AAPS Demonstrates Pharmaceutical Science Experiments For Middle And High School Students

AAPS members showing pharmaceutical science experiments.Students and faculty from the Duquesne University Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences traveled to the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh from March 6-9, 2018 to volunteer for SciTech days. Approximately 18 volunteers from the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) student chapter at Duquesne University participated in the events to share their enthusiasm for science and increase awareness and understanding of the positive impact of the field of pharmaceutical sciences.

During the event, 2,200 students from 54 different schools studying in grades 5-12 participated in workshops and hands-on demonstrations. Local companies and universities participated as exhibitors to share their expertise with students and demonstrate real-world applications of science. The goals of SciTech days included increasing career awareness, cross-curricular learning, and increasing college and career readiness skills. The volunteers organized several hands-on demonstrations to cover different areas of Pharmaceutical Sciences, including:

  • AAPS members interacting with middle/high school students.Hands-on drug design - used molecular modeling kits and a protein-drug molecular dynamics computer simulation which students could manipulate
  • Cotton candy vs. crystalline sugar dissolution - highlighted the effect of different physical forms on drug delivery
  • Tablet disintegration experiment - demonstrated the difference between immediate release and sustained release tablets
  • Emulsion formulation - used food coloring, oil, water, and natural surfactants (honey, mustard, flax seed) to teach about emulsion properties and their potential applications in drug delivery
  • Near-Infrared spectroscopy demonstration - showed the usefulness of the technique in
    distinguishing chemical components
  • Volunteers also designed handouts for interested students, including a flow chart of the pharmaceutical development process and an overview of the composition of Tylenol with explanations for each of the ingredients. The four-day event involved approximately 60 hours of combined volunteering from students and faculty.

Support was provided by Duquesne University and AAPS through the donation of giveaways such as pens, notepads, magnets, bags, and other items.

"The highly-focused passion our students have for their research is set free when they come to SciTech Days. It is amazing to see their enthusiasm reflected by the next generation of scientists," said Dr. Ira Buckner, Associate Professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences and faculty advisor for the school's AAPS student chapter.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and horizon-expanding education. A campus of nearly 8,500 graduate and undergraduate students, Duquesne prepares students by having them work alongside faculty to discover and reach their goals. The University’s academic programs, community service, and commitment to equity and opportunity in the Pittsburgh region have earned national acclaim.

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