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During the past few months, an after school enrichment class from Wellington Elementary School in Belmont followed the research of BWH’s Jeff Karp, PhD, on developing gecko-inspired biomedical adhesives.
Recently, the biology class of 13 students, ages 9 and 10, got to see Karp and his team in action when he invited them to spend a day in his lab in Cambridge.
“Dr. Karp gave my students the most extraordinary gift: the gift of knowledge,” said Christina Nicolson, lead teacher of the after school programs sponsored by the Wellington’s Parent-Teacher Organization. “Students learned that they can translate their love and knowledge of animals into helping people.”
Karp kicked off the visit by showing the students a slide show about his scientific background and the lab’s development of a biodegradable and biocompatible gecko-inspired tissue adhesive, intended for use in healing surgical incisions. Later on, students put on lab coats, protective glasses and gloves to observe and discuss with Karp’s team the creation of the polymer material that synthesizes gecko hairs.
“This was a great day for my laboratory. The students asked fantastic questions and were very engaged, as were the members of my lab,” said Karp. “There is nothing more satisfying in academia than inspiring young students—especially those who are at such an influential stage of their lives. We would like to make this an annual event.”