early Career Scientist (ECS) Policy Subcommittee @GeneticsGSA . Together with my colleagues @Fruitflyfriend @elescak @jobairzin @SoniaHall , we created a database of #scipol fellowships: genetics-gsa.org/policy/policy_…
By having more scientists involved in policy, they can better advocate and communicate their technical expertise. Many (including myself) are worried about the ethical implications of #CRISPR genome.gov/27569225/what-…
Personally, I think we should take #CRISPR as far as the science will go! However, we are still very far off from #designerbabies. CRISPR still has many issues (off-targets) to be worked out, but the possibilities remain. Where do you think the technology will be in 5-10 years?
@Queen_of_Geek and @ISRStratford think about how much has happened in only 6 years!
@CalebCalvo1 what do you think?
✂️🐟🎉🏀 To wrap up the day, I wanted to share one of the biggest things I learned this so far teaching @VanderbiltU , students LOVE memes. I believe we should try to connect to things students know to delve into certain topics deeper. So are some of my fave memes so far!
My explanation of water cohesion (water being attracted to itself). ✂️🐟🎉🏀 #scicomm #sciencememes #biologymemes #STEMed #sciED #AcademicTwitter
The levels of protein structure: spider bite core essence (primary structure), clothes you wear (secondary structure), interacting with yourself (tertiary structure), and interacting with others (quaternary structure). ✂️🐟🎉🏀 #scicomm #sciencememes #biologymemes #STEMed #sciED
Competitive vs non-competitive inhibitors ✂️🐟🎉🏀 #scicomm #sciencememes #biologymemes #STEMed #sciED #AcademicTwitter
Why #rubisco is literally the worst enzyme for photosynthesis: it's slow (therefore there's a ton of it) and it binds not just CO2 (which plants need), but also O2 (which plants don't need). #trashenzyme ✂️🐟🎉🏀 #scicomm #sciencememes #biologymemes #STEMed #sciED
Clathrin coat formation mimics @KingJames career. He can't bud off from the membrane (win a title) by himself, so he recruits coat proteins to help him (all star teammates) only to shed them immediately after budding off the membrane (winning) and leaving to go elsewhere (LA)
My life rn tbh
What is your favorite #sciencememe ? Send them our way and we'll retweet some! ✂️🐟🎉🏀 #scicomm #sciencememes #biologymemes #STEMed #sciED #AcademicTwitter
Well it's been a great day talking with all of you! Follow me @Science_Baller for all things #CRISPR #scicomm #STEMed and of course plenty of #sciencememes ! Check out: instagram.com/vandybio/ for classroom updates and of course feel free to continue sending ?s my way. ✂️🐟🎉🏀
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