Science Meetups

Want to stay up to date on the current science and hear from a variety of experts? Join us for The Baxter Center’s Science Meetups! We will get together the second Wednesday of each month for an hour after school to hear more from experts in a variety of fields. Topics include Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Biotech, Forensics & Criminology, and Middle School Science.

There are no upcoming Workshops

Cell-free Synthetic Biology: New Avenues for Biosynthesis and Education

Wednesday, January 12th from 4-5pm CST

Virtual | Zoom

What is Cell-Free Synthetic Biology? Cells can be engineered to produce useful proteins and chemical products, but they are limited by growth and viability. We can avoid these constraints by extracting biological machinery (including ribosomes and enzymes) to enable biosynthesis in test tubes with a highly controllable environment. This allows us to rapidly produce therapeutics, biosensors, and enzymes for chemical transformations. Cell extracts can also be freeze-dried and transported to resource limited settings and schools without the need for expensive equipment or biocontainment protocols, presenting unique opportunities for distributed biomanufacturing and education.

About Our Speaker: Blake Rasor is a Ph.D. candidate at Northwestern University and a graduate student in the Jewett lab. He is using cell-free metabolic engineering for biosynthesis.   

Credit Hours Provided: 1 CEU provided for attendance.


Freeze-dried, cell-free technology and its applications to education

Wednesday, December 8th from 4-5pm CST

Virtual | Zoom

Implementation of hands-on molecular and synthetic biology in classrooms is challenging because of the need for specialized equipment, cell cultures, and onerous protocols. BioBits® make it possible to synthesize proteins taking advantage of cutting edge freeze-dried cell-free technology. Dr. Ally Huang, BioBits Program Lead at miniPCR bio, will discuss how this technology works and her work on developing hands-on classroom activities that authentically demonstrate molecular biology concepts. Most of these activities can be completed with minimal equipment requirements and quick protocols, making them ideal for teaching settings. Published in peer-reviewed journals, user-friendly BioBits® enhance biology education both within and beyond the classroom.

About Our Speaker: Dr. Ally Huang earned her Ph.D. in Biological Engineering from MIT in 2019. Her PhD thesis focused on enhancing students’ exposure to biological fields. She is the Program Lead of miniPCR, an organization dedicated to making biotechnological materials designed for classroom settings and co-founder of BioBits. 

Credit Hours Provided: 1 CEU provided for attendance.


Changing Nature's Recipes

Wednesday, November 10th from 4-5pm CST

Virtual | Zoom

Ever wondered how new flavors get made? Dr. Elamar Hakim Moully, Program Development Specialist at the University of Chicago's myCHOICE program, will be leading a discussion on how biochemistry and engineering techniques can be applied to food sciences.

Dr. Elamar Hakim Moully earned her Ph.D. in Chemistry from Northwestern University in 2021. As a graduate student in the Mrksich Research Group, she created "mass spectrometry-based biochemical assays" that can be applied in a variety of cell related mechanisms. Through myCHOICE, she works to provide career resources to Ph.D. students and postdocs as well as residents of the Chicago area. 

Credit Hours Provided: 1 CEU provided for attendance.


How are you thinking about hands-on labs this fall?

Wednesday, October 13th from 4-5pm CST

Virtual | Zoom

Calling all science teachers! Now that most everyone is back in the classroom, we want to check-in with teachers and see how labs are going! How do you handle sharing equipment and social distancing? What labs are your students finding engaging? Let’s get together and share resources for a great fall!

Credit Hours Provided: 1 CEU provided for attendance.


Let's celebrate!

May 12 from 3:30 - 4:30pm CST

Virtual | Zoom

Calling all Forensics & Criminology teachers! We know you don't always have a course team to work with, so we're providing the space and resources for teachers across the Chicago area to get together and talk about teaching forensics. This month: THROW DOWN WITH YOUR AWESOME FINISH! Bring snacks and a beverage and let's celebrate our successes teaching forensics this year! 

Are you interested in connecting with us offline? We have also created a Slack Channel and Google Drive folders so that teachers have a spot to share their ideas and questions. For security reasons, access to the Slack Channel and Google Drive is by invite only. Email us at bcse@northwestern.edu with your name, school, and email address and we will sign you up!

Facilitator: Liz Copper, Lindblom Math & Science Academy. Credit Hours Provided: 1 CEU provided for attendance.


Join our last science teacher meetup of the school year!

