Students work with Temple researcher to understand the science of addiction

Owen J Roberts School District  |  Posted on

Students use planarians to observe and record addictive behaviors of nictotine

Dr. Scott Rawls, principal investigator at Temple University’s Center for Substance Abuse, presented a lecture and lab from the Science Education Against Drug Abuse Partnership (SEADAP). Twenty-three Owen J. Roberts High School National Science Honor Society students learned the science of how and why living things respond to stimuli. They participated in a condensed course about how commonly abused substances such as caffeine, sugar, alcohol and nicotine work in the brain to produce addictive behaviors. Students conducted laboratory research on the effects of nicotine using aquatic flatworms called planarians, measuring immediate and eye-opening results.
Dr. Rawls research has shown the relevance of using planarian for addiction study, with one article co-authored by Owen J. Roberts High School senior Jonathan Arditi, who conducted research, participated in the publishing process and mentored his peers during the visit.
Goals of the program include increased knowledge about the science of drug addiction and affecting attitudes about the consequences of drugs of abuse. Students learned about opportunities in biomedical science careers and asked questions about the future of addiction understanding and research.