As políticas públicas ligadas à expansão do Ensino Superior brasileiro têm levado à implantação de sistemas de avaliação da qualidade do ensino, processo que vem evoluindo para uma concepção sistematizada de forma construtiva e que leva em conta a participação dos diferentes segmentos relacionados às instituições. Há, entretanto, componentes desse processo implantados de forma mais polêmica, destacando-se os instrumentos nacionais de avaliação aplicados a iniciantes e concluintes das graduações, ainda pouco estudada, exceto por análises superficiais dos meios de comunicação, mais interessados no ranqueamento das escolas do que na avaliação dessas práticas. Nesse contexto, os cursos de Biologia passaram a ter seus estudantes avaliados no ano de 2000 e até 2003, por meio do Exame Nacional de Cursos, seguindo-se, em 2005, avaliação amostral, nos termos propostos pela legislação federal que implantou o Sistema Nacional de Avaliação do Ensino Superior (SINAES). Como nesses exames foram preenchidos questionários socioeconômicos por parte dos estudantes, além de dados sobre as condições de oferta de tais cursos, há farto material para análise, ainda pouco explorado por pesquisadores nacionais e internacionais. O presente trabalho analisou os conteúdos de Biologia Celular dos exames nacionais realizados a partir do ano de 2000...
To help students develop successful strategies for learning how to learn and communicate complex information in cell biology, we developed a quarter-long cell biology class based on team projects. Each team researches a particular human disease and presents information about the cellular structure or process affected by the disease, the cellular and molecular biology of the disease, and recent research focused on understanding the cellular mechanisms of the disease process. To support effective teamwork and to help students develop collaboration skills useful for their future careers, we provide training in working in small groups. A final poster presentation, held in a public forum, summarizes what students have learned throughout the quarter. Although student satisfaction with the course is similar to that of standard lecture-based classes, a project-based class offers unique benefits to both the student and the instructor.
Recent advances in genomics and structural biology have resulted in an unprecedented increase in biological data available from Internet-accessible databases. In order to help students effectively use this vast repository of information, undergraduate biology students at Drake University were introduced to bioinformatics software and databases in three courses, beginning with an introductory course in cell biology. The exercises and projects that were used to help students develop literacy in bioinformatics are described. In a recently offered course in bioinformatics, students developed their own simple sequence analysis tool using the Perl programming language. These experiences are described from the point of view of the instructor as well as the students. A preliminary assessment has been made of the degree to which students had developed a working knowledge of bioinformatics concepts and methods. Finally, some conclusions have been drawn from these courses that may be helpful to instructors wishing to introduce bioinformatics within the undergraduate biology curriculum.
To address the different learning styles of students, and because students can access animation from off-campus computers, the use of digital animation in teaching cell biology has become increasingly popular. Sample processes from cell biology that are more clearly presented in animation than in static illustrations are identified. The value of animation is evaluated on whether the process being taught involves motion, cellular location, or sequential order of numerous events. Computer programs for developing animation and animations associated with cell biology textbooks are reviewed, and links to specific examples of animation are given. Finally, future teaching tools for all fields of biology will increasingly benefit from an expansion of animation to the use of simulation. One purpose of this review is to encourage the widespread use of animations in biology teaching by discussing the nature of digital animation.
Because cell biology has rapidly increased in breadth and depth, instructors are challenged not only to provide undergraduate science students with a strong, up-to-date foundation of knowledge, but also to engage them in the scientific process. To these ends, revision of the Cell Biology Lab course at the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse was undertaken to allow student involvement in experimental design, emphasize data collection and analysis, make connections to the “big picture,” and increase student interest in the field. Multiweek laboratory modules were developed as a method to establish an inquiry-based learning environment. Each module utilizes relevant techniques to investigate one or more questions within the context of a fictional story, and there is a progression during the semester from more instructor-guided to more open-ended student investigation. An assessment tool was developed to evaluate student attitudes regarding their lab experience. Analysis of five semesters of data strongly supports the module format as a successful model for inquiry education by increasing student interest and improving attitude toward learning. In addition, student performance on inquiry-based assignments improved over the course of each semester...
Information literacy skills are critically important for the undergraduate biology student. The ability to find, understand, evaluate, and use information, whether from the scientific literature or from Web resources, is essential for a good understanding of a topic and for the conduct of research. A project in which students receive information literacy instruction and then proceed to select, update, and write about a current research topic in an upper-level cell biology course is described. Students research the chosen topic using paper and electronic resources, generate a list of relevant articles, prepare abstracts based on papers read, and, finally, prepare a “state-of-the-art” paper on the topic. This approach, which extends over most of one semester, has resulted in a number of well-researched and well-written papers that incorporate some of the latest research in cell biology. The steps in this project have also led to students who are prepared to address future projects on new and complex topics. The project is part of an undergraduate course in cell biology, but parts of the assignments can be modified to fit a variety of subject areas and levels.
