Get to work, future scientists! On Saturday, March 4, 2017, thanks to the combined efforts of the Masonic Cancer Center and the Science Museum of Minnesota, museum-goers stopping by the Cancer & the Human Body exhibit had the opportunity to put on lab coats and goggles to perform hands-on cancer biology experiments!
At the exhibit, researchers from the Masonic Cancer Center provided an inner look at the workings of the extraordinary human body and what happens to our bodies when cancer invades and spreads. Lines were out the door as more than 1,100 visitors of all ages eagerly awaited their turn to view real tissue samples, test their cancer knowledge, and win prizes!! Even Goldy Gopher was there with his lab coat on, ready to lend a hand to our researchers - and pose for a few photo-ops along the way!!
New this year was Dr. David Odde’s "Cancer Cells Move with the Dark Side of the Force" exhibit. His research group paired up with the Black Label Movement dance theater to use physical activity to explain how cancer cells move. Similar to a game of “tug of war”, this was a fun and interactive way to demonstrate how different factors influence a cancer cell’s ability to move throughout the body.
Researchers from the lab of Dr. Jaime Modiano shared heartwarming stories of how dogs, who naturally get cancer just like humans, have helped us discover better cancer treatments for both pets and humans. Their 3D printer, which was actively printing one of the molds for radiation therapy for a canine patient, was a huge hit!
A few of our exhibitors even brought along live animals to help demonstrate the importance of animal research in understanding cancer and testing new treatments! Dr. Troy Lund and his lab brought zebrafish, and explained how these tiny creatures have helped us make BIG progress in understanding how bone marrow stem cells travel through the body after a transplant. Dr. David Largaespada and his team brought along cages of live mice to demonstrate how “transgenic” technology can help us change, delete, or add genes to understand what causes cancer.
Students from Dr. Irina Stepanov’s lab tested museum-goer’s knowledge about the dangers of tobacco use, particularly e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products, in their game of “Tobacco Jeopardy.” Winners walked away with Masonic Cancer Center swag!!
Dr. Doug Yee’s lab let attendees “Be a Scientist for an Afternoon!” Future scientists got firsthand experience using pipettes and microscopes, important tools used by researchers to study cancer in their labs. For those not quite ready to start their own experiments, Dr. Chris Pennell was there to teach the basics of Cancer 101!
At Dr. Nelson Rhodus’ table, visitors learned about how oral cancer can be prevented and detected - and took home FREE toothpaste and toothbrushes to get them started on their own healthy habits!
A few of our community partners also took part in sharing their expertise at this event. The National Marrow Donor Program, genetic counselors from University of Minnesota Health, and radon experts from the Minnesota Department of Health all joined us in our goal of educating the public about cancer and what each of us can do to understand our unique risks!
Anyone still looking for that "EWW!” factor was sure to find it at one of our exhibits featuring real organs! At Dr. Tim Starr’s exhibit, visitors could test their skills in identifying healthy organs from cancerous ones by viewing real mouse tissues and cells! Only a few tables away, they could observe dozens of real human tissues up close and learn from our experts in the Department of Lab Medicine and Pathology.
If you missed us at this event, be sure to look for us at the Minnesota State Fair on August 31, 2017!