October 10, 2011 in Peptide

The Molecules of Life Project feels its blood pressure rise with Angiotensin

Wednesday the 15th November in Mrs Grant’s second grade class at Oxford Elementary School, Amy Trottier (BSc DAL) was asked to pump up the peptide jam solo.  Providing a solid background on the circulatory system and that most important muscle the heart, Amy described how blood provides oxygen to the body and how blood pressure increases when the need for more oxygen occurs.  The students learned how to measure the pulse of their carotid artery and observed that their heart rate increased after running in place relative to sitting.  Studying balloons after different states of inflation, we discussed elasticity and the importance of maintaining the elasticity of the tubes (the veins and arteries) which carry the blood, by eating healthy food and exercising.   The molecule of life, “Angiotensin” the regulator of blood pressure was mentioned in the process as each student enjoyed coloring pictures of the human heart and circulatory system, and using a stethoscope to listen to the sound of their own heart.  With eight more peptides to go, MLP thanked team Angiotensin for sharing lots of MLP heart at Oxford.

Amy Trottier (BSc DAL) shows off the wonders of the circulatory system.



Having fun coloring hearts, veins and arteries.

I can hear it beating!


October 6, 2011 in Peptide

Monday, April 23rd, 2007, Halifax, NS, 2nd graders were intrigued by the mixing and movements of color dye in a plate of milk as the team of Ted Abraham (BSc, SMU) and Wes Johnston (BFA, NSCADU) introduced the peptide prolactin, which they explained causes milk production.  The students showed their own knowledge about the different kinds of milk, from both plant (soy milk) and animal (i.e. cow, goat, buffalo, llama and human) sources. Engaging the students in a poster about prolactin and a chart about the components of various kinds of milk, Ted relayed how different kinds of milk have different amounts of fat, calcium, energy and vitamins.  Cutting shapes from card board tubes and paper cups, Wes guided the students in how to synthesize a peptide chain from alpha-helix and random coil secondary structures.  Combining the helices and coils together, the students constructed a giant peptide chain, which they measured to be 10 meters long (now that’s a big peptide!).  Milking the prolactin moment, the students grasped why polactin levels are usually very low in men and why in women, prolactin levels increase to a maximum immediately after childbirth.  In addition, they were reminded that oxytocin, another peptide (shaped like a lasso) causes milk release called lactation.

Finishing our third MLP presentation in 2007, (10th total!!), team prolactin was thanked for a crème de la crème MLP experience in 2nd grade in Halifax.


Team Prolactin, Ted Abraham (BSc, SMU) and Wes Johnston (BFA, NSCADU) fielding questions on milk.


Exploring the influence of soap on color dyes floating on different kinds of milk.


October 6, 2011 in Peptide

Friday, February 16th, 2007, Halifax, NS, 2nd graders shook hands and shared the love of learning about Oxytocin thanks to the team of Emilie Crewe (BFA NSCADU) and Amy Holland (BSc SMU) in our first MLP in the New Year, hurray!!

Expanding and contracting rubber bands, relating stories of the comfort of a hug and the times that their pets had babies, looking at pictures of kittens and puppies suckling as well as watching parts of the classic film “101 Dalmatians” , the students were immersed in thought about how oxytocin performs three key functions: 1) to cause feelings of love from touching, 2) to cause contractions for babies to be born and 3) to cause lactation of milk from the mother.  Considering that oxytocin is shaped like a lasso, formed by a string of amino acid building blocks, the students made oxytocin inspired lasso-shaped bracelets.  Different colored beads represented the different amino acids, as each student constructed their own oxytocin bracelet to illustrate the loop of six amino acids, formed by a disulfide bond (the same kind of bond found in hair and in insulin), off of which three other amino acids dangle.  All raised their oxytocin bracelets with glee loving peptide chemistry on a MLP Friday after Valentine’s day.

Finishing our first MLP presentation in 2007, (8th total!!), team oxytocin was thanked for sharing MLP love in 2nd grade in Halifax.


Team Oxytocin, Emilie Crewe (BFA NSCADU) and Amy Holland (BSc SMU) sharing the love of teaching about oxytocin


Studying the contractions of rubber bands.