With Help from the Pros, Honors Bio Students Tackle Big Questions

How do you detect irony in someone’s voice? What part of a plant is best for vegetative propagation? What effect does a combination of alcohol and sleeping pills have on water fleas? This time of year, the Honors Biology students in Dr. Peter Hyde’s class are answering these questions and more, with help from medical professionals and research scientists.
For the fifth year, Honors Bio students are diving into Independent Research Projects (IRP). Posing questions of their own scientific interest, the boys develop experiment proposals and turn to the professionals for real-time feedback, honing their approaches all the while. Before the winter break, the students met with their IRP mentors—RL parents and alumni who are also research scientists, pediatricians, surgeons, oncologists—in person or over Skype. With the feedback from those sessions, the boys will refine their experimental plans, and in January and February they will collect their data. The IRP mentors will then meet with their mentees again to discuss the data and findings, and work with the students on developing compelling presentations.
Other questions the students are asking relate to the effects of music on reaction time and memory; the effects that the pH level in soil has on plants; and whether bacteria will evolve a resistance to UV light.
Special thanks to our generous mentors, who include:
Dr. Sandip Bose, Research Scientist, Schlumberger
Dr. Margaret Crawford, Framingham Pediatrics
Dr. Sirisha Emani, Boston Children’s Hospital, Department of Surgery
Dr. Andrew Eyre, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Department of Emergency Medicine
Dr. Leonor Fernandez, BIDMC Department of General Medicine
Dr. Ephraim Hochberg, Massachusetts General Hospital, Departments of Oncology and Hematology
Mr. Tim Poterba, Research Scientist, The Broad Institute
Dr. Merrill Weitzel, Boston Children’s Hospital, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Dr. Scot Wolfe, UMASS Medical School, Department of Molecular, Cell and Cancer Biology