about this blog and its author

I joined the Public Library of Science (PLoS) science-education blog a few years ago.  While a (semi-) functional molecular/cellular and (when necessary) devcolorado-oct-2016-smallelopmental biologist (and editor for PLoS One), my other major academic interest has, for the last decade or so, been a consideration of how scientific ideas are understood, misunderstood, and presented to students.

Academic background: I am Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology at the University of Colorado Boulder (lab site link).  I earned my bachelors degree in biophysics, working with Alex Keith and Wally Snipes, from the Pennsylvania State University and my Ph.D. (working with Bob Stroud) from the California Institute of Technology.  After a post-doctoral fellowship with Martin Raff (University College London) and Lee Rubin (Rockefeller University), I was appointed as an assistant professor in Boulder.  My biological researches have spanned a number of topics, including bacterial virus assembly, neurotransmitter receptor structure, cytoskeletal organization and ciliary function, neural crest formation, and signaling systems – much of the later in the context of the clawed frog Xenopus laevis.

Together with with Kathy Garvin-Doxas and support from the National Science Foundation, we developed the Biological Concepts Instrument (BCI) [link] to identify the presence of conceptual confusions in students, such as the role of stochastic (random) processes in biological processes and allelic mechanisms.  Around the same time, we transformed the introductory molecular biology course (biofundamentals – available through the open source site LibreText) and developed a suite of virtuallaboratory activities with Tom Lundy.  These projects led to my current collaboration with Melanie Cooper (Michigan State) that has led to NSF-supported, and research validated reformed curricula in general and organic chemistry (CLUE: Chemistry, Life, the Universe & Everything).  In addition, I have been involved as a co-director of the CU Teach program to recruit and train STEM teachers through the CU Teach program.

I have been a Pew Biomedical Scholar, a founding fellow of CU Boulder’s Center for STEM Learning, and am a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). I was named the 2012-2013 Outstanding Undergraduate Science Teacher by the Society for College Science Teaching and have received a Boulder Faculty Assembly Teaching Excellence award.

I have have served as a PLOS ONE Academic Editor since 2010. If you are interested, I published a perspective on science education in PLOS Biology in 2008 and my orcid ID is: http://orcid.org/0000-0001-5816-9771

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