UCR Students Team With Middle Schoolers to Present Research at First Sunday Event

May 6th Event at Riverside Metropolitan Musuem Features Undergraduates from Kisailus Lab, Mira Loma Middle School Students

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) — Undergraduate students from the University of California, Riverside will team up with students from Mira Loma Middle School to demonstrate how invertebrate animals develop the tools they need for survival and what science can learn from them as part of the First Sundays presentation at the Riverside Metropolitan Museum on Sunday, May 6 from 1 to 4 p.m.

The students are all members of the research team of Professor David Kisailus, the Winston Chung Endowed Professor in Energy Innovation at the Bourns College of Engineering. In his lab, Kisailus works to create biomimetic and biologically inspired nanomaterials for the next generation of advanced materials.

“Undergraduate research is an integral part of my lab, and that stems from my undergraduate experience at Drexel University,” he said, adding that he has mentored more than 60 undergraduates in his five years at UCR. He currently has 14 undergraduates in his lab.

Design by nature flyer

Flyer for the Design by Nature event on Sunday, May 6, 2012.

“The undergraduates work with graduate students and conduct research projects that are related to, but independent from, the graduate student’s projects,” he said.

Eight different research groups will present posters in the Nature Lab on the second floor of the museum. In preparation for the event, the student-researchers have also been working with the grade school students to create demonstrations that help explain their work.

“The middle school students will be co-presenting with our undergraduate researchers, showing demos to help visitors visualize what the research is all about,” Kisailus explained. “It is pretty exciting. The undergrads get to learn a little something about mentoring and how to communicate their research to the general public.”

For example, in 2011 one demonstration focused on how sea creatures use calcium carbonate, the same material that makes up chalk, to create ultra-hard, impact resistant shells that help them avoid becoming another creature’s dinner.

“The student breaks a piece of chalk, then shows the shell, made of the same material, and challenges them to break it, and they can’t. Then we talk to them about how it works on a nano-scale,” he explained.

It is the second year in a row that Kisailus and his students have participated in the program. Last year, over 200 visitors attended, a number he hopes to improve upon this year. “It should be a really good show,” he said.

In addition to the poster presentations, First Sunday will also include Captain Carl and his Mobile Tide Pool, which will allow visitors to observe and interact with many of the same sea creatures that are researched in Kisailus’ lab.

List of presenters and their topics.:

  • “Chewing Through Rock with the Hardest Teeth on Earth”
    – Authors: Brian Weden, Leslie Wood, Qianqian Wang and David Kisailus
  • “Making Nanosized Paint to Clean Water?”
    – Authors: Kyle Nelson, Christian Alcaraz, Alexander Dudchenko, Nichola Kinsinger, and David Kisailus
  • “Producing Pure Water using Sunlight and Designs from Sea Shells?”
    – Authors: Alexander Dudchenko, Letia Solomon, Nichola Kinsinger, and David Kisailus
  • “Running on Light: Making Nanoscale Sunscreen to Power Cars”
    – Authors: Louis Lancaster, Norman Lim, Yinzhe Liu, Wenting Hou, and David Kisailus
  • “What do Snails know about Making Armor?”
    – Authors: Ziran Wang, Wesley Dong, Chris Salinas, and David Kisailus
  • “Ultra-tough Skateboards Inspired by a Feisty Crustacean”
    – Authors: Steven Herrera, Mohammed Alam, Garrett Milliron, and David Kisailus
  • “From Bones to Batteries: Nanomaterials for Fast Charging Electric Vehicles”
    – Authors: Joseph Fiore, Richard Lu, Jianxin Zhu, and David Kisailus
  • “Using Enzymes to Make Nanomaterials!”
    – Authors: Chhay Sun, John Johnson, and David Kisailus

Media Contact


Tel: (951) 827-2495
E-mail: kris.lovekin@ucr.edu
Twitter: krislovekin

Additional Contacts

Riverside Metropolitan Mueseum
Tel: (951) 826-5273

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