A symposium was held at the University of California, San Diego, to honor the contributions of Nobel Laureate, George Palade, to cell biology. The speakers included Günter Blobel, on the structure and function of nuclear pore complexes; Peter Walter, on the unfolded protein response in health and disease; Randy Schekman, on human disease-linked mutations in the COPII machinery; Scott Emr, on the regulation of plasma membrane composition by selective endocytosis; Roger Kornberg, on the structure and function of the transcription machinery; Peter Novick, on the regulation of rab GTPases along the secretory pathway; Jim Spudich, on the mechanism of the enigmatic myosin VI motor; and Joe Goldstein, on the function of the Niemann-Pick C (NPC)-linked gene products, NPC1 and NPC2, in cholesterol transport. Their work showcased the multidisciplinary nature, diversity, and vitality of cell biology. In the words of George Palade, their talks also illustrated “how cell biology could be used to understand disease and how disease could be used to discover normal cell biology.” An integrated understanding of the cellular machinery will be essential in tackling the plethora of questions and challenges posed by completion of the human genome and for understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying human disease.
How cell morphology and the cell cycle are coordinately regulated is a fundamental subject in cell biology. In fission yeast, 2 germinal center kinases (GCKs), Sid1 and Nak1, play an essential role in septation/cytokinesis and cell separation/cell polarity control, respectively, as components of the septation initiation network (SIN) and the morphogenesis Orb6 network (MOR). Here we show that a third GCK, Ppk11, is also required for efficient cell separation particularly, at a high temperature. Although Ppk11 is not essential for cell division, this kinase plays an auxiliary role in concert with MOR in cell morphogenesis. Ppk11 physically interacts with the MOR component Pmo25 and is localized to the septum, by which Ppk11 is crucial for Pmo25 targeting/accumulation to the septum. The conserved C-terminal WDF motif of Ppk11 is essential for both septum accumulation of Pmo25 and efficient cell separation. In contrast its kinase activity is required only for cell separation. Thus, both interaction of Ppk11 with Pmo25 and Ppk11 kinase activity are critical for efficient cell separation.
We have developed and validated a tool for assessing understanding of a selection of fundamental concepts and basic knowledge in undergraduate introductory molecular and cell biology, focusing on areas in which students often have misconceptions. This multiple-choice Introductory Molecular and Cell Biology Assessment (IMCA) instrument is designed for use as a pre- and posttest to measure student learning gains. To develop the assessment, we first worked with faculty to create a set of learning goals that targeted important concepts in the field and seemed likely to be emphasized by most instructors teaching these subjects. We interviewed students using open-ended questions to identify commonly held misconceptions, formulated multiple-choice questions that included these ideas as distracters, and reinterviewed students to establish validity of the instrument. The assessment was then evaluated by 25 biology experts and modified based on their suggestions. The complete revised assessment was administered to more than 1300 students at three institutions. Analysis of statistical parameters including item difficulty, item discrimination, and reliability provides evidence that the IMCA is a valid and reliable instrument with several potential uses in gauging student learning of key concepts in molecular and cell biology.
Today, more minority students are entering undergraduate programs than ever before, but they earn only 6% of all science or engineering PhDs awarded in the United States. Many studies suggest that hands-on research activities enhance students’ interest in pursuing a research career. In this paper, we present a model for the implementation of laboratory research in the undergraduate teaching laboratory using a culturally relevant approach to engage students. Laboratory modules were implemented in upper-division genetics and cell biology courses using cassava as the central theme. Students were asked to bring cassava samples from their respective towns, which allowed them to compare their field-collected samples against known lineages from agricultural stations at the end of the implementation. Assessment of content and learning perceptions revealed that our novel approach allowed students to learn while engaged in characterizing Puerto Rican cassava. In two semesters, based on the percentage of students who answered correctly in the premodule assessment for content knowledge, there was an overall improvement of 66% and 55% at the end in the genetics course and 24% and 15% in the cell biology course. Our proposed pedagogical model enhances students’ professional competitiveness by providing students with valuable research skills as they work on a problem to which they can relate.
Memoirs by the 2012 recipient of the Bruce Alberts Award for Excellence in Science Education from the American Society for Cell Biology about the establishment of the International Institute for Collaborative Cell Biology and Biochemistry, which wants to inspire a new era of international scientific cooperation by exposing scientists to diverse learning experiences.
