The Philadelphia School is incredibly excited about a Middle School science partnership with medical researchers at Children's Hospital's new Roberts Center for Pediatric Research. 

Sixth, seventh, and eighth graders in the eight-week medical research intensive (affectionately called "CHOPsuey") have been meeting with CHOP researchers to learn about their work and the medical breakthroughs that they have made – and that are on the horizon.

Here's what was on the syllabus thus far for January – all these activities will take place at the Roberts Center.

  • Ashley Zitter, clinical research coordinator and part of the STEM group, talked to the students about how she uses virtual reality in research. She did a virtual reality demonstration and then let the students try it out themselves!  
  • David Garbe, Outreach Educator with the Pennsylvania Society for Biomedical Research, presented about animals in research (with some lab activities in mind - using flies, daphnia, or zebrafish). He gave an interactive presentation describing careers in biomedical sciences, shared some new and exciting research, and explained why scientists work with animals.   
  • CHOP's CIRP team (Center for Injury Research and Prevention) gave the students get hands-on experience with driving simulators and eye trackers. 

Plans for February are not fully worked out, but students will have the opportunity to work with researchers from CHOP's Center for Autism and Vaccine Education Center.  

These extraordinary opportunities for our students have been made possible by Christopher Gantz and Valerie Laranko, staff from CHOP's Recruitment Enhancement Core (REC), which  aims to reduce the barriers to research participation. Gantz, REC's program director, explains, "Lack of participation is the number one barrier to success for research studies everywhere. Our group works to educate the public about the vital role they play in the breakthroughs that happen at CHOP and other research institutes and promote the idea of research as a partnership between the participant and the researcher. We also view participation as a way for students to . . . get a behind-the-scenes look at research that they might not otherwise have the opportunity to see."

 TPS Middle School science teachers Stasia Sumpaopol and Noel Yee are leading the elective class.