FLoid® Cell Imaging Station Rides the BioBus to Inspire Love of Science
by Samantha Fabiano - 07/15/13
While our country’s education programs struggle to inspire students through science, a high-tech lab on wheels is helping to overcome this challenge one classroom at a time. BioBus, created by Dr. Benjamin Dubin-Thaler, is decked out with state-of-the-art research equipment and has since brought interactive science education to more than 20,000 students every year with the help of sponsors and supporters such as Life Technologies.
Image taken by BioBus student using the FLoid® station: Fluorescent Mammal Cells
BioBus provides K-12 students authentic lab experiences through hands-on lessons in cell biology led by Dr. Dubin-Thaler and his crew of scientists. In support of this effort, Life Technologies loaned a FLoid® Cell Imaging Station to travel aboard the BioBus. The FLoid® station is a user-friendly, integrated approach to imaging that captures and documents high-quality, multi-color fluorescent images in less than five minutes. Users are able to take colorful pictures such as the fluorescent mammal cells pictured below.
The collaboration between Life Technologies and BioBus further helps students delve deep into the microscopic world of cells. “Students are so used to learning straight from textbooks, but BioBus and its use of the FLoid® station make it possible for students to see things more in real life,” stated Dr. Dubin-Thaler. “We are trying to give students a real science experience that they wouldn’t get in school.”
The simplicity of the FLoid® station makes it accessible to almost everybody and has a long-lasting, positive effect on both the students and the teachers. “Even after a classroom’s time on the BioBus has come to an end, participants are able to take their three color images from the FLoid® station along with them,” explained Dr. Dubin-Thaler. “Teachers are then able to incorporate these pictures in their classroom, furthering learning and enhancing their curriculum.”
Dr. Dubin-Thaler started BioBus in 2007, just weeks after finishing his Ph.D. at Columbia University, where he first got the idea as a way to inspire students to gain a deep appreciation for science, and maybe even consider a career in biology. The non-profit venture now brings hands-on science education to schools that otherwise might not provide such rich experiences. “Students come on to the bus that have never considered a science career and they leave seeing science as something that’s fun,” Dr. Dubin-Thaler said.
Founder, Benjamin Dubin-Thaler with the FLoid® station
While the BioBus primarily travels to some of the most underserved schools in New York City, it has also journeyed across the country visiting schools, science festivals, summer camps, museums, and other locations. To date, the BioBus has educated more than 80,000 students, averaging six classes a day. The lab on wheels is also committed to environmental sustainability, so it is almost completely carbon-neutral and powered by solar, wind, and bio-fuels.
Increased demand for BioBus is forcing Dr. Dubin-Thaler to consider expansion options for the program. He is already planning BioBase, a permanent lab located in Manhattan on Avenue D and 8th Street that will serve as a center for research and learning. A small fleet of BioBuses, however, isn’t out of the realm of possibility either. “In the near future, we wish to expand with more buses,” Dr. Dubin-Thaler says. “Our ultimate goal is to have at least one bus that can tour cross country full-time.”
FLoid™ Cell Imaging Station is for research use only. Not for use in diagnostic procedures.