Boston Museum of Science, 2017
My laboratory has been intensely involved in outreach activities. One challenge the field faces is that people commonly consider on of our most important examples for soft matter, the mucus, as a waste product. One reason for this is the general lack of publicly available scientific information on crucial facets of mucus functions. The topic is underrepresented in basic educational literature such as biology textbooks, and is even absent in important public educational resources such as the “Hall of Human Life” exhibit in the Boston Museum of Science. My goal is to close the discrepancy between the public and scientific perception of mucus. The aim is to change the popular paradigm of mucus from a waste product to a fascinating material with many important roles in biology, particularly in human health. I am committed to this goal for two reasons: first, only people who understand the significance of mucus will read and implement our science. Thus, communicating this topic with the public community is of pivotal importance for the advancement of research in this area. Second, knowledge of mucosal functions in the human body is the basis of improved health, and if we hope to implement any scientific advances that we make, we need a receptive audience. The fruitful development of the mucus research field goes hand in hand with the education of the people; if we want to grow as a scientific field, we need to prepare the upcoming generations for this area.
To this end, our team have created the videos below to illustrate the important and multiple functions of mucus in the body. In addition, in collaboration with the artist Xiana Teimor, I am working on a draft for a book on mucus functions for young children.
I encourage inquiries for collaborations on outreach.
How Mucus Keeps You Healthy MIT K12 Initiative Chemistry in Action
Drawing for a children’s book (under development) in collaboration with artist,
Xiana Teimoy, showing microbes climbing up into the nose, where mucus will defeat them.
Click on the pictures for a PDF version
Boston Museum of Science