IHM Students Get Lesson On DNA

Salesianum School and Mr. Phillip Vavala ’66, science department chairman, welcomed 48 students from Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic School on Dec. 9 for a special presentation of the DNA Megamolecule in the Rocco A. Abessinio ’59 Science Center.


The visiting 7th-grade students engaged in a unique classroom session with Mr. Vavala, and spent time observing and learning about DNA through Salesianum’s Megamolecule in the science center stairwell at the corner of 18th & Broom Streets.


The Megamolecule, installed in 2006, is a 96-base pair model of a section of DNA that codes for a portion of the beta chain of hemoglobin, the molecule responsible for oxygen transport. A point mutation at position 50 will result in sickle cell anemia, a genetic disease which significantly diminishes oxygen carrying capacity.


Mr. Vavala said that students from Saint Edmond’s Academy, St. John the Beloved and St. Mary Magdalen School are scheduled to come later this year. He encourages other schools to contact him at pvavala@salesianum.org if they’re interested in scheduling a similar visit.


Students arrive from IHM.
Students arrive from IHM.