November 2009

ASBMB Joins Inaugural USA Science Festival


We would like to remind all of our Undergraduate Affiliate Network chapters that award application submission dates are coming up. All chapters are eligible to apply for the following awards:

* Outreach Support Award
* Outstanding UAN Chapter Award
* Regional Meeting Award
* Science Fair Award
* UAN Travel Award
* Undergraduate Research Award
* High School Scholarship Award
* High School Research Award

For more information about UAN awards and scholarships, visit

In the fall of 2010, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology will partner with the organizers of the Inaugural USA Science Festival to host four hands-on activities at an expo in Washington. According to festival organizers, the event will be the ultimate multicultural, multigenerational and multidisciplinary celebration of science in the United States. More than 500 science organizations will demonstrate interactive and entertaining science activities. ASBMB’s activities will explore the molecular basis of biological processes and their applications in everyday life:

The Molecules of Life

  • The complexities of life arise from the interplay of a few different types of molecules, nucleic acids, proteins, lipids and carbohydrates. This activity will allow participants to explore the shapes and interactions of those molecules.

From Molecules to Medicine

  • From drug design to individualized medicine, understanding the molecular basis of disease offers the potential for more effective treatments. Participants will see how the genomics revolution is leading to individualized treatments of various diseases.

The Green Revolution: from Sunlight to Biofuels

  • Plants capture and utilize the sun’s energy. This activity will show how we are drawing on the molecular life sciences to convert sunlight into useful forms of energy without producing the pollutants associated with fossil fuels and nuclear energy.

Molecular Machines

  • From muscle contraction to the movement of molecules within a cell, molecular machines play a critical role in the molecular life sciences. This exhibit will illustrate how they efficiently utilize chemical energy for mechanical purposes.

ASBMB also has planned several activities leading up to the festival, including outreach initiatives and hands-on demonstrations for K-12 students around the country. There also will be a competition for ASBMB Undergraduate Affiliate Network chapters to design projects suitable for K-12 outreach that fit with ASBMB’s festival themes. The winning chapters and their activities will be featured at the festival and highlighted in ASBMB Today.

If you are interested in becoming involved with ASBMB’s festival activities or have ideas that can be used in K-12 outreach, please contact ASBMB’s manager of education and professional development, Weiyi Zhao, at

More details about the festival can be found at

J. Ellis Bell is professor of chemistry and chairman of the biochemistry and molecular biology program at the University of Richmond. He is also chairman of the ASBMB Education and Professional Development Committee. He can be reached at

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