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Jessica Bursler

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Project Title: Carbon Dioxide Cycles: Exploring and Integrating the Significance of CO2 in the Undergraduate Laboratory


​ Jessica Bursler, Medical Diagnostics on a Pre-med track

Project Mentors

Trevor Daly (preceptor), Mark Baillie (Assistant Professor, Chemistry & Biochemistry), Jacqueline Fajardo (Assistant Professor, Chemistry & Biochemistry), Alenka Hlousek-Radojcic (Associate Professor, Biological Sciences)


Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Project Description

We are producing two lab activities (one for biology and one for chemistry) for the undergraduate Integrated Biology and Chemistry Program (iBC) to give students a better understanding of how a variety of concepts in chemistry directly relate to biology themes. I am working on a pair of labs that use specific examples to show the micro and macro aspects of carbon dioxide. In the chemistry lab, students will explore the role that carbon dioxide plays in maintaining blood pH. In the biology lab, students will explore the carbon cycle; specifically, leaf decomposition.

Jessica Bursler adds a beaker of base to a bottle of leaves, which will sit for a week andchange composition based on the decomposition of the leaves.

Why is this project important to you?

I am designing a lab for future science students, whose shoes I was in a year ago. I am excited to instill my point of view as a student into creating and designing a project that will clarify difficult chemistry and biology concepts for my fellow classmates. In addition, I am gaining valuable experience by problem solving through research.

How has this project impacted you both personally and professionally?

Experiencing the work our preceptors and professors put into the activities and curricula has been eye-opening and a great honor. They always say, "you never stop learning." My preceptors and professors spend their summers designing and researching how they can teach more successfully the following year. In my upcoming medical school years, I always remind myself why I am working so hard: Everything I am experiencing, from the research itself to the eight plus hour work day and the professional environment is preparing me for my future.

How has the interdisciplinary nature of the work influenced the project?

Intertwining the complex ideas of a buffer into biological systems is my goal. I began to learn more when I examined the similarities between the chemistry and biology aspects. In the future, I hope that students in the integrated course will use the lab I am developing to understand that chemistry and biology are directly related.

​Jessica Bursler titrates the beaker of base solution and decomposed leaves to determine thenew composition based on the new amounts of base in the water.​​

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  • Interdisciplinary Science Learning Laboratories
  • 221 Academy Street, Suite 402
  • University of Delaware
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • Phone: 302-831-6400
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