CODECraft develop a new way to teach programming basic skills while you play a super popular game called Minecraft. Using different Minecraft modification (Forge, Mystcraft, Agrarianskies and Computercraft) to create what we call CODECraft. In CODECraft, the students will program a “turtle “that is a robot, to do some specific task faster than if they do it manually using a program language called LUA to create structures like houses, floors, walls in 3D using loops, variable, statements and functions. Our hope is that students will find this game amazing and engaging and they will demonstrate transferred programing skills from the game to real programing languages like Python or C++. This summer we create a really impressive level in CODECraft as proof of our concepts, and we look to test that level in middle school students from the NCSU summer camps.
Reniel Irizarry Del Toro, Gerardo E. Serrano Rodriguez
Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by death of cholinergic neurons, which secrete the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. This results in a loss of the total amount of acetylcholine circulating in neural networks. Modern drugs target acetylcholinesterase so as to inhibit its function, allowing for increased transmission of acetylcholine in cholinergic synapses. The aim is that an increase in cholinergic activity leads to an increase in cognition. However, these drugs only bind temporarily and have consequential problems that make modern AChE inhibitors of little effect. The main goal of our project is to engineer a snake toxin, fasciculin-II, capable of crossing the blood brain barrier and inhibiting acetylcholinesterase with enough affinity that it increases cholinergic transmission without yielding toxic outcomes. This fasciculin binds to the peripheral acetylcholinesterase found in neuromuscular junctions and causes rapid twitching. Fasciculin-II binds to acetylcholinesterase very tightly with the use of many charged residues and hydrophobic residues and we would like to optimize this interaction so that it may serve a therapeutic purpose in patients of AD.