Frost Science

FaviconPersonalized Medicine: Treatment Tailored to the Patient’s Unique Genetic Makeup 8 Jul 2019, 4:55 pm

Frost Science invited Daria Salyakina, PhD, Associate Director, Personalized Medicine Initiative & Research Institute, and Marilyn Brown, MPH, Lead Operations, Personalized Medicine Initiative, of Nicklaus Children’s Hospital to give their insight about the Personalized Medicine Initiative. Discover more about the human microbiome at The Secret World Inside You exhibition at Frost Science.

As part of the Personalized Medicine Initiative team at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, our goal is to offer the children in the care of our hospital the most state-of-the-art treatments and services. Personalized medicine is driven on the foundation that each individual has a unique genetic makeup. The field is focused on using genomic testing and the resulting data to tailor medical treatment and management for an individual’s needs. “The right medication for the right patient at the right time” has become a sort of catch phrase characterizing this.

In our rapidly expanding field, a new phrase, “second genome,” has recently come into use. If you’re perplexed on what this could possibly be, don’t worry, we had a similar reaction! Second genome actually refers to our human microbiome, a source of microbial diversity with a unique genomic blueprint in every individual. The microbes that make up our microbiome can impact health, change risk of disease, or even cause a disease.

Traditionally scientists needed to use bacterial culture to identify bacteria that could be causing disease. In a common example, your doctor may take a throat swab if you have a sore throat. This helps determine if your sore throat is actually strep throat, caused by the bacterium streptococcus pyogenes. In most cases, sore throats are actually viral in origin, meaning an antibiotic would be useless for treatment. Overuse and misuse of antibiotics can lead to antibiotic resistance, whereby bacteria evolve such that medication is no longer effective. Additionally, inappropriate use of antibiotics can harm the healthy bacteria that make up an individual’s microbiome.

Photo of a young boy.

New technologies, such as whole genome sequencing (WGS), are used to yield a complete genetic picture of a person. This can be extremely helpful in rare genetic disease, where a disease may not easily be recognized by a patient’s doctor. Likewise, WGS can also be used on bodily fluids to identify and characterize the bacteria inside your body or your microbiome, including pathogens that may be causing illness. Knowing the exact bacterium or virus causing an illness can be crucial when determining the best treatment!

Nicklaus Children’s is currently participating in a study using WGS provided by precision medicine company IDbyDNA to help diagnose central nervous system (CNS) infections, such as meningitis, in partnership with lead study site Rady Children’s Institute of Genomic Medicine. Understanding the cause of the illness helps our doctors determine the best course of treatment. For example, this technology could identify causative bacteria in a case of meningitis that could help our doctors select the most effective antibiotic. For CNS infections, diagnosis is extremely time-sensitive and high stakes for the health of a child. Our hope is that this technology will show a better diagnostic rate and clinical outcomes, paving the way for it to be recognized as the standard of care.

Working in pediatric research is intense but always rewarding. We pride ourselves on bringing the children that enter our hospital doors access to some of the most advanced treatments, with the ultimate purpose of providing the best care.

Family exploring "Secret World Inside You" exhibit at Frost Science museum.

The Secret World Inside You will be on view through Sunday, September 8, 2019 inside the Hsiao Family Special Exhibition Gallery on the first floor of the museum. Admission to The Secret World Inside You is included with all museum admission tickets. The Secret World Inside You is presented locally by Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. The exhibition is organized by the American Museum of Natural History, New York (

The post Personalized Medicine: Treatment Tailored to the Patient’s Unique Genetic Makeup appeared first on Frost Science.

FaviconFrost Science Partners with NFL and Others to Build Coral Restoration Site 1 Jul 2019, 5:28 pm

Coral reefs are some of the most diverse ecosystems in the world. They support 25 percent of all marine species on the planet and play an important role in protecting our city from full-force waves. But between warming seas, dangerous run-off pollution and disease, South Florida’s coral reefs are under attack. Nearly 50 percent of the local coral ecosystem has died off, with countless other organisms at risk of facing a similar fate.  Not only could their extinction cause billions of dollars in infrastructure damage to South Florida, it’s estimated that close to 71,000 workers interacting with South Florida’s coral reefs could lose their jobs, and nearly $10 billion in annual income could also be lost.

