Golden Ring Middle students become medical researchers


For a week in December 2012, seventh graders at Golden Ring Middle School – all 200 of them – became medical researchers investigating the “Mystery of the Crooked Cell.”

Using equipment from the Maryland Loaner Lab, the Golden Ring students conducted a study of sickle cell anemia. The students simulated a clinical test for the disease using gel electrophoresis. Lab groups were given samples that mimicked the characteristics of sickle blood cells and normal blood cells. Students were then given a patient sample to test against the known samples. Each student group was given four class periods to complete the investigation. The lab was set up in an activity room at the school so the students were not in their normal classrooms, which added to the “real life” experience.

All of the participating student groups were successful in determining if their sample patient had normal blood cells, the sickle cell gene, or was a carrier for the disease.

This experience gave students exposure to equipment that they might not see until college and taught them proper scientific techniques, for example, for pipetting. The exercise was conducted to inspire students’ interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) studies and careers.

The Maryland Loaner Lab is made possible by Towson University Center for STEM Excellence Bioscience Education and Outreach Program. Students at Golden Ring had the chance to experience the sickle cell anemia project because the school’s science department chair, Amy L. Wesloski, attended a daylong professional development workshop that qualified her to borrow the needed equipment.

For more information about the Maryland Loaner Lab, please visit the



Story and photos submitted by Amy L. Wesloski, Science Department Chair, Golden Ring Middle School
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