Scientific innovation brings Foldscopes to Medical Science club

In the “constantly growing and evolving” field of medicine, Medical Science club president and senior Aparna Gana is evolving her club with it.

She said the club introduced the Foldscope in February with a presentation about what it can do.

“Later in April, probably the end of April,” she said, “we’re gonna host another session for our members where you’re gonna get the opportunity to play around with the full scope and actually see cells and tissues and different kinds of things.”

Despite being made of paper, the Foldscope is waterproof, according to its website.

“It’s a very nice educational resource because it’s handheld, portable, small and very easy to use,” she said. “It’s basically made out of paper so it’s very safe as well, and it’s not fragile, surprisingly.”

Developed by a professor at Stanford University, the Foldscope achieves 140x magnification. Part of its ingenuity is having a magnet that can attach to a phone. It gives the ability to record and take photos of your findings.

“You can take a sample of water from a pond and you can see different organisms in that sample,” she said. “You can prepare your own slides to put under the microscope. It really has many uses.”

Gana said she knew about the Foldscopes since ninth grade, but didn’t consider it to be used in the medical field until recently.

“Initially I was like, it’s more science-based, and it’s for little kids to look at different organisms and things like that,” she said. “It just struck me that there’s a lot of anatomy and like, physical body-related things that the full scope can also see.”

She said as the field of medicine constantly grows and evolves, so should the medical science club.

“Before, we had light microscopes and these bulky big microscopes, which we still have at our school,” she said. “The Foldscope is like a completely new innovation.”

Gana said innovations like this are important to the club.

“That’s my intent,” she said, “to spread this innovation that really is fascinating and can go really far.”

The club is centered around service and education to follow medicine, a “service-related field,” which includes guest speakers and making cards for donation.

“The purpose of our club is basically to integrate education and medicine related activities to expose our club members to the field of medicine,” she said.

She said she hopes the legacy of this year’s leadership will continue.

“I’m a senior right now,” she said, “so I’ll be gone in a few months, but after I leave, I hope that the Foldscope can continue to be a part of the Medical Science club.”

How to use a Foldscope

Remove the Foldscope from its packaging and prepare your slide.

Insert the slide into the Foldscope. Adjust as needed.

Look through the blue side and hold up to the light to see!