A new initiative launched at the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science in June, carried out with the help of various local stakeholders, is hoping to mitigate this coral disaster – and while our efforts are just getting started, we’re already making some significant progress toward repairing and restoring some of our most precious natural resources.


As part of the Miami Super Bowl Host Committee’s Ocean to Everglades (O2E) environmental initiative, Frost Science joined forces with NFL Green, the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science’s Rescue a Reef program and FORCE BLUE to replant 100 staghorn corals in waters adjacent to Rainbow Reef, a colorful, expansive coral reef located just off Key Biscayne. The coral restoration project commemorates the NFL’s 100th season and the league’s sustainability mission to leave a lasting legacy in Miami, which will host Super Bowl LIV on February 2, 2020.

FORCE BLUE, a non-profit organization providing mission-based opportunities for retired combat divers from all military branches as the perfect opportunity to re-engage highly skilled servicemen. With additional support from NFL sponsor Verizon Wireless and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, alongside O2E initiative partner ABSOLUT VODKA®, a group from Frost Science, FORCE BLUE and UM joined the effort, collected the fragments of staghorn coral specimens growing at Rescue a Reef’s underwater coral nurseries and re-planted them near Rainbow Reef. These activities will hopefully encourage the growth of new coral reefs, while additionally giving Frost Science and our partners at Rescue a Reef actionable data from which to measure the success of the program.


The mission was a huge success, receiving widespread media coverage and kicking off what we hope will be fruitful growth within our delicate coral reef ecosystems. Reviving Rainbow Reef will not only help biodiversity in the area and protect Miami’s shoreline, but will also provide a location for divers and snorkelers to enjoy. The effort is part of the museum’s commitment to environmental conservation and the restoration of coral reefs across South Florida.

Back at the Frost Science headquarters, Dr. Rivah Winter, a Curator of Aquarium Content & Marine Science at Frost Science and an in-house Inventor in Residence, is at work in our coral research laboratory at the Inventors in Residence Lab, conducting experiments to increase the efficiency of existing reef restoration efforts by improving the thermal tolerance of nursery-grown corals.


If you’re interested in learning more about our conservation and habitat restoration efforts, all you have to do is ask! Simply reach out to to learn how you can get involved.

The post Frost Science Partners with NFL and Others to Build Coral Restoration Site appeared first on Frost Science.

FaviconMembers Matter at Frost Science 30 Apr 2019, 4:23 pm

May 2019 marks our second annual Member Appreciation Month at Frost Science, and there are so many reasons why our Members Matter! Thanks to you, we’re able to offer some of the most groundbreaking exhibitions, science learning programs and events in Miami, and we want to show our appreciation all month long.

Members aren’t the only thing we’re celebrating in May. The United Nations General Assembly and UNESCO have officially declared 2019 the International Year of the Periodic Table of Elements!

Because we love to geek out, we’re combining our enthusiasm for our members and our elements for some extra fun this month. During the month of May, in addition to a sneak peeks of our new special summer exhibition and members-only demos, discussions, discounts and treats, you’ll receive some extra-cool perks. And of course, members always receive free admission to the museum and a 10% discount at Food@Science and the Science Store.

Ready to learn more about those member benefits? Read below to check them out!

The Member Element

Our members are the most important element at Frost Science! In honor of the International Year of the Periodic Table of Elements, we’ve designed a commemorative ‘Members Matter’ element button. Frost Science members can pick up an exclusive ‘Members Matter’ element button (while supplies last) during their visit to the museum this summer – wear it, pin it and post it with scientific pride – and share your favorite photos and moments with us at @frostscience using our hashtags #ItsScienceMiami and #FrostScience.

