FRANCL, J.; ALLEN, F.; BAGATTO, B.*; OBERST, M.C.; University of Akron; University of Akron; University of Akron; University of Akron: The Muehlstein Academy: Using a Tiered Approach in the Research Experience

The Muehlstein Academy of Mathematics and Science is a cooperative program joining the Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Education at the University of Akron. By participating in the Academy, area high school students are able to work with university faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, and high school teachers in a format designed to encourage interest in mathematics and science. Students enter the Academy during the school year and select a research area to explore further from a variety of topics. Throughout the summer students participate in seminars, field trips, and research at the college level, ending in the fall with a poster presentation. The Academy also allows teachers to gain research experience and earn graduate credits. Participants earn a stipend for their involvement in the Academy. The Muehlstein Academy is primarily funded by the Herman Muehlstein Foundation, Inc. The students chose to work with zebrafish—a popular model organism in developmental biology due to rapid development, transparency of embryos, and ease of maintenance. To test the effects of caffeine on the development of the cardiovascular system, students raised zebrafish eggs in solutions containing various concentrations of caffeine for 1 and 2-week trial periods. In addition, 2-week-old fish were exposed to caffeine in order to measure acute cardiovascular response. Lastly, these experiments were repeated with zebrafish developing in hypoxic water. Heart rate and stroke volume were recorded using a microscope with attached digital camera and were analyzed using ImagePro software. Results showed no significant differences in heart rates within each treatment of caffeine or caffeine/hypoxia; however, there were significant differences among the treatment groups.