May 20 from 3:30 - 4:30pm CST

Virtual | Zoom


Chatting with a Scientist: Dr. Julie Swartzendruber

April 13, 2021 from 3:30-4:30pm CST

Virtual | Zoom

The Hygiene Hypothesis: Does exposure to microorganisms build up your immune system?  Dr. Julie Swartzendruber, Assistant Professor at Midwestern University, will join us to discuss her lab's research on Bacillus subtilis and its role in preventing allergic inflamation induced by the house dust mite. Her research hopes to determine the mechanism this bacterium employs to confer protection from allergic disease. This will be an informal discussion with plenty of time to ask questions. 

About Our Speaker: Dr. Julie Swartzendruber earned her Ph.D. from Northwestern University in 2013 where she studied the role of histamine 2 receptor in allergic lung inflammation.  She continued her training as a post-doctoral fellow at Loyola University of Chicago, studying the role of the probiotic Bacillus subtilis in suppressing allergic airway disease.  Dr. Swartzendruber came to Midwestern University in 2015 and her research laboratory continues to study the role of Bacillus subtilis to suppress allergic disease.

Are you interested in connecting with us offline? We have also created a Slack Channel and Google Drive folders so that teachers have a spot to share their ideas and questions. For security reasons, access to the Slack Channel and Google Drive is by invite only. Email us at bcse@northwestern.edu with your name, school, and email address and we will sign you up!

Facilitator: Mary Clark, Whitney Young High School. Credit Hours Provided: 1 CEU provided for attendance. 


Clinical trials in the time of a Pandemic

March 4, 2021 from 3:30-4:30pm CST

Virtual | Zoom

How do human clinical trials work for new medicines? What does that look like in the time of COVID? Dr. Janet Pavese from Astellas Pharma will be joining us to discuss her role in measuring human clinical trial samples to learn about how potential new medicines work. This will be an informal discussion with plenty of time to ask questions. 

About Dr. Pavese: I graduated high school in 2003, and received my BS in Biochemistry from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2007 and my PhD from Northwestern University in 2014 in Cancer Biology and Drug Discovery.  Following graduate school I spent 3 years working at Abbott Molecular developing tests to measure viruses and cancer cells in blood.  Currently, I work for Astellas Pharma where I measure human clinical trial samples to learn about how potential new medicines work. 

Are you interested in connecting with us offline? We have also created a Slack Channel and Google Drive folders so that teachers have a spot to share their ideas and questions. For security reasons, access to the Slack Channel and Google Drive is by invite only. Email us at bcse@northwestern.edu with your name, school, and email address and we will sign you up!

Facilitator: Mary Clark, Whitney Young High School. Credit Hours Provided: 1 CEU provided for attendance. 


Are you interested in learning more about using phenomena in your classroom and how modeling plays an important role in that process?

March 3rd from 4-5pm CST

Virtual | Zoom

Are you interested in learning more about using phenomena in your classroom and how modeling plays an important role in that process? In this session, we will be sharing how modeling can help pave the way to learning by helping your students to develop a deeper understanding of science concepts. Whether you are new to teaching science or have been doing it for years, please come to learn and share your own experiences with this in the classroom. Please reach out if you have any questions about the open share part of this session.

Connect with us offline! We have also created a Slack Channel and Google Drive folders so that teachers have a spot to share their ideas and questions. For security reasons, access to the Slack Channel and Google Drive is by invite only. Email us at bcse@northwestern.edu with your name, school, and email address and we will sign you up!

Facilitator: Susanne Wolff; Round Lake Area Schools. Credit Hours Provided: 1 CEU provided for attendance.


Classroom Artifact Show & Tell

February 24 from 4-5pm CST

Virtual | Zoom

Calling all Forensics & Criminology teachers! We know you don't always have a course team to work with, so we're providing the space and resources for teachers across the Chicago area to get together and talk about teaching forensics this fall. This month we will talk about what you have planned for students to do before the holidays and brainstorm ideas around summative assessments.

Are you interested in connecting with us offline? We have also created a Slack Channel and Google Drive folders so that teachers have a spot to share their ideas and questions. For security reasons, access to the Slack Channel and Google Drive is by invite only. Email us at bcse@northwestern.edu with your name, school, and email address and we will sign you up!

Facilitator: Liz Copper, Lindblom Math & Science Academy. Credit Hours Provided: 1 CEU provided for attendance.