Special Topics in Molecular Biology (Foundation course)


Role: Course Instructor, Quest University Canada

Details: First year course (with some upper year students), 3.5 weeks, 3 hrs/day, 5days/week, 17 students

Dates: Intensive, Feb. 1 – Feb. 29 2012

This course is geared toward students who have an introductory background in gene expression. We explore in depth some chosen frontiers in cell and molecular biology. Students become familiar with some of the most current tools used in molecular research and dive into the areas of cancer biology, conservation genetics, regenerative medicine, and evolutionary genetics. We study the function of cells and the principles of genetics to understand how cells become cancerous, how the immune system fights invasions, how infectious diseases are transmitted, how embryos develop, how stem cells work, how genes and tissues are cloned, how natural selection operates, and how micro- and macroevolutionary processes occur. Emphasis is placed on understanding the scientific process and interpreting experimental research. Students become comfortable with the use of primary research literature, formulating hypotheses, analyzing data, designing experiments, discussing results, working in the lab, and presenting ideas.

Teaching responsibilities: I had sole responsibility for developing course content and pedagogy. I researched and selected course content, structured all the lesson plans, designed assignments (e.g. two 3-day case studies, an in-class molecular sequencing activity, multiple choice quizzes, podcast assignment, essay assignment), delivered class lectures, planned 2 field trips, and hosted an in-class debate. For all of these assignments I was charged with outlining evaluation criteria, conducting student assessment, and tracking assigning final grades. Course Syllabus (PDF file)