Mechanistic modeling has the potential to transform how cell biologists contend with the inescapable complexity of modern biology. I am a physiologist–electrical engineer–systems biologist who has been working at the level of cell biology for the past 24 years. This perspective aims 1) to convey why we build models, 2) to enumerate the major approaches to modeling and their philosophical differences, 3) to address some recurrent concerns raised by experimentalists, and then 4) to imagine a future in which teams of experimentalists and modelers build—and subject to exhaustive experimental tests—models covering the entire spectrum from molecular cell biology to human pathophysiology. There is, in my view, no technical obstacle to this future, but it will require some plasticity in the biological research mind-set.
The identification and characterisation of genes from filamentous fungi has become easier because of the rapid advances that have taken place in molecular biology, including the generation of whole genome sequences. The new challenge facing researchers is to determine the functions of genes and how they contribute to the biology of fungi. To do this, it is clear that a wide variety of different experimental techniques will be necessary, ranging from classical genetic analysis and mutant production, right through to cell biology, biochemistry and immunological methods. This book brings together detailed practical guidance from experienced researchers using the full range of these genetic, genomic, cellular and biochemical methods. The authors describe laboratory procedures that have been proven effective for the investigation of a wide variety of fungal species. They give key background information, technical tips and detailed experimental protocols, which will prove invaluable to researchers and students studying filamentous fungi.
All aspects of biological diversification ultimately trace to evolutionary modifications at the cellular level. This central role of cells frames the basic questions as to how cells work and how cells come to be the way they are. Although these two lines of inquiry lie respectively within the traditional provenance of cell biology and evolutionary biology, a comprehensive synthesis of evolutionary and cell-biological thinking is lacking. We define evolutionary cell biology as the fusion of these two eponymous fields with the theoretical and quantitative branches of biochemistry, biophysics, and population genetics. The key goals are to develop a mechanistic understanding of general evolutionary processes, while specifically infusing cell biology with an evolutionary perspective. The full development of this interdisciplinary field has the potential to solve numerous problems in diverse areas of biology, including the degree to which selection, effectively neutral processes, historical contingencies, and/or constraints at the chemical and biophysical levels dictate patterns of variation for intracellular features. These problems can now be examined at both the within- and among-species levels, with single-cell methodologies even allowing quantification of variation within genotypes. Some results from this emerging field have already had a substantial impact on cell biology...
O presente estudo teve como objetivo analisar as avaliações, que foram empregadas pelos professores de ensino médio na disciplina de biologia, quando é abordado o tópico sobre biologia celular, traçando um paralelo entre as avaliações realizadas e os conteúdos de outras avaliações de âmbito mais geral, com destaque para o Concurso Vestibular da UNICAMP e o Exame Nacional do Ensino Médio - ENEM. Nas escolas pesquisadas foram analisados os conteúdos dos livros, os seus exercícios, e os planos de ensino dos professores. Além disso, foram propostos questionários, os quais abordaram um conjunto de questões que visou mostrar a forma como o professor encara o processo ensino/aprendizagem e como a avaliação se insere nesse contexto. Este conjunto de questões correspondeu a dois instrumentos, sendo que o primeiro entrevistou, de modo semi-estruturado, 15 professores de biologia das escolas selecionadas e o segundo instrumento entrevistou, num questionário tipo escala Likert, 59 professores de várias disciplinas. Estas entrevistas ocorreram em escolas localizadas no centro e na periferia de duas cidades da região de Campinas. Verificamos que as escolas localizadas no centro das cidades apresentaram diferenças em relação às escolas da periferia...
There is accumulating evidence that animations aid learning of dynamic concepts in cell biology. However, existing animation packages are expensive and difficult to learn, and the subsequent production of even short animations can take weeks to months. Here I outline the principles and sequence of steps for producing high-quality PowerPoint animations in less than a day that are suitable for teaching in high school through college/university. After developing the animation it can be easily converted to any appropriate movie file format using Camtasia Studio for Internet or classroom presentations. Thus anyone who can use PowerPoint has the potential to make animations. Students who viewed the approximately 3-min PowerPoint/Camtasia Studio animation “Calcium and the Dual Signalling Pathway” over 15 min scored significantly higher marks on a subsequent quiz than those who had viewed still graphics with text for an equivalent time. In addition, results from student evaluations provided some data validating the use of such animations in cell biology teaching with some interesting caveats. Information is also provided on how such animations can be modified or updated easily or shared with others who can modify them to fit their own needs.
Nonscience majors often do not respond to traditional lecture-only biology
courses. However, these students still need exposure to basic biological
concepts. To accomplish this goal, forensic science was paired with compatible
cell biology subjects. Several topics such as human development and molecular
biology were found to fulfill this purpose. Another goal was to maximize the
hands-on experience of the nonscience major students. This objective was
fulfilled by specific activities such as fingerprinting and DNA typing. One
particularly effective teaching tool was a mock murder mystery complete with a
Grand Jury trial. