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Tuesday, August 5 • 9:30am - 12:30pm
W31: From Teaching Props to Learning Tools: Exploring the Polar Nature of Water and Its Impact on Protein Structure and Protein Folding (offered twice)

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Molecular concepts are challenging for many students, both because of the new vocabulary and the inability to interact with invisible entities. Accurate physical models allow students to experience these concepts. Participants will explore how water interacts with both polar and non-polar substances using magnetic water models. Next participants will discover how proteins fold in a watery environment, based on chemical properties of amino acids, using Mini-Toobers (foam-covered wires) and plastic sidechains. We will demonstrate 1) how the arrangement of amino acids in a protein influences the final three-dimensional protein structure, 2) how secondary structure stabilizes proteins, 3) how mutations can impact the protein shape and 4) what occurs at the molecular level when proteins denature. Additional models of proteins will be used to explore protein secondary structure, and Jmol tutorials that reinforce the concepts will be demonstrated. All materials are available online or through the MSOE Model Lending Library.


Margaret Franzen

Milwaukee School of Engineering


Colleen Conway

Mount Mary University

Kimberly Dirlam-Schatz

University of Wisconsin – Fox Valley

Heather Mernitz

Alverno College

Tuesday August 5, 2014 9:30am - 12:30pm
MAK D1129