Narrator: This is Science Today. Preparing food can be a powerful way to understand — and teach — the effects of mechanical and chemical environments on cellular behavior. At UCLA, there's a popular course called Science and Food in which molecular biologists teach students about these mechanical and chemical environments through food preparation.
Rowat: When I was a post-doc, I realized that food could actually be a great way to start to communicate to a broader audience about science.
Narrator: Integrative biologist Amy Rowat, who founded the course, is particularly interested in texture — and how the texture of cells can indicate health or disease.
Rowat: Cancer cells for example are softer, more flexible than benign cells and in fact when treated with different drugs, they become stiffer.
Narrator: In the Science and Food courses, students can learn about cellular texture through food — like why some cells have a stiffness similar to Jell-o, while others are more like cream cheese. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.