Matter of Tote

Because you matter to us, all renewals from May 1 through June 30, 2019 will be eligible to receive a free chemistry-inspired tote (while supplies last)! Renew your membership today and stop by the membership office to pick up your reusable cotton tote, limit one per membership household.

Café Cookies

Stop by Food@Science, our onsite café, in May and receive a complimentary cookie with a meal entrée purchase (bowl or sandwich), courtesy of our friends at Constellation Culinary Group. Make sure to show your membership card! (cookie offer not valid on purchases at Coffee@Science)

Save the Date

Frost Science members are invited to be the first to experience our newest special exhibition, The Secret World Inside You on Friday, May 24 from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Presented locally by Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, The Secret World Inside You uses larger-than-life models, computer interactives, videos, art installations and a live presentation to explore the rapidly evolving science revolutionizing how we view human health and understand the inner workings of our bodies. Afterwards, dance the night away in the MeLaβ, check out our brand new “Microbes and You” live presentation, and commemorate the evening with a pic in our specially-themed microbiome photo booth. Click here to register now.

Coming Soon

It’s been a wonderful two years serving our community, and we’re just getting started! Wait until you see what we have in store for you later this year: Our new fall exhibition, Numbers in Nature: A Mirror Maze, opens October 2019, and you won’t want to miss the science (and math!) behind nature’s patterns.

The post Members Matter at Frost Science appeared first on Frost Science.

FaviconFrost Science Awarded LEED Green Building Certification 17 Apr 2019, 11:44 am

On Thursday, April 18, Frost Science announced that it had been awarded LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold Certification for its outstanding practice in the design, construction and operation of a sustainable and energy-efficient facility. The LEED rating system, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), is the foremost program recognizing buildings, homes and communities that are designed, constructed, maintained and operated for improved environmental and human health performance.

“From the conception of this world-class project, it was imperative that the museum would function in the most innovative yet efficient manner possible,” said Frank Steslow, President & CEO of the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science. “We are honored to receive LEED Gold Certification and will continue to raise awareness through our building and programs of positive steps every visitor can take to improve the environment.”


Sustainability is at the heart of Frost Science’s mission. Sitting on four acres within Downtown Miami’s waterfront Maurice A. Ferré Park, the 250,000-square-foot institution is divided into four distinct buildings: the Aquarium, the Frost Planetarium, and the North and West Wings. The building and grounds are designed to express the best practices in green building design, construction and operation, as well as utilize the latest green technologies. The museum also offers a self-guided “Behind the Build” tour around the campus, where guests can learn more about the design concept of the building, the institution’s environmentally friendly best practices, and behind-the-scenes information about its construction and operation.

“Frost Science’s LEED certification demonstrates tremendous green building leadership,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO, USGBC. “LEED was created to make the world a better place and revolutionize the built environment by providing everyone with healthy, green, and high-performing buildings. Frost Science serves as a prime example of how the work of innovative building projects can use local solutions to make a global impact on the environment.”

From the outset, green construction and building materials were selected, including rapidly renewable materials for exhibits, regional material usage, selection of building materials with high levels of recycled content, and low-chemical-emitting building materials and paints. Additionally, the building implemented recycling of construction waste and integrated “blast furnace slag,” a byproduct of iron and steel production, as concrete technology in the building. Through a rigorous points-based system, LEED evaluates projects on siting, sustainability, water efficiency, use of reusable energy sources, and recycled materials, as well as indoor environmental quality and design innovations, among other factors. Frost Science achieved the Gold LEED certification for implementing practical and measurable strategies and solutions aimed at achieving high performance in: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality. The certification identifies Frost Science as a leader in creating healthy experiences and conserving precious resources.


One of Frost Science’s most impressive elements is the water system created for the unique building. Rainwater is collected for use as HVAC makeup water and to irrigate the rooftop gardens (estimated 350,000 gallons per year in city water savings), and a gray water collection system is utilized for flushing toilets and urinals (estimated 250,000 gallons per year in city water savings). The Florida Power & Light Company Solar Terrace on the museum’s sixth-floor rooftop houses a solar farm of photovoltaic solar panels, providing about 66 kW of photovoltaics (218 panels total) calculated to power about two percent of the buildings’ full load. Additionally, the solar trees on the Science Plaza provide approximately 6kW of photovoltaics.


