Studying these cells could lead to new treatments for diseases ranging from gastrointestinal disease to diabetes.
In the midst of inaugural festivities, the 56th annual Massachusetts Science Fair took up residence in Johnson Athletics Center on May 6 and 7. The high school fair drew more than 300 students from all over the state to MIT to compete for college scholarships, awards and honors.
"The students love coming to MIT," said Althea Brown, a biology teacher at Medford High School. "We tell them that MIT is the place to be."
Close to 250 judges, including doctors, engineers and university professors, presided over this year's competition. Student projects ranged in topic from astronomy to earth science, computer science and more. There were projects on dental decay, bacteria in foods and even the effect of certain food allergies on weight.
Arielle Rollins of Westfield High used her love of dance to create her project, "The Turning Point: The Physics of a Pirouette," which won one of the regional first-place prizes, worth $300.
She hypothesized that a deeper pliÃ© would result in a greater turn rate for dancers.