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Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education

Julie K Wisch, Emma Farrell, Marcelle Siegel, Sharyn Freyermuth
Conceptual understanding and reasoning of nonscience major students enrolled in a course on biotechnology were evaluated before and after instruction. The instrument for analysis of student understanding was the Biotechnology Instrument for Knowledge Elicitation (BIKE). The BIKE targets 11 key concepts, as determined by experts in the field. A statistically significant score improvement was observed in each of the 11 concept areas after completion of the course, Biotechnology in Society (N = 117). Student responses to both the pretest and posttest were highly informative and revealed several common misconceptions that could have been overlooked in a closed form testing scenario...
November 10, 2018: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education
Craig Wilding
The teaching of quantitative genetic variation in the undergraduate laboratory practical environment can be difficult as, for quantitative phenotypes that are under the control of multiple loci, detection of phenotypic differences caused by individual variants is problematical without large samples, impractical in such classes. Pet dogs provide a clear example of quantitative genetic variation with individual breeds ranging in size from 1 to 70 kg weight yet with little intrabreed variability. In contrast to humans where there are few identified genetic variants known to be involved in the genetically controlled size phenotype, in dogs, seven single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in six genes have been demonstrated to explain half of the phenotypic variance...
November 5, 2018: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education
Charles E Deutch
Laboratory reports written in the style of a standard scientific article are commonly used to assess student learning in biochemistry laboratory courses. While most students can complete the Materials and Methods or Results sections successfully, many have difficulty with the Introduction and Discussion. They fail to place their data in a larger experimental context or to compare their results to those previously published. To address this issue in a laboratory course focusing on l-lactate dehydrogenase, a new exercise was introduced that was designed 1) to provide more background information about l-lactate dehydrogenase; 2) to give students additional experience in using PubMed and Web of Science to locate specific papers about l-lactate dehydrogenase; 3) to introduce the major bioinformatics databases at the National Center for Biological Information, ExPASy (Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics), BRENDA (Braunschweig Enzyme Database), and the Protein Data Bank; 4) to allow students to recover detailed information about l-lactate dehydrogenases; and 5) to provide practice in reading a research article that is similar to what they do in the lab...
November 2, 2018: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education
Anling Luo, Youli Zheng, Xinxin Chen, Fengsong Cong
Laboratory exercises focused on protein quantification are frequently conducted in traditional undergraduate biochemistry laboratory curriculum. The laboratory course described here is designed to provide students with experience in measurement of protein content in milk powder by moving reaction boundary titration (MRBT), a new rapid technique for total protein content determination in milk. In addition, this approach is weakly influenced by nonprotein nitrogen reagents such as melamine and urea. The course was done as three weekly laboratory exercises...
November 2, 2018: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education
Jill A Marshall, Pablo Durán
Several major organizations have recommended revisions to mathematics requirements for biology majors. To determine whether these changes would benefit future biologists, we investigated mathematics use in research biology. We surveyed prominent journals in high and low math-use areas for articles referencing the use of quantitative methods. In addition, we conducted a large-scale survey of research biologists within these fields about their use of, and training in, mathematics and statistics. We then performed follow-up interviews with a purposeful sample of respondents...
November 2, 2018: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education
Xiaoqian Xu, William Allen, Ziwei Miao, Jiang Yao, Lei Sha, Yuhua Chen
Biochemistry and molecular techniques are used for the development of the scientific practice of students. To improve both the teaching and learning quality and promote the students' motivation, this article outlines an interactive "Virtual Simulation and Actual Operation Combined" approach by using a tailored virtual practice-learning platform and participated by students and lectures, as well as a curriculum secretary. The implementation of the Virtual Simulation Laboratory provides a series of learning resources, which the students can access in their own time; and the participation of the curriculum secretary also makes the class more interactive and efficient...
