Headshot of Lydie Guercin.


Emory University, Atlanta, GA

Lydie was born in Haiti and came to the US when she was 4 years old. She has two younger siblings. She is very interested in dance and the science of dance. “The two mix well together,” she commented. "Biology is like learning another language, because there are so many terms. In dance there also are many types of movement and ways you can move your body within a space.” She is extremely interested in the anatomy and physiology of how the body moves kinetically.

Lydie had a high school chemistry teacher who reminded her of Miss Frizzle (from The Magic School Bus show). In that show the kids would go on adventures with their science teacher, Miss Frizzle. Lydie was a freshman at that time, but loved the parallels to the Miss Frizzle show, as she did many experiments in her class and found she loved to work with her hands. Her chemistry teacher always broke things down to make them easy and not scary!

This is her first REU. In high school, during summers, she taught at a summer camp and became interested in education. This summer she gets to combine her love of education with research.

Lydie is working on understanding the different representations of proteins. Textbooks represent proteins in numerous ways. Again, similar to dance! For example, doing a plié, is very different depending upon whether you are taking a modern or jazz class. The research is looking at figures, categorizing them, and creating a map called the Protein Landscape. The Protein Landscape maps images according to scale (subunit and macromolecule) and realism (literal shape to abstract). Eventually she will use this data from the landscape to assess student understanding, such as whether or not students need more help linking the concepts shown by different drawings. By doing that, she can see how various concepts in biology and biochemistry are represented to students.

“Every day we have at least one meeting, to assure you are seeing others and not going all day strictly online,” comments Lydie. “Students meet alone on Friday, when we chill, talk, discuss research, and check in on how we are doing. It has been an effective way of building a sense of community.”