MAYWOOD, Ill. - Mahera Beidas, a science teacher at Proviso Mathematics and Science Academy in Forest Park, says a big part of her job involves teaching her students laboratory techniques.
Now Beidas is getting to experience scientific research firsthand at a top laboratory. She is spending the summer in the lab of heart researcher Sakthivel Sadayappan, PhD, of Loyola University of Chicago Stritch School of Medicine in Maywood.
Sadayappan's lab is studying a critical protein called cardiac myosin binding protein-C. Research in his lab has shown that during a heart attack, the protein breaks into pieces; the fragmentation coincides with damage to heart muscle that leads to heart failure.
This summer Beidas will spend eight weeks working full time in Sadayappan's lab. She will continue working part time at the lab throughout the 2012-13 school year. She also will write a research paper on cardiac myosin binding protein-C.
"I look forward to taking what I am learning here at Loyola back to my classroom," Beidas said.
Her yearlong fellowship is funded by Loyola's Department of Cell and Molecular Physiology and the American Physiological Society. The APS Frontiers in Physiology Professional Development Fellowship places science teachers in labs to take part in hands-on physiology and biomedical research. The program seeks to establish long-term associations between science teachers and the local research community. The fellowship focuses on enhancing teaching strategies, as recommended by the National Science Education Standards.
Lydia DonCarlos, PhD, coordinates the teacher program for the Department of Cell and Molecular Physiology. Pieter de Tombe, PhD, chair of the Department of Cell and Molecular Physiology, provided Loyola's share of the funding.
"I would like to thank Dr. Sadayappan, Loyola University Chicago and the American Physiological Society for this great opportunity," Beidas said.