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Teaching Microbiology

Microbiology education blog for undergraduate and graduate faculty

Team outreach can help improve the environment in your lab, provide students with experience outside of the lab, and bolster team communication. Students gain insight into careers in scientific outreach while your lab builds a feeling of community in knowing that they are involved in work that is making a difference. 
In 2012, Dr. Amy Briggs, an Assistant Professor of Biology at Beloit College attended the ASM Conference for Undergraduate Educators (ASMCUE) for the first time. “That conference was transformational for me; it was the most friendly, fun, inspiring, and engaging conference I had ever attended, and it made me want to become a part of that community and get further involved,” she says.
If you work in the crucial field of science communication, or know someone who does, now is your chance to have your work published alongside your peers’ in a special themed issue of the Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education (JMBE) to be published in spring 2018.
Thursday, 02 March 2017 08:46

Classroom Idea: The Microbiome and March Madness

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What do March Madness and the human microbiome have in common? Both are elements of a lab activity for an upper-division microbiology course.
As an undergrad, Floricel Gonzalez wasn’t sure that research was for her. She originally wanted to be a veterinarian, and had been told that research was a great way to get started and find out what she liked.  “I couldn’t get the protocol to work,” she says of her undergrad research project. 
Tuesday, 14 February 2017 14:21

How to Turn Biology Student Workers into Lab Assistants

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Giving work study students the chance to work in their intended field provides an advantage in getting employed in their professional field after the completion of their degree program. 
The ASM Undergraduate Research Fellowship (URF) positively impacts students, sparking their interest in microbiology and helping them achieve success. But it’s not just students who benefit from the URF program – faculty who mentor URF students report increased productivity in their labs, greater funding success, and a honing of their mentoring skills.
The iGEM cloning competition offers unique opportunities for both students and mentors.
Tuesday, 31 January 2017 11:29

ASMCUE Travel Award Winners Share Tips for Faculty

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Planning is underway for the 2017 ASM Conference for Undergraduate Educators (ASMCUE), and applications are now being accepted for the ASMCUE Textbook Travel Award. We recently checked in with past award winners, who shared their current teaching and research activities as well as tips for fellow faculty.
Many educators shy away from active learning in large groups of students because it takes extra hands to run the activities. Undergraduate Learning Assistants can provide the help you need.
Educators teaching physiology, evolution, climate change, basic scientific/research literacy and other science topics can find resources in ASM’s open-access Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education (JMBE) as our scope extends beyond microbiology.
Tuesday, 10 January 2017 09:26

Make Mentoring Work in Your Classroom or Lab

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January is National Mentoring Month; mentoring helps students, beginning researchers, and early-career faculty persist and succeed in science.
Tuesday, 03 January 2017 12:15

How One Undergraduate Got Hooked on Clinical Research

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Sameer Shaikh was helping his mother, a physician, transcribe notes in the clinic when he learned about a patient with cystic fibrosis who was suffering from an infection of Pseudomonas aeruginosa.  He didn’t know what this bacterium was, and his mother explained that it’s ubiquitous in nature. “Ok,” Sameer thought, “If it’s everywhere, then why isn’t it affecting me?” His curiosity about microbiology was sparked, and with his mother’s encouragement, he started to read about cystic fibrosis, Pseudomonas, and immunology.
Many new microbiology faculty members, having finished a Ph.D. and then held a postdoc position (or two… or more…), get their first teaching position at a primarily undergraduate institution (PUI), and find that they no longer have the same resources they had in the larger labs they had previously been in. How do you start an undergraduate research program? Or compete for funding? Or find the right journal to publish in?
Be one of the first to read some of the newest Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education (JMBE) articles--and then check out the entire recently-published issue! 
The most-downloaded Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education (JMBE) articles of 2016 cover flipped classrooms, serious games, biosafety guidelines, research on student learning, and more.
Thursday, 08 December 2016 09:02

Supporting Microbiology in the Nursing Curriculum

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Do you teach microbiology to nursing students? Has your institution faced pressure to reduce or eliminate microbiology in its nursing curriculum? ASM is aware of this issue and is taking several steps to address it. 
Monday, 05 December 2016 14:41

Basing a curriculum on discovery-based research

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If you are currently a microbiologist, chances are your introductory microbiology lab course syllabus hadn’t changed for decades. The course likely culminated in each student receiving an unknown bacterial sample, the identity of which was uncovered by applying techniques learned during the semester. Deducing unknowns may require students to apply their critical thinking skills, but it fails to engage students in the discovery process that is one of the foundations of scientific practice. The Small World Initiative (SWI) aims to change student engagement with science by incorporating discovery-based research into the laboratory classroom. 
As World AIDS Day approaches, consider the following resources from ASM’s open-access Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education (JMBE) to help your students understand the mechanisms behind the spread of disease and how the human immune system works. 
Students are the focus of the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) meeting, held most recently November 9-12, 2016, in Tampa, Florida. Undergraduate and postbaccalaureate students make up over half the roughly 4,000 program participants, and many participants belong to minority populations often underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. What is the student experience like at ABRCMS? How do they prepare for their research presentations? We spoke with several ABRCMS attendees and alumni to find out.
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