A permanent new Maryland Science Center exhibit known as BodyLink was produced through a partnership between the Science Center, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions and the University of Maryland School of Medicine. The 2,200-square-foot exhibit, which opened Nov. 21, is dedicated to communicating the latest cutting-edge health news in terms nonscientists can understand.
In addition to interactive exhibits that let visitors learn more about the basics of genetics, immunology and preventive medicine, BodyLink also contains video screens that display news items and images from the latest developments in the world of research and an area for presentations and briefings.
"We're providing information so that people can learn about health issues and research, then be prepared to make informed decisions," said Jennifer Bistrack, director of BodyLink.
The board of the exhibit is made up of people from Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland who will edit and approve the science updates. A plaque in the space acknowledges Hopkins contributors Robert Siliciano, professor of allergies and infectious diseases; Janet Siliciano, research associate; Neal Salomon, instructor; Wendy Sanders, research associate; and Daphne Monie, a doctoral candidate.
Monie and six other Hopkins graduate students are also involved in a project known as Teacher Thursdays, which will bring public school teachers to BodyLink for updates in a particular area of health sciences. Students will each lead one Teacher Thursday, at which they'll help brainstorm classroom activities to convey the new developments.
The Hopkins students also will spend time as docents for BodyLink, answering visitors' questions and offering additional activities.
A Science Education Partnership Award from the National Institutes of Health funded the creation of the exhibit. CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield is a sponsor. BodyLink is the Science Center's second of three planned exhibits to keep the public in touch with the latest news in important areas of research. The first, SpaceLink, opened in 1999; the third, TerraLink, dedicated to earth sciences, is scheduled to open in 2004.