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Becomes an Ideal Science Project ENGAGING STUDENTS

for Students, Faculty and Staff

BY CYNTHIA ADAMS PHOTOS BY NANCY EVELYN ILLUSTRATIONS BY JARED JACKSON , B . J . WIMPEY, RENEE STANDER , STEVEN ARNOLD , AND JEF FREYDLE

A

white horse gets a morning workout in a ring at the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine’s Complex, as onlookers evaluate, closely monitoring the horse’s movements as it’s taken through its paces. The sun hesitates behind a puffy cloud, signifying something inexorable to the horse. The horse respires in the morning air. With nostrils flared wide, flank and hooves shifting, muscles rippling, the horse’s tail dusts the motes of sunlight that dance along in its wake. It’s a marvelous thing observed, the delicate configuration of musculature, sinew, cartilage and bone supporting the horse’s 1,200 pounds. The systems contained within this great beast provide clues that only an educated onlooker can visually discern. To a trained eye the horse is nearly transparent as glass, and nearly as delicately configured. The observers lean in, eyes trained, following each swishing movement of a horse

that is not glass, but visceral, quivering, and elegant kinetic energy in motion. The ringside cluster includes professors, scientists and veterinary students, trained upon something which only they observe and evaluate.

ONLY YARDS AWAY… Meanwhile, a gathering of men and women huddle nearby in a different ring. Twenty three men and women circle a conference room table and line the walls inside the large animal research building. They, too, observe in order to teach, employing a virtual 3-D world at their fingertips. There’s not much personal space in the darkened room, but no one appears to mind. The observers are close enough that you can hear breaths expelled in exasperation or a sharp intake when caught by happy surprise. There’s only one reference point for this captive group—the large TV on the wall. They stare, all absorbed by a graphic. They have named a teenager in a virtual world “Chip” and his diabetic cat “Dip.” Chip and Dip are a

case study premise, describing processes in type II diabetes that are “crazily complex,” according to one student seated at the table. A laptop keyboard key strike causes a 3dimensional muscle cell to wriggle, and there is a collective murmur. Here, too, there is a twitchy, kinetic energy, an air of anticipation inside the room. The group discusses Chip’s muscle fibers, glucose transporters and mitochondria, and “parsing out exactly what we’re doing.” The animation of Chip’s body structure and musculature is debated as Jared Jackson, the project’s lead animator, interacts with the “Thingy” he has created. “Thingy” is the

1. Can you guess who they are? Answers on page 40.

UGA Graduate School Magazine W I N T E R 2 0 1 1

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Winter 11 - UGAGS Magazine  

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