ERIC Number: EJ1141188
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Abstractor: As Provided
A Unique Large-Scale Undergraduate Research Experience in Molecular Systems Biology for Non-Mathematics Majors
Kappler, Ulrike; Rowland, Susan L.; Pedwell, Rhianna K.
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education, v45 n3 p235-248 May-Jun 2017
Systems biology is frequently taught with an emphasis on mathematical modeling approaches. This focus effectively excludes most biology, biochemistry, and molecular biology students, who are not mathematics majors. The mathematical focus can also present a misleading picture of systems biology, which is a multi-disciplinary pursuit requiring collaboration between biochemists, bioinformaticians, and mathematicians. This article describes an authentic large-scale undergraduate research experience (ALURE) in systems biology that incorporates proteomics, bacterial genomics, and bioinformatics in the one exercise. This project is designed to engage students who have a basic grounding in protein chemistry and metabolism and no mathematical modeling skills. The pedagogy around the research experience is designed to help students attack complex datasets and use their emergent metabolic knowledge to make meaning from large amounts of raw data. On completing the ALURE, participants reported a significant increase in their confidence around analyzing large datasets, while the majority of the cohort reported good or great gains in a variety of skills including "analysing data for patterns" and "conducting database or internet searches." An environmental scan shows that this ALURE is the only undergraduate-level system-biology research project offered on a large-scale in Australia; this speaks to the perceived difficulty of implementing such an opportunity for students. We argue however, that based on the student feedback, allowing undergraduate students to complete a systems-biology project is both feasible and desirable, even if the students are not maths and computing majors.
Descriptors: Undergraduate Students, Student Research, Systems Approach, Mathematical Models, Interdisciplinary Approach, Biochemistry, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Science Education, Cohort Analysis, Science Process Skills, Skill Development, Foreign Countries, Feasibility Studies, Curriculum Implementation, Nonmajors
Wiley-Blackwell. 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148. Tel: 800-835-6770; Tel: 781-388-8598; Fax: 781-388-8232; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A