MCB 32: Introduction to human physiology
Large (>400 students), lower-division course for non-majors. I have taught this course since 2013 and have put the most effort into making the class more active. Visit the presentations page to see what I have been working on for this course.
- Syllabus (fall 2021, online)
- How I flipped the course for online instruction
- Medical racism discussions
- Case study competitions
- 5E learning cycle for organizing lectures
MCB 32L: Introduction to human physiology lab
Lower-division lab course for non-majors, but a requirement for other majors such as nutritional sciences and public health. Students use the iWorx system to collect physiology data on themselves, such as ECG, spirometry, EMG and action potential conduction velocity.
MCB 133L: Cell biology and physiology lab
I used to teach a third of this class for MCB majors with a Cell and Developmental Biology emphasis. We start with a unit of molecular biology and protein-protein interactions where they clone fragments of NFAT and then determine if they interact with Calcineurin. The second part is all fluorescent microscopy on fixed and live cells. The last third, which I have never taught, consists of experiments related to physiology, like calcium imaging and somatosensation.
- Introduction to light microscopy video lecture
- Example lecture slides – design an experiment to test for protein interactions
- Quiz 1 wrapper – extra credit assignment to help students think about their studying techniques
MCB 163L: Neuroanatomy lab
The other advanced lab class for MCB neurobiology students (they choose one or the other). The emphasis in this lab is on anatomy, but we also do fluorescent imaging, optogenetics, immunohistochemistry, and electrophysiology (recording action potentials from earthworms). I developed most of this course and wrote the lab manual.
- Syllabus (spring 2021, online)
- Optogenetics behavior lab
- Allen brain atlas project. At the end of the semester, students work in groups and develop their own research project using data from the atlas. I am consistently impressed with the work students do on these projects. Next semester we are adding a data science component, so they will be able to analyze the data they get from the atlas.
MCB 375: Pedagogy for MCB graduate student instructors
Graduate course for first-time GSIs in our department. We developed this course to introduce GSIs to effective teaching methods. We discuss biology education literature, demonstrate active teaching and provide a supportive environment for students to discuss their challenges and successes during their first time teaching.
MCBX427: Current topics in biosciences
This is a seminar course I taught at UC Berkeley Extension Monday nights for 10 years. Every 3 hour class session was one “hot” topic in biology that I selected. We read and discussed 2-3 recent research articles each week. I also taught presentation skills and students gave a 30 minute presentation on a paper. Topics included: optogenetics, CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing, aging, regeneration, epigenetics, microbiome and COVID-19. I loved this class but eventually had to pass it on to other instructors.
MCB 38: Stem cell biology, ethics and societal impact
Lower-division course for non-majors. We cover cell biology basics, the different kinds of stem cells, their use in medical applications, and ethical issues such as embryonic stem cells, human cloning, genetic engineering and unregulated stem cell clinics.
- Syllabus (spring 2021, online)
- Example lecture notes for a class on applications of cloning. These are the notes I give to students with blank areas are where they can draw what I put on the board.
- In vitro meat ad challenge
- Stem cell 2 minute sketch video
Bio 1AL: General biology lab
Large (>600 students) lab course that introduces students to lab techniques, statistical analysis, experimental design and primary research literature while building on the foundational concepts covered in General Biology.
- MCB newsletter article about teaching this course online
MCB 160L: Neurobiology lab
An advanced lab class for upper level MCB neurobiology students. The emphasis in this lab is on electrophysiology, though we cover other techniques like immunocytochemistry, fluorescent imaging, calcium imaging and anatomy. In 2019 I took over the class and rewrote the lab manual, added new assignments and added a new lab about the fruit fly neuromuscular junction. The student evaluations of this new version of the course were very positive.
- Syllabus (fall 2021)
- Optogenetic stimulation at the Drosophila neuromuscular junction. I wrote this lab based on my own research and a published protocol for teaching labs.
- An introductory video I made about the electrophysiology equipment.
MCB 165: Neurobiology of disease
An advanced elective course for our neurobiology majors. I developed this course along with two other instructors. We divide the class into developmental disorders, psychiatric disorders and neurodegenerative diseases (which I teach). Each week the students read a research article related to the lecture material and discuss the figures in depth in discussion section. Students struggle at first with the articles, but get progressively better throughout the semester. See the presentations page for a poster I made related to this class.
- Syllabus (spring 2021)
- Example lecture slides – explain mouse model for Huntington’s disease based only on this figure (I used Poll Everywhere in this class)
Psych 3: Introduction to how the brain works
Beginning neuroscience course that is only taught in the summer. It is fun to get back to my roots and talk about interesting neuroscience phenomena like synesthesia and prosopagnosia (face blindness).
Mills College courses
I taught a lot of interesting courses at Mills College from 2010-2016. Everything from plant biology to developmental biology and genetics. This is when I learned I can teach any subject in biology.
- Human physiology (upper division) syllabus (fall 2015)
- Genetics lecture syllabus (spring 2016). The final exams were always about one specific disease, so students could learn something while taking the exam.
- Genetics lab syllabus (fall 2014)
- Developmental biology syllabus (spring 2016). This was the most challenging class I have ever taught, since I had never learned development before. But the rewards were even greater when I finally understood frog gastrulation and figured out how to teach it to my students.