The innovation engine for new materials

Jannine Tuttle

Jannine Tuttle


Marymount School

Grade Level: 


Teaching Position: 

General Science


Helen Hansma




Arkadiusz Chworos

Research Project Year: 


Research Project Title: 

Imaging Nanoscale RNA

Research Project Description: 

RNA or ribonucleic acid is a versatile molecule that is being engineered here at UCSB in a bionanotechnology lab. This is an exciting and innovative field because scientists are engineering unique RNA nanorings in an attempt to better understand the nature of RNA, how it self assembles and folds. These novel molecules are of particular interest because the possibility of being used as a therapeutic gene silencer or as a drug delivery mechanism. DNA has been the molecule of choice historically because it is affordable and assessable. RNA is a more versatile molecule than DNA because it can form a diversity of shapes. After the RNA has been designed, modeled and copied it is necessary to confirm that the RNA is taking the expected shape. The RNA is run through a gel electrophoresis to confirm the abundance and distribution of the different RNA dimers. Then the sample is imaged with an Atomic Force Microscope. The AFM runs on a tapping mode that allows scientists to see the shape of the molecule without damaging the molecule. The nanorings are only 15 min diameter compared to a hair that is 100,000 nm wide.

Research Project Attachments: 

Curriculum Project Year: 


Curriculum Project Title: 

Incorporating Inquiry: Students as Scientists

Curriculum Project Description: 

This curriculum unit is a set of physical and life science based lab experiences that are inquiry based. Students explore how scientists use data to determine mass extinctions and check for biases in the fossil record, how materials are transporting in and out of the cell, make bioplastic materials, and play with shape memory Nitinol wire. Activities include teacher directed experiments with extensions for students to experience some element of experimental design in each lab. Students are challenged to demonstrate, apply, and deepen their understanding of material through these hands-on labs.


Curriculum Project Attachments: 

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