Moving Science

Birmingham-Area High School Students Visit Southern Research Institute for a Day of Experiments and Lively Discussions

November 20, 2014


BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – November 20, 2014 – A total of 20 students from Hoover High School, Huffman High School, Holy Family Cristo Rey High School, and Ramsay High School visited Southern Research Institute headquarters today to participate in chemistry, biology and environmental engineering experiments as well as take part in educational roundtables with institute staff members. In the evening, students will attend a reception in the courtyard of Southern Research Institute’s Southside headquarters where they will meet with business, government, and non-profit executives from across Alabama.

It was all part of Southern Research Institute’s local community outreach initiative — Future Scientists & Engineers of Alabama — to further educate students interested in the fields of science and engineering before they enter college.

“This is part of our effort to spark interest, and create a local talent pool, for exciting, innovative, and top-paying science and engineering jobs where you can do the kind of work that can improve the lives of millions of people,” said Southern Research Institute President & CEO Art Tipton, Ph.D.

Southern Research Institute scientists and engineers instructed and supervised the junior and senior high school students as they conducted experiments within institute labs.

The Experiments
Synthesizing aspirin: Students synthesized aspirin, the first research-based pharmaceutical. Aspirin is an effective pain reliever and helps reduce the risk of heart attacks. Southern Research Institute Senior Medicinal Chemist Robert A. Galemmo, Jr., Ph.D., instructed and supervised students during this experiment.
Pinpointing specific proteins in cells: Students conducted a highly regarded “Western Blot” analysis of proteins in cells — an important step in the creation of vaccines because it can be used as a diagnostic tool that senses the slightest immunogenic response from a virus or bacteria in patient samples. Southern Research Institute’s Cancer Research Department Chairman Bo Xu, M.D., Ph.D., instructed and supervised students during this experiment.
Helping to make water safer: Students moved through various workstations to analyze water quality from local water sources. Rivers and streams feed our water supply and provide the habitat for fish and wildlife to thrive. Southern Research Institute’s Manager of Water Research Brian Mastin, Ph.D., instructed and supervised students during this experiment.
Since 1941, Southern Research Institute has been conducting innovative science and engineering work that helps make people’s lives better.

Here are just a few highlights of that work:
Developed seven FDA-approved cancer drugs, and is developing 18 other treatments for diseases as part of the Alabama Drug Discovery Alliance with the University of Alabama at Birmingham
Developing vaccines to combat infectious diseases around the world
Created the state of Alabama’s first solar research facility to study the effects of the Southeast’s unique atmospheric conditions on solar power systems
Helping to make water safer and provide healthier habitats for fish and wildlife
About Southern Research Institute
Southern Research Institute is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) scientific research organization, founded in 1941, that conducts preclinical drug discovery and development, advanced engineering research in materials, systems development, and environment and energy research. Approximately 500 scientific and engineering team members support clients and partners in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, defense, aerospace, environmental and energy industries. Southern Research is headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama. Additional laboratories and offices are located in Wilsonville and Huntsville, Alabama, as well as Frederick, Maryland, Durham, North Carolina, Cartersville, Georgia, and Houston.


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