ERIC Number: EJ1068675
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
Connecting Biology and Organic Chemistry Introductory Laboratory Courses through a Collaborative Research Project
Boltax, Ariana L.; Armanious, Stephanie; Kosinski-Collins, Melissa S.; Pontrello, Jason K.
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education, v43 n4 p233-244 Jul-Aug 2015
Modern research often requires collaboration of experts in fields, such as math, chemistry, biology, physics, and computer science to develop unique solutions to common problems. Traditional introductory undergraduate laboratory curricula in the sciences often do not emphasize connections possible between the various disciplines. We designed an interdisciplinary, medically relevant, project intended to help students see connections between chemistry and biology. Second term organic chemistry laboratory students designed and synthesized potential polymer inhibitors or inducers of polyglutamine protein aggregation. The use of novel target compounds added the uncertainty of scientific research to the project. Biology laboratory students then tested the novel potential pharmaceuticals in Huntington's disease model assays, using "in vitro" polyglutamine peptide aggregation and "in vivo" lethality studies in "Drosophila". Students read articles from the primary literature describing the system from both chemical and biological perspectives. Assessment revealed that students emerged from both courses with a deeper understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of biology and chemistry and a heightened interest in basic research. The design of this collaborative project for introductory biology and organic chemistry labs demonstrated how the local interests and expertise at a university can be drawn from to create an effective way to integrate these introductory courses. Rather than simply presenting a series of experiments to be replicated, we hope that our efforts will inspire other scientists to think about how some aspect of authentic work can be brought into their own courses, and we also welcome additional collaborations to extend the scope of the scientific exploration.
Descriptors: Biology, Organic Chemistry, Interdisciplinary Approach, Introductory Courses, Science Laboratories, Student Research, Research Projects, Curriculum Design, Science Curriculum, Science Experiments, Science Instruction, Integrated Curriculum, Scientific Research
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A