Disease Detectives middle school outreach program

Linked product
Students will discover how many millions of signals their bodies give off every day, and how scientists are using those signals to build a new form of nano-medicine called "lab-on-a-chip" that could be used in the near future to diagnose and detect illnesses in patients before symptoms ever appear. Students will even get the chance to use their very own "lab-on-a-chip" to test and diagnose a patient and experience how useful this tiny technology will be in the future. Duration: 60 minutes Requirements: Requires a room with a sink and a whiteboard.


Big Idea

• Doctors perform many tests but standard methods of diagnosis are costly in terms of time, dollars and discomfort.
• Molecules associated with disease can be measured and can communicate important information about someone’s health.
• Scientists are working at the nanoscale to engineer technologies, like the “lab on a chip,” for non- invasive measuring of multiple health indicators at once.

Learning Goals

• Students will learn about antibodies and antibody recognition using a model.
• Students will process a sensor array to determine the disease a patient may have based on the biosignature defined on the array.

Nano Content Map
Nanometer-sized things are very small, and often behave differently than larger things do.
Scientists and engineers have formed the interdisciplinary field of nanotechnology by investigating properties and manipulating matter at the nanoscale.
Nanoscience, nanotechnology, and nanoengineering lead to new knowledge and innovations that weren't possible before.



Framing New Pathways to Medical Discovery for Families, Students and Teachers is made possible by Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Owning institution

Arizona Science Center


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