From the organizers:
Every living cell is encapsulated in a lipid membrane, and within the cell’s organelles, some of biology’s most important enzymes are membrane-bound. What exactly is the membrane? What is it about membrane proteins that imprisons them in the lipid bilayer?
In this 3 hour course, students will become oriented to the incredible world of the cell membrane as they build physical models of lipid molecules, including fatty acids and cholesterol, to understand their form and function. Students will also use 3D modeling software to explore two particularly important membrane proteins, rhodopsin, which is responsible for vision, and ATP synthase, the power plant of the cell.
In the last hour of the class, we will shift gears and discuss another aspect of lipids: their use in soap making. Students will learn about the organic chemistry reaction called saponification which disassembles oils into fatty acid salts. Using high quality oils and lye, we will then create a batch of our own artisan-quality soap! The soap will be cut into bars and available for students to take home and use.
This class gives a great blend of high-tech science and DIY. No experience in biochemistry is necessary and all are welcome!