Merrick Jakelski is a current Junior at VHS and an alumnus of Immanuel Lutheran. He is currently working with Dr. Sandra Rogers from Calumet College of Saint Joseph on a NASA affiliated project that will launch on April 2nd, 2018. This project is experimenting with the effects of gravity on Alzheimer’s disease by launching specimens into orbit. Jakelski comments, “The cause of Alzheimer’s disease is directly related to the folding of Alzheimer’s beta amyloid peptides. These peptides are proteins located inside the brain. Earth’s gravitational pull makes them become weaker over time. Our team predicts that the folding rate of the peptides will become significantly slower in a low-gravity environment, therefore significantly slowing the rate at which the Alzheimer’s disease develops in the brain. This experiment has the potential to create new low-gravity treatments that would be carried out over a long duration of time” explained Jakelski.

“I’ve always had a passion for electrical engineering and robotics. This year we decide to form a Valparaiso High School Robotics Club.” Merrick Jakelski will also be forming a Middle School Robotics club at Immanuel in April of this school year.
Jakelski’s love of robotics stemmed from Immanuel’s Annual Science Fair. “In my 7th grade year I constructed a small robot that was able to retrieve items that were under my bed,” he comments.

“Immanuel is a truly wonderful place to learn. Throughout my 9 years of attendance, I was constantly surrounded with extremely intelligent students and caring teachers” he remarked.

Merrick, we are proud of your enthusiasm for learning and look forward to hearing more about your project with NASA. Immanuel Middle School Robotics will begin after Spring Break. Look for more information to come home soon. #PreparingStudentsForSuccess