Introducing the role of metals in biology to high school and undergraduate students

23 May 2022, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Metals enable numerous physiological processes ranging from respiration to nitrogen fixation. However, the role of metals in biology and biocatalysis is not appreciated by the general public. This lack of knowledge around biological metals can lead to misinformation, especially regarding vaccines and health products. Here, we present a series of easy-to-implement experiments and demonstrations that can be incorporated in high school and undergraduate curricula to introduce students to the role of metals in biology. Our results from running these experiments/demonstrations in virtual (N = 6-10) and in-person (N = 22) formats reveal that only 9-30% of high school students are aware of the presence of metals in humans. These statistics can be changed to 48-100% by incorporating proposed experiments and content in the curriculum.


High School/Introductory Chemistry
First-Year Undergraduate/General
Laboratory Instruction
Public Understanding/Outreach
Hands-On Learning/Manipulatives
Bioinorganic Chemistry
Proteins /Peptides
Transition Elements
Women in Chemistry


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