Exploring Our Immune System
We had an awesome scientist from Argentia, Dr. Luciana Molinero. She is a research assistant professor at the University of Chicago and works in biomedical sciences. The topic of her research is how the immune system of a patient reacts when they receive a transplanted organ.
Dr. Molinero had the girls explore the functions of their immune system through an activity that involved balloons. The girls were SO in love with the balloons and they worked really well to grab the student’s attention. We all enjoyed being a scavenger, molecule, and a virus. As you see in the photos, the girls with the yellow balloons are the viruses (before the flu shot)–only the virus are allowed to have yellow balloons, the girls with the strings are antibodies and the rest are the scavengers. When yellow balloons/viruses are present, the antibodies touch them, then the scavengers are trying to pull antibodies out to destroy the virus, but since it is before the flu shot, “antibodies” are losing their strength as they are pulled out.
In another scene, after the flu shot, the viruses are still presented with light blue or purple balloons. Though antibodies touch the viruses, we have all had a flu shot so “antibodies” are safe. Later on, Dr. Molinero concluded how antibodies are protecting us from the bad ones like the viruses based on the activity. The activity made it much easier for the girls to understand antibodies.