My courses are aimed at introducing early-career students to authentic laboratory research.
DNA Regulation & Disease (BIOSC 0067):
In this course, students explore the mechanisms that allow eukaryotic cells to store and compact their large genomes without inhibiting access to the genetic material by proteins that control important processes such as DNA replication, repair, and transcription. This balance is achieved through the efforts of chromatin remodeling proteins. Not surprisingly, mutations in human chromatin remodeling proteins are associated with numerous cancers and developmental disorders. Students in this course utilize the model organism Saccharomyces cerevisiae (baker's yeast) to further characterize a chromatin remodeling protein, Chd1, in order to better understand how mutations in its human counterpart result in disease.
SEA-PHAGES (BIOSC 0058 & BIOSC 0068):
During this two-semester course, incoming freshmen are introduced to authentic laboratory research by isolating and characterizing a novel bacteriophage from a soil sample. Bacteriophages, viruses that infect bacteria, are ubiquitous and represent an attractive model system to study evolution and gene transfer. During the first semester of the course, students isolate a novel bacteriophage from a soil sample of their choosing. After isolating a novel phage, students name their phage, make observations regarding the phage's plaque and virion morphology, and isolate the phage's DNA to attempt to identify its closest known relatives. During the second semester of the course, students utilize bioinformatics programs to identify and annotate each of the phage's genes and explore the potential functions of each gene.