February 17, 2015

DeBakey Cell Lab exhibit to open March 27 at The Health Museum

This spring, The Health Museum will open its first permanent exhibit in five years. Located in the Sue Trammell Whitfield Gallery, the DeBakey Cell Lab opens Friday, March 27 and features seven authentic biology-based science experiments developed for visitors ages seven to adult. From cheek cell analysis, ideal for young visitors, to DNA extraction for budding scientists, there is a fascinating experience awaiting all.

Honorably named after the respected and accomplished medical pioneer Dr. Michael E. DeBakey, the exhibit is designed to inspire interest and educate the public in biology and medicine as well as inspire future scientists and leaders in the medical field. Though Cell Lab exists in Colorado, Maryland and Minnesota, The Health Museum’s $1.2 million, 2,000-square-foot DeBakey Cell Lab is the largest and only bilingual (English/Spanish) Cell Lab in the country. It is also the only science exhibit of its kind to include two complete labs.

“The DeBakey Cell Lab will be a science experience like none other,” said The Health Museum’s Board of Directors Chair Karen Tellepsen. “Through hands-on experiments, this lab is the premier location for students to learn the basics of cellular research, an area changing the future of medicine. You don’t need to be a scientist to enter the lab, but you’ll feel like one when you leave.”

DeBakey Cell Lab visitors don a lab coat, gloves and goggles and perform experiments using a variety of lab equipment. Exploring topics of cellular, molecular and microbiology, the computer-guided (English or Spanish) Lab Companion at each activity bench leads visitors through each step of a particular experiment. Volunteers, medical school students and bilingual staff will also be available to assist whenever needed.

As a free form exhibit, by choosing different bench activities, the DeBakey Cell Lab can become a different experience each time a visitor returns. The seven bench experiments can each take a span of 10 to 30 minutes to complete depending on the age and comprehension level of the visitor. The benches include Cheek Cell, Testing Antimicrobials, Mystery Microbes, Enzymes in Saliva, DNA Extraction, Giant Chromosomes and Blood Bench.

Houston’s future doctors and scientists can also learn from a colorful, three-dimensional Cell Model detailing the fascination of the human cell or How to Use a Microscope, which illustrates the inner workings of any lab’s most important piece of equipment.

Participation in the DeBakey Cell Lab will be included in general admission. Special fees apply for school field trips, birthday parties and Discovery Camps. DeBakey Cell Lab hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m. Monday hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. during June through August and for Federal Holidays. For more information on the DeBakey Cell Lab or to reserve a Discovery Camp, birthday party or field trip, please visitwww.thehealthmuseum.org/lab.

The Health Museum’s DeBakey Cell Lab was generously funded by the DeBakey Foundation, Cullen Foundation, Dunn Foundation, Fondren Foundation, Hamman Foundation, Mabee Foundation, Tellepsen Foundation, Vivian L. Smith, and Wortham Foundation.

The Health Museum is Houston’s most interactive science learning center and a member institution of the world-renowned Texas Medical Center. The Health Museum is the most visited museum of its kind in the country totaling more than 180,000 visitor experiences annually, and over 2.6 million visitors and counting since its inception in 1996. Located in the heart of the city’s rich and varied Museum District, The Health Museum’s mission is to foster wonder and curiosity about health, medical science and the human body.

Visitor Information

Admission to The Health Museum is $7 for children ages 3-11 and seniors 65 and over, and $9 for adults ages 12 – 64. All children ages 2 and under are free. Active and retired military receive half-off general admission for up to four people. Valid ID required. Tickets are available online at thehealthmuseum.org. Discounts can only be redeemed at the museum’s ticket desk. For group discount rates and school field trip information, call 713-337-8451. For more information about the museum or its programs, visit thehealthmuseum.org. The Health Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., and Sunday, 12 – 5 p.m. Visit thehealthmuseum.org/lab for special DeBakey Cell Lab exhibit hours. The museum is closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.