Bacteria Outreach

Our laboratory develops programs and activities to engage students in STEM fields, particularly in topics related to bacteria.  We work with local schools in the New York area, organize tours and activities in our laboratory, and develop international programs in various communities spanning a wide age group.  The approach we take is to utilize art and technology as a way to visually communicate complex scientific concepts.

Grow your own bacteria (New York):  Over 90 children at MS 54, Beacon, and PS 108 participated in workshops designed to introduce basic concepts in microbiology and the work of the Danino lab. Each child was given a petri dish filled with dyed agar, and participants then swabbed the agar with bacteria from their hands and environment. One week later, they were able to see the transformation of their plates as the bacteria had begun to grow according to the way each plate was swabbed. In the process, children were able to visualize the otherwise invisible world of bacteria. Emma Ruskin, Soonhee Moon, and Tiffany Chien

Syndemic (New York):  Working with local schools, we have been developing a bacteria video game called Syndemic to teach students about microbiology concepts.    Emma Ruskin, Alex May.

Escola Vidigal (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil):  At Escola Vidigal in Vidigal, we developed a program to combine community-based artworks with bacterial inspiration.  More info in this WSJ article and Columbia Social Enterprise.  Implemented by Joanna Zhang, Emma Ruskin, Max Frieder

Photos: Emma Ruskin, Max Frieder