Public transportation options via bus and an onsite Metromover station are adjacent to the museum. Under-building parking is available to prevent heat islands typically caused by parking lots exposed to direct sunlight, along with ample electric vehicle charging stations.

To learn more about the museum’s building, click here.

The post Frost Science Awarded LEED Green Building Certification appeared first on Frost Science.

FaviconMUVE Begins Habitat Resilience Efforts at East Greynolds Park 22 Jan 2019, 4:03 pm

Our Museum Volunteers for the Environment (MUVE) team has officially begun work on the East Greynolds Park restoration site, where we’ll aim to balance the park’s natural environment. It’s our goal to increase our native plant species while reducing the occurrence of destructive invasive species, creating a more sustainable ecosystem and strengthening the park’s defense against sea level rise. And while we may be just getting started, we’re excited to report that our volunteer citizen scientists are well on their way to restoring East Greynolds Park into a thriving natural habitat! Here’s how we’ll get it done.


Putting the Man-Groove Back into Maule Lake

Maule Lake, a former rock mining pit that connects Dade County’s last wild and naturally flowing Oleta River to Biscayne Bay, is getting a much-needed face-lift with this restoration. At the turn of the century, Maule Lake became a metaphorical gold mine for the real estate giants shaping South Florida’s murky landscape. In need of fill to build the railways, roads and buildings that line our shorelines today, developers dredged the lake to form a rock quarry, decimating very dense mangrove forests.

Though today we know that mangrove wetlands are extremely important to our natural ecosystems, that wasn’t necessarily the case when Maule Lake was formed. Mangroves’ benefits are wide-ranging: They trap harmful greenhouse gases, maintain freshwater’s cleanliness, refuge important commercial fish in their juvenile stages, and protect coastlines against rising sea levels and storm surges. Here in Miami, we have three native species of mangrove: red (Rhizophora mangle), white (Laguncularia racemosa) and black (Avicennia germinans) and a closely associated species, buttonwood (Conocarpus erectus), all of which are found at East Greynolds Park.


Unfortunately, hydrological changes have led to the unchecked, rampant growth of salt tolerant invasive plant species, such as Brazilian pepper (Schinus terebinthifolia) and mahoe (Thespesia populnea). These invasive species can, in some cases, cause severe stress to our native mangroves, because they now have to compete with these new intruders for limited resources. Because these species rarely have any natural predators, they’re often free to take over whichever environment they wind up calling home. Rather than put up a fight, our native mangroves tend to alter their own habits, which ultimately causes the entire ecosystem harm. Sadly, invasive species are often propagated by human activity – the releasing of pets into the wild, the movement of boats around the world, and the cultivation and planting of non-native plants can all cause invasive species to grow and spread.

Restoring Peace Among The Natives and The Newbies

At our restoration site, invasive plants are currently outcompeting our essential natural mangroves, and the MUVE team has been tasked with restoring harmony among these warring species. Using quadrats, the MUVE team and their partners from Miami-Dade County and The Nature Conservancy recorded which plants are currently found at the site and how they affect the larger ecosystem. After this initial recording, our volunteers got to work removing invasive trees and planting native mangroves and other saltwater wetland plants.


New measurements will be taken every three months until restoration is completed, and this type of robust scientific study is exactly the stuff that scientists’ dreams are made of. Using this recorded data, our MUVE team will easily be able to determine important ecological changes mediated by volunteer’s efforts.

While this battle has only just begun, this practice will eventually restore the original hydrology of the site and encourage the healthy development of vital native habitats for more mangroves to grow. Soon, East Greynolds Park will be more resilient against sea level rise and better prepared to withstand anything nature throws its way.

MUVE is generously sponsored by Wells Fargo, FedEx and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

This blog post is sponsored by US Storage Centers.

