Establishing Vital Connections Between High School Chemistry Students and the University Experience

Villa Park ChemClub with Dr. Rasch
Greg Mitchell, AP Envronmental Science Teacher at VPHS, Dr. Bartrom-Olsen VPHS Chemistry teacher & Club Advisor, and Dr. Rasche, with Board members.


Helping to establish the vital connection between high school Chemistry students and the University was recently facilitated through a lecture delivered by Dr. Madeline Rasche, a Professor at California State University at Fullerton to students at Villa Park High School. Dr. Rasche lectured the VPHS ChemClub on “Methane-Producing Microorganisms: Environmental Heroes or Agents of Metabolic Disease?”

“Methane production by microorganisms has a powerful impact on the environment because methane (CH4) is both an energy source and a greenhouse gas. Many of the microbial enzymes involved in methane production require a specialized coenzyme called tetrahydromethanopterin (H4MPT). Our laboratory uses a combination of biochemistry, molecular biology, genomics, and biophysical approaches to identify and characterize genes and enzymes required for the biosynthesis of H4MPT. By understanding how one of these enzymes works, it has been possible to develop inhibitors of methane production that may help to decrease the production of methane as a greenhouse gas from biological sources such as microorganisms in the rumen (first stomach) of domestic cattle”.

The ChemClub at Villa Park invites guest lecturers to provide the high school members a glimpse of what lays ahead of them in college chemistry classes and research. 

The powerpoint presentation took place on Feb 21st and was followed by a question and answer period of great interest to the students. 


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