Science festival will give kids an insider's view of scientific research

May 12, 2015 | by Robin Heffler

Updated June 16, 2015

Take it from City of Hope researchers: Medical science isn't just for scientists, but something the whole family can enjoy. On Saturday, May 16, the institution illustrated that lesson by offering a variety of educational and fun-filled science and healthy living activities at its second Community Science Festival.

Science Festival Students from across the San Gabriel Valley learned about science at City of Hope's second Community Science Festival.

The goal was to engage the local community to share how City of Hope's researchers are leading the way in advancing knowledge about the causes of, and treatments for, cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases.  To so so, researchers offered valuable prevention and wellness information to community members to better equip them with tools to lead healthier lives.

The free event, which was geared to the San Gabriel Valley’s sixth- through eighth-graders and their families, featured hands-on science activities, educational lectures and demonstrations by scientists from City of Hope’s research facilities and laboratories.

Festival sessions included:

Take Control of Your Health: Visitors learned about the factors that can cause or contribute to disease, including genetics, lifestyle and environment. Shiuan Chen, Ph.D., and Jessica Clague DeHart, Ph.D., M.P.H., helped guests create a chart of their families’ medical traits and conditions, and explained how exercise and healthy foods, along with clean air and water, can reduce the risk of various diseases.

It’s a Really, Really Small World After All: Applying Stem Cells and Nanotechnology to Medicine: Visitors got a chance to use the tools that scientists operate to see tiny stem cells and nanoparticles. Jacob Berlin, Ph.D., Marcia Miller, Ph.D., and Brian Armstrong, Ph.D., explained how scientists are turning cells and particles into vehicles for delivering cancer-fighting drugs to exactly where they’re needed.

Detecting Cancer: Moving Closer to Noninvasive Blood Tests? Using microscopes, slides and video, Jeremy Jones, Ph.D., and Emily Wang, Ph.D., presented the latest advances in molecular and cell biology that are helping scientists develop new ways to find and diagnose cancer. These include focusing on “runaway” cancer cells, and very small genetic elements that often circulate in the bloodstream of people with cancer.

Atomic Building Block Approach to Targeted Cancer Therapeutics and Diagnostics: Kendra Avery, Ph.D., and Krzysztof Bzymek, Ph.D., showed participants how researchers are designing new peptides and antibodies, which together can deliver drug therapies to precise targets.

Other activities included healthy cooking demonstrations and tastings with celebrity chef Paul McCullough, a rock wall, bouncy house, arts and crafts stations for making UV bracelets and hand-held fans, and, for toddlers, coloring books and building blocks.

Transforming the future of health starts with education and a greater awareness of prevention and healthy living strategies. As City of Hope knows, that education starts with scientific inspiration.

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Learn more about becoming a patient or getting a second opinion by visiting our website or by calling800-826-HOPE (4673). You may also request a new patient appointment online. City of Hope staff will explain what's required for a consult at City of Hope and help you determine, before you come in, whether or not your insurance will pay for the appointment.

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