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Classroom Video on Researching Microorganisms That Live on Greenhouse Gases
In this short video produced by Teachers' Domain, HHMI Professor and Investigator Catherine Drennan of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology explains her research into microorganisms that survive on greenhouse gases, which are widely believed to accelerate global warming. Specifically, she is investigating how a protein inside these microorganisms converts carbon dioxide into energy. Ultimately, Dr. Drennan says she hopes humans might apply what they learn from microorganisms to remove carbon dioxide from the environment. This video is part of a series of digital media produced for high school classrooms by public television. Educators and students can view the video with or without captions. A background essay, questions for discussion, and links to related resources are also on the site. Educators must register for unlimited free access and to download, share, and save the resources available on Teachers' Domain.
HHMI Professor: Catherine L. Drennan, Ph.D.
Award Years: 2006
Summary: Catherine L. Drennan, Ph.D., is an HHMI Professor and an HHMI Investigator at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology whose research uses X-ray crystallography to study the structure and function of metalloproteins, especially those that are medically important or valuable in environmental remediation. Her HHMI-funded educational initiatives include:
- A freshman chemistry course designed to excite undergraduates about chemistry and demonstrate the connection between chemistry and biological processes. This interdisciplinary course includes problem set questions that have biological relevance and touch on research conducted in the MIT chemistry department;
- A training program for postdoctoral fellows and graduate students in interdisciplinary teaching that includes a week-long summer boot camp to show teaching assistants how to apply chemical principles to multiple fields and help them incorporate biological examples into their teaching of chemistry;
- The development of the MIT Undergraduate Biochemistry Association (MUBA), a group that helps compensate for the lack of a formal biochemistry program at MIT; and
- The Summer Undergraduate Research Program in Chemical Biology, a 10-week program to encourage undergraduates with quantitative backgrounds to conduct research in biology laboratories and to encourage biology students to conduct research in chemistry or physics laboratories.