October 12, 2018: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education
Nitasha Sehgal, M Eileen Sylves, Ansuman Sahoo, Jacky Chow, Sarah E Walker, Paul J Cullen, James O Berry
Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) are a revolutionary tool based on a bacterial acquired immune response system. CRISPR has gained widespread use for gene editing in a variety of organisms and is an increasingly valuable tool for basic genetic research, with far-reaching implications for medicine, agriculture, and industry. This lab is based on the premise that upper division undergraduate students enrolled in a Life Sciences curriculum must become familiar with cutting edge advances in biotechnology that have significant impact on society...
October 12, 2018: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education
Stephanie M Halmo, Cheryl A Sensibaugh, Kush S Bhatia, Alexandra Howell, Ersta P Ferryanto, Bryant Choe, Kaitlin Kehoe, Morgan Watson, Paula P Lemons
Protein structure-function is a key concept in biochemistry. We used the perspective of domain-specific problem-solving to investigate students' solutions to a well-defined protein structure-function problem. We conducted think-aloud interviews with 13 undergraduate students and performed qualitative content analysis to examine the differences in the domain-general and domain-specific knowledge among correct and incorrect solutions. Our work revealed that students used domain-general and domain-specific knowledge in their problem solving...
September 2018: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education
Stefan M Irby, Nancy J Pelaez, Trevor R Anderson
Several course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs) have been published in the literature. However, only limited attempts have been made to rigorously identify the discovery-type research abilities that students actually develop during such experiences. Instead, there has been a greater focus on technical or procedural-type knowledge or general CURE skills that are too comprehensive to effectively assess. Before the extent of discovery-type learning outcomes can be established in students (termed verified learning outcomes or VLOs), it is important to rigorously identify the anticipated learning outcomes (ALOs) and to then develop student assessments that target each ALO to reveal the nature of such student learning...
September 2018: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education
David J Hall, Charles G Martin, Michael Welford, Stefan L Debbert
The development of new medicines holds particular fascination for chemistry, biochemistry, and biology students interested in a career in medicine or the life sciences. The identification and refinement of lead compounds to treat diseases requires researchers to be facile in a number of different disciplines including organic synthesis, biochemistry, cell biology, and molecular biology. We have developed an interdisciplinary, inquiry-based laboratory spanning both organic chemistry and biochemistry classes that acquaints students with research in medicinal chemistry...
September 2018: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education
Diane M Dean, Debra Martin, L Michael Carastro, Peter J Kennelly, Joseph J Provost, John T Tansey, Adele J Wolfson
The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) began an accreditation program in 2013. The criteria for accreditation of undergraduate programs include sufficient infrastructure - number and expertise of faculty, physical space and equipment, support for faculty and students - and incorporation of core concepts in the curriculum - structure and function of biomolecules; information storage; energy transfer; and quantitative skills. Students in accredited programs are able to have their degrees ASBMB certified by taking an exam focused on knowledge or skills across the four core concept areas...
September 2018: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education
Shuo Tu, Xiaohua Yan, Kemin Jie, Muying Ying, Chunhong Huang
The rapid development and popularization of smart phones and mobile internet has created a new social lifestyle, and correspondingly prompts the transformation of network teaching from desktop computer to mobile teaching. This article has compared the pros and cons of Tsinghua Education Online and WeChat official account (WOA) in fulfilling teaching functions. We also described the construction of WOA platform with the example of WOA-based teaching in biochemistry and molecular biology. The platform can establish nearly 75 menu catalogs and 2,250 items, which is capable for the publication of any types of teaching materials and information...
September 2018: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education
Ursula Florjanczyk, Derek P Ng, Stavroula Andreopoulos, Jodie Jenkinson
The mathematical models that describe enzyme kinetics are invaluable predictive tools in numerous scientific fields. However, the daunting mathematical language used to describe kinetic behavior can be confusing for life science students; they often struggle to conceptualize and relate the mathematical representations to the molecular phenomena occurring at both macroscopic and microscopic levels. Students with less developed abstract and mathematical thinking skills may benefit from a visual learning approach...
September 2018: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education
Zachariah Bobby, Kavitha Meiyappan
Focused self-directed learning is very much essential at present in medical education to catch-up with the increasing information load. Cognitive psychology laboratory studies show that repeated testing of information produces superior retention relative to repeated study. The overall goal of this intervention was to evaluate the effectiveness of "Test enhanced learning" in the form of "Open book examination" as a formative assessment in Biochemistry when compared to "Self-study." Three exercises were carried out after the regular teaching sessions on different topics in biochemistry for the first year MBBS students...
September 2018: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education
Muse Oke, Ramon Agbalajobi, Mowaninuwuraola Osifeso, Babagana Muhammad, Halimat Lawal, Muhammad Mai, Quadri Adegunle
Contemporary biology is currently undergoing a revolution, driven by the availability of high-throughput technologies and a wide variety of bioinformatics tools. However, bioinformatics education and practice is still in its infancy in most of the African continent. Consequently, concerted efforts have been made in recent years to incorporate bioinformatics modules into biological sciences curriculum of African Universities. Despite this, one aspect of bioinformatics that is yet to be incorporated is structural bioinformatics...
September 2018: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education
Jennifer Turner Waldo, Melanie Pereira, Mohammad Rahman, Jessica Siconolfi
A novel experiment has been developed with a goal of enhancing engagement and deepening understanding of fundamental molecular biology concepts. In this laboratory activity, students investigate the composition of pet foods through quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) analysis. By conducting this experiment, students address a scientific question that has the potential to be of personal interest and they gain an appreciation of the power of genetic analysis. To develop this activity, ingredient lists of popular pet foods were surveyed and eight different components were selected to be the subject of inquiry...
September 2018: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education
Praveen Maurye, Arpita Basu, Sohini Sen, Jayanta Kumar Biswas, Tapas Kumar Bandyopadhyay, Malay Naskar
Recent advancements in biochemical sciences have helped the researchers to explore the molecular logic of life inclusive of its multifarious expressions and explain many facts about the structure and functions of cellular macromolecules. Due to its simple and cost-effective nature, polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE) has become the most favored technique for qualitative and quantitative examination of macromolecules. Major drawbacks of such modifications are the cost and operational complexities faced by naïve students...
September 2018: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education
Dina L Newman, Megan Stefkovich, Catherine Clasen, Margaret A Franzen, L Kate Wright
The essence of molecular biology education lies in understanding of gene expression, with subtopics including the central dogma processes, such as transcription and translation. While these concepts are core to the discipline, they are also notoriously difficult for students to learn, probably because they cannot be directly observed. While nearly all active learning strategies have been shown to improve learning compared with passive lectures, little has been done to compare different types of active learning...
September 2018: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education
Carla R Angelani, Pablo Carabias, Karen M Cruz, José M Delfino, Marilina de Sautu, María V Espelt, Mariela S Ferreira-Gomes, Gabriela E Gómez, Irene C Mangialavori, Malena Manzi, María F Pignataro, Nicolás A Saffioti, Damiana M Salvatierra Fréchou, Javier Santos, Pablo J Schwarzbaum
Metabolic control analysis (MCA) is a promising approach in biochemistry aimed at understanding processes in a quantitative fashion. Here the contribution of enzymes and transporters to the control of a given pathway flux and metabolite concentrations is determined and expressed quantitatively by means of numerical coefficients. Metabolic flux can be influenced by a wide variety of modulators acting on one or more metabolic steps along the pathway. We describe a laboratory exercise to study metabolic regulation of human erythrocytes (RBCs)...
September 2018: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education
Mira K Marchioretto, Jacqueline T Horton, Calvin A Berstler, Joseph B Humphries, Isaac J Koloditch, Samuel D Voss, Kimberly de La Harpe, Barry W Hicks, Latisha R Jefferies
Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) is the basis for many techniques used in biomedical research. Due to its wide use in molecular sensing, FRET is commonly introduced in many biology, chemistry, and physics courses. While FRET is of great importance in the biophysical sciences, the complexity and difficulty of constructing FRET experiments has resulted in limited usage in undergraduate laboratory settings. Here, we present a practical undergraduate laboratory experiment for teaching FRET using a diverse set of green-emitting fluorescent proteins (FPs) as donors for a cross-linked Yukon orange FP...
September 2018: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education
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