this blog & its author

A molecular/cellularcolorado-oct-2016-small biologist (at UC Boulder), my other academic interest has been how scientific ideas are understood, misunderstood, and presented to students.

Background:  The child of immigrants (and first gen. college student), I earned a degree in biophysics from Penn State working with Alex Keith and Wally Snipes and a Ph.D. from CalTech working with Bob Stroud. At UCSF the neurobiology group (Zach Hall et al) rescued me.  After post-doctoral work with Martin Raff (University College London) and Lee Rubin (Rockefeller University), I moved to Boulder in 1983.  I  have studied a range of  topics, from bacterial virus assembly, neurotransmitter receptor structure, cytoskeletal organization, signaling systems, and ciliary function – much of the later work in the context of the clawed frog Xenopus laevis.

With NSF support, Kathy Garvin-Doxas and I developed the Biological Concepts Instrument (BCI) [link] to monitor conceptual confusions in students.  Around the same time, I transformed the introductory molecular biology course into a interactive web site and a suite of virtuallaboratory activities developed by Tom Lundy.   These projects led to a long term collaboration with Melanie Cooper (Michigan State) and the NSF-supported, research validated reformed (and free) curricula in general  (CLUE: Chemistry, Life, the Universe & Everything) and organic chemistry (OCLUE) and molecular biology (biofundamentals) – see  (biofundamentals paper –  LibreText site).

I have been a Pew Biomedical Scholar 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 been co-director (now advisor) to CU Teach , the science teaching certification program at CU Boulder.

I have served as a PLOS ONE Academic Editor since 2010. My orcid ID is:

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