The post MUVE Begins Habitat Resilience Efforts at East Greynolds Park appeared first on Frost Science.

StarDate Online - Your guide to the universe

FaviconTouchdown! 20 Jul 2019, 1:00 am

The first astronauts landed on the Moon on July 20, 1969. And this year the Moon is at its greatest separation from Earth for the month on the 50th anniversary of that date, roughly 13,000 miles farther than the average distance of 239,000 miles.

FaviconTouchdown! 20 Jul 2019, 1:00 am

Earthlings first touched another world 50 years ago today. Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin guided their lunar module, Eagle, to a landing on the Sea of Tranquility, a volcanic plain on the Moon. It was the culmination of an eight-year effort launched by President John F. Kennedy.

The final moments of their descent to the Moon were anything but easy, though.

For a while, the astronauts had a hard time communicating with Mission Control. Their computer was overloaded, so it gave them error messages. And their radar was guiding them into a field of boulders. Armstrong had to fly past that area, burning extra fuel.

But the astronauts and flight controllers overcame the problems. And on July 20th, 1969, Eagle landed on the Moon:

EAGLE: Contact light. Okay, engine stop. ACA out of descent. Mode control both auto, descent engine command override off, engine arm off, 413 is in. CAPCOM: We copy you down, Eagle. ARMSTRONG: Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed. CAPCOM: Roger, Tranquility, we copy you on the ground. You’ve got a bunch of guys about to turn blue here. We’re breathing again. Thanks a lot.

We’ll talk about the next step tomorrow.

Script by Damond Benningfield

Saturday, July 20, 2019
All the way to the Moon

FaviconZodiac 19 Jul 2019, 1:00 am

Several constellations of the zodiac stretch across the southern sky at nightfall. Leo nose dives toward the western horizon, Virgo stretches to its upper left, Scorpius is due south, and Sagittarius is climbing in the southeast.

FaviconCold Calculations 19 Jul 2019, 1:00 am

Apollo 11's lunar module lands on the Moon

Eagle, the Apollo 11 Lunar Module, heads toward the Moon on July 20, 1969. Astronaut Michael Collins snapped the image at left shortly after Eagle separated from the mothership in lunar orbit. At right, a painting depicts the craft landing on the Moon. Neil Armstrong and Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin faced several problems during the descent, including computer errors, communications glitches, and a radar system that was taking them beyond their planned landing site. [NASA; NASA/TRW]

One of the things that amazes many about the Apollo Moon landings is how primitive their computers seem. A smartphone is millions of times more powerful than the computer on Eagle, the lunar module that carried Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the Moon 50 years ago tomorrow.

But that’s a bit deceptive. Armstrong and Aldrin didn’t use the computer to play video games, book dinner reservations, or post on Instagram. Instead, they used it for a single job: landing them safely on the surface of the Moon.

The Apollo computers were developed by MIT — a process that took eight years. The computers stored information in tiny metal “doughnuts” interlaced by wires.

As Eagle descended toward the Moon, though, its computer began fussing at the astronauts. Through a series of unforseen circumstances, it was getting overloaded. So it set off alarms.

But the computer was designed to not freeze or crash when things went wrong. Instead, it dropped the least-important programs and kept running the crucial ones. In that way, the computer successfully guided astronauts to the Moon — a task no smartphone has ever done.


Script by Damond Benningfield

Friday, July 19, 2019
Calculating a path to the Moon
Apollo 11's lunar module lands on the Moon
Apollo 11's lunar module lands on the Moon

FaviconHeading for a Touchdown 19 Jul 2019, 1:00 am

Eagle, the Apollo 11 Lunar Module, heads toward the Moon on July 20, 1969. Astronaut Michael Collins snapped the image at left shortly after Eagle separated from the mothership in lunar orbit. At right, a painting depicts the craft landing on the Moon. Neil Armstrong and Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin faced several problems during the descent, including computer errors, communications glitches, and a radar system that was taking them beyond their planned landing site. [NASA; NASA/TRW]

Cold Calculations
Apollo 11's lunar module lands on the Moon

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