News Archives

Tapia and Jacobson research groups reaching out

February 20, 2019

Tapia/Jacobson outreach

The Tapia and Jacobson research groups have been very active in reaching out to the community in February. As part of their outreach activities, they bring some demos to museums and schools in the Albuquerque area. This month, they have participated in two popular outreach events: Discover STEM Day at the Nuclear Museum (2/2), where 880 visitors heard about the computational biology and robotics research that they do, and PoP: Meet a Scientist at Explora! (2/9), where Prof. Jacobson showed the Molecular Docking Game and talked to kids as young as 2.5 years old about how our cells can perceive and interact with their environment. The Tapia Lab will also have a table at the AFRL Super STEM Saturday at the Albuquerque Convention Center (2/23).

All their demos are closely related to the research they do in the lab. SciViewer offers a 3D view in Google Cardboard goggles of some of the most common allergens. The Molecular Docking Game has been developed in their lab to explore interactions between cell receptors and small molecules. The game is an interactive 3D puzzle with haptic feedback to guide users in finding docked configurations of the ligand-receptor complex. The robotics demos include Busy Beeway, a game developed to learn how users react when faced with the opportunity to use automation to guide their choices (similar to a human-assisted self-driving car). The general public also hear about how they can learn coding by using a simple app to tell Sphero robots to move, rotate or flash lights in different colors.