By Dr. Daniel Osipovitch, Waterford Science Teacher
This year, the 9th year of Waterford Internship Program with the University of Utah, had 5 rising seniors join a variety of labs in the Pharmacology Department at the U. Their final presentations, 10-minute seminar-style talks, were given on Friday, July 28th at the university. It was readily apparent that these students learned a tremendous amount of science and their skills in the lab grew exponentially throughout this experience. Terms like “passaging cells,” “ion resin chromatography,” “RNA-scope analysis,” and “organic protecting groups” were not in their vernacular at the start of summer, yet in these presentations, the students spoke confidently about high-level science beyond the scope of most high school classroom experiences.
Steven T. ’24 worked to prove DNA-encoded libraries for molecules that could be used to treat particular types of cancer cells. Molly M.’24 worked to help fix a global supply chain issue of heparin by optimizing the production of precursor molecules using genetically modified bacteria. Lauren W. ’24 and Rowan H. ’24 worked in tandem to understand protein localization in specific brain cells that may be involved with various neuronal diseases. Ethan B. ’24 worked to understand how various growth conditions affect the production of cell sheets that can be used to treat osteoarthritis.
Each of these experiences utilized skills and knowledge spanning organic chemistry, biotechnology, and molecular biology. This rewarding experience has allowed students to see the deeper context of cutting-edge science research in real-time.
Dr. Daniel Osipovitch (Dr. O), chemistry teacher at Waterford, received his Ph.D. in Experimental and Molecular Medicine from Dartmouth College (NH) in February of 2015. His thesis research used protein engineering/bioengineering to develop new ways of treating drug-resistant Staph. infections with engineered enzymes. Dr. O also has a B.S. in chemistry and a B.S. in forensic science from the University of New Haven (CT). Through tutoring, he developed his passion for teaching and recognized that he needed to be in the classroom inspiring our future scientists and engineers; he hopes to show students that chemistry, although challenging, is a beautiful and exciting view into how the world around us works. Dr. O believes that science is one of the best ways to connect to the world around us. Other passions of his include playing a variety of games (D&D, Magic the Gathering, board games), cooking, hiking, metalsmithing, and enameling.
He has taught a variety of classes throughout his tenure at Waterford including honors chemistry, AP chemistry, food science, game theory, pharmacology, and a variety of independent study courses. He helped to start and currently coaches our highly competitive Science Olympiad team which has come top-3 in state the past couple years. He has also acted as a mentor for the Pharmacology Research Program at the U, where students get an intensive 8-week experience doing scientific research in state-of-the-art labs.
It is Dr. O’s goal to develop in his students a curiosity about the world, and he hopes his students leave with a true understanding of Rosalind Franklin’s poignant statement, “science and everyday life cannot and should not be separated.”
May 17, 2023
February 5, 2023
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