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The CEID is a haven for students who have a passion for creating and innovating, but the students are not limited to undergraduates or mechanical engineers. Through the Integrated Graduate Program in Physical and Engineering Biology (IGPPEB), graduates studying biology can learn about the CEID’s resources and pursue projects that interest them. This Wednesday evening, Paul Muir sat at the Makerbot station. Paul is studying synthetic biology and created a program in Matlab to convert data on the shape of proteins into stl files. The proteins can then be 3d printed in the CEID and will be used in classes to demonstrate how different proteins fit together.

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When asked about her project, Catherine McGuinness, excitedly bounced over to the back corner of the CEID where she pulled out a test tube rack that she designed to easily dip test tubes in liquid nitrogen, and then 3-d printed herself. Catherine is a first year grad student with an interest in cytoskeletons and motor proteins. She studied physics as an undergraduate and is also working with Breakthrough New Haven, a program for high potential middle school students, to make components for a physics module. She designed a car, its wheels, and axles in Solidworks. She then printed these parts on the Makerbot and Objet and cut a track using the laser cutter. The students will be able to perform experiments, testing how various tracks and weight distributions effect frictional forces and how the car moves.

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Jennifer Gains and Jerimiah Johnston, who study computational biology and molecular biophysics respectively, have programmed and constructed a 3D scanner. Much of the structure of the scanner was either laser cut or 3d printed right in the CEID, and the team has also been working to write code that will interpret data from the laser and construct a 3d model of the object being scanned.

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The students all commented on how they loved the interdisciplinary and collaborative nature of the class. Jeremiah in particular noted that the class provides an opportunity for “wetlab people to do something in a workshop.” If you see any of these projects being worked on in the CEID, don’t hesitate to ask questions; the group is eager to share!