COSMOS is an intensive science education program for high school students in California. The students, who are selected for the interest and aptitude for science, come from all parts of the state and diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. During the 4-week program, they live at UCI and participate in an intensive science education experience with lectures and laboratory activities.
In the Chemical Biology cluster, led by Profs. Martin and Van Vranken, students learn about how to extract and characterize useful molecules from natural sources. Lecture topics include the physical basis of color, how enzymes produce plant compounds such as pigments and flavors, the history of the modern pharmaceutical industry and its beginnings in the race to synthesize dye molecules, how proteases break down proteins, and how plants use pigments to harvest energy from the sun. Examples of laboratory activities this year included isolation and characterization of pigments from leaves and flowers, quantitation of nutrients in food plants, and characterization of the activity of enzymes from natural sources.
Application for next summer’s program
More information about the Chemical Biology Cluster