As I write this our Tox 1402L students are engaged in a new service learning trial. The enviroment is calm and engaging with our students having taken the reigns as teachers. Their assignmentb this week is to take a trial group of students through a lab exercise. The exercise focuses on the use of an ELISA test, a common immunological assay that forms the backbone of many of the medical tests that are used in our society. The ELISA test is the foundation of modern pregnancy, HIV, and streptococcal bacterial infections of the throat tests. Todays lab focuses on the molecular mechanism that is used in the ELISA test, identifying confounding factors that may lead to false positives.
The students having worked through the lab and analysis and have become the experts bringing a fresh perspective on relevant questions and applications. The goal is two fold; first to introduce the 1402L students to the vagaries and challenges of teaching science, and at the same time introduce a complex medical test that is commonly used in our society to the people that it effects.
St. John’s is a leader is service learning and by moving forward into a new arena of science education paired with health care education we are creating a new mechanism to leverage what goes on in the lab for the greater St. John’s community.
To give you a feel for what happened in the lab, I have asked students to add their experiences to this post as comments.