At DeBakey Cell Lab, Science is Magnified

06 Jan 2022

Do you know how blood type is determined? which antimicrobial agents kill microbes? how to identify living bacteria cultures using chemical tests? You can learn this and more through fun, interactive science experiments at The Health Museum’s DeBakey Cell Lab. An interactive bilingual lab, the Cell Lab gives you a one-of-a-kind opportunity to get up close and personal with cellular biology.

From isolating raw wheat germ DNA to using staining techniques to see what blood looks like under a microscope, Cell Lab visitors can travel through various activity stations to experience science through hands-on experiments. All you need to participate in Cell Lab activities is an admission ticket and a desire to learn more about science and biology while having fun.

Admission to the DeBakey Cell Lab is $3 for current members and $5 per person for non-members (in addition to the purchase of general admission to The Health Museum). Your Cell Lab admission ticket permits access to up to three of the seven lab stations per one-hour visit. Experiments take an average of 20 minutes each, with some requiring longer activity times.

“The experiments are a gold mine of knowledge and information,” said Dr. Smaranda Filip, DeBakey Cell Lab Manager. A recent addition to The Health Museum, Dr. Filip teaches Cell Lab visitors about the experiments available and guides them through the following steps as they interact with the various stations.

Cell Lab options include DNA Extraction and Blood Typing, recommended for visitors ages seven and older. Checking Hematocrit, Looking at Blood Cells, and Testing Microbial Agents are recommended for ages ten and older. Mystery Microbes and Giant Chromosomes are available for visitors ages 13 and older.

“At The DeBakey Cell Lab, I can combine the things that I like to do -- teaching, science, biology, and medicine. I love interacting with all the different types of people who visit the Lab,” said Dr. Filip.

A native of Romania, Dr. Filip earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Loyola. She received her medical degree from The University of Queensland School of Medicine-Ochsner Clinical School. Dr. Filip and her husband, Jeremy, moved to the Houston area in 2020. She began her residency in internal medicine in Chicago in 2020 and is leading the DeBakey Cell Lab while on sabbatical. She also tutors medical students for the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE).

The Cell Lab is named after the respected and accomplished cardiovascular surgeon and medical pioneer Dr. Michael E. DeBakey. For more information on hours and activities, please visit