Education Research
1. Thinking about Drinking (with J. Bell, P. Kuhn).

Funded by CELT

This project seeks to help students understand the interaction between genetics and environment in the context of an important issue on campus: alcohol use and abuse. Students in BIOL 303 (Human Genetics) and PSYC 324 (Biopsychology) donated cheek cells for DNA extraction and took an online survey about alcohol use and family history. We assayed for genes involved in alcohol metabolism (ADH2, ALDH2), as well as a neurotransmitter receptor gene implicated in alcohol abuse and binge drinking: the serotonin reuptake transporter (SLC6A4).

In spring 2006, we repeated the study with 4 undergraduate students doing the lab workup. A portion of this lab is now being adapted for the new NATSCI 102 general education course, using FlashGel technology.

Click on the thumbnails for the full-sized photos.

Student poster

2. Major equipment for course and curricular improvement

Grants from NSF Course, Curriculum, and Lab Improvement and Multiuser Equipment funded our ABI 310 Genetic Analyzer, and two advanced fluorescence microscopes (photo). We recently were funded by NSF Field Stations and Marine Labs to create a master plan for our Eagle Lake biological field station.

3. Improvement of introductory biology cell & molecular labs (with J. Bell, K. Blee). CSUPERB logo & link

csuperbWe designed new labs for an introductory biology course, funded by CSUPERB. Students analyzed corn food products for the presence of genetically engineered Bacillus thuringiensis delta-endotoxin, and also sequenced mtDNA D-loop regions to investigate their own genetic ancestry. Surveys suggested these labs were among the most popular of the semester, and are now a standard part of the curriculum.

Photos: students

mtDNA electropherogram

J. Bell CELT talk

Human Genographic Project