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My Teaching Philosophy

The subjects that I primarily teach at Bates are complicated, detail-orientated, and ever-evolving fields in science. I think that it is important that students learn and apply the major concepts, incorporating details when necessary.  To this end, my lecture material provides students with a fundamental basis upon which they can read, understand, interpret and question seminal and cutting edge research.  I also stress communication (written and oral) as a fundamental skill for science and life and as such it is practiced throughout the entire semester.

Courses Offered

Bio 195k: Poisons

Offered every other year

4623985This is a course-based research experience in the biological sciences. Students build research skills through open-ended, authentic experimentation or observations of the natural world. Students gain practice reading scientific literature, formulating and testing hypotheses, analyzing data, interpreting results, communicating in disciplinary style, and working in teams. This version of the course surveys historical and emerging poisons, examines their impact on human health, and tests the behavioral and molecular effects of exposure to poisons using animal models. Intended for students majoring in biology, biochemistry, neuroscience, or environmental studies, or preparing for a health-related career.

Bio 202: Cellular Basis of Life

Offered every year

4623985A view of life at the cellular and molecular levels drawing examples from organisms. Topics include the chemical basis of cellular life, cellular structure and function, cellular division, and the expression of genes in cells. Prerequisite(s): BIO 195 and CHEM 108A. Enrollment limited to 39. Normally offered every semester. [S] [SR] Staff.

Bio 331: Molecular Biology

Offered every year

4623985Molecular biology is a discipline that sits at the interface of genome science and biochemistry. Although a relatively young scientific field, molecular biology has been at the forefront of biotechnology over the last two decades, both in terms of genome and transcription manipulation as well as the development of methodology and instrumentation. Fundamentally, the discipline is concerned with the molecular basis of biological activity. In this course we will explore replication, transcription, transcriptional regulation and RNA processing, protein translation and regulation, and the application of molecular biology in translational research (such as crop and animal science, medicine and biotechnology). Most importantly in this course, you will learn and practice essential skills that all scientists use in their daily lives: developing and conducting hypothesis-driven (laboratory) work, reading and interpreting primary literature, crafting and delivering oral presentations of scientific findings, and writing about science.

Bio 328: Developmental Biology

Offered every year

6375594Developmental biology is a dynamic field that addresses questions related to how organisms come into being and grow. This course will introduce you to developmental biology with a particular emphasis on the molecular basis for developmental events. The course focuses on the mechanisms involved in making cells that are different from one another (cell differentiation) and the associated mechanisms by which patterns are created (morphogenesis). In the lab, you will explore the phenomenon of development in several of the most prominently utilized model organisms. The lab culminates in an independent project utilizing the zebrafish model system.

Bio s40: Experimental Developmental and Molecular Biology

Offered in Short Term (offered in 2013 and 2018)

7861353Development is a complex and well-defined process characterized by extremely fast cell proliferation and programmed cell death during which the organism is more sensitive to toxicants and other stressors than the adult. Successful embryonic development requires not only the appropriate developmental signaling pathways but also mechanisms to resist and repair injuries to the embryo occurring from exposure to environmental toxicants. Disruption of developmental processes can have long-lasting effects on subsequent developmental stages and into adulthood. Zebrafish have emerged as a powerful model for studying molecular mechanisms of vertebrate development and developmental toxicology. Developmental genes and signaling pathways and molecular mechanisms of developmental toxicity are highly conserved between fish and mammals.

In this course we will examine the effects of environmental perturbations on vertebrate development. We will utilize cutting edge molecular and microscopy techniques to address questions related the role of a protein in responding to and mediating injury to the animal. The first half of the course, to be held at Bates, will be focused on providing background information related to development and molecular biology. We will also practice key molecular techniques in the lab to enable success on independent projects in the second half of the course. The second two weeks of the course will be spent living and working at Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory (MDIBL), located in Salisbury Cove, ME. MDIBL is a world-renowned institution known for its educational and research programs focusing on non-mammalian systems. The last week and one half of short term will consist of time dedicated to writing a laboratory report documenting the independent project conducted at MDIBL. The class will commence on with individual oral presentations to the class followed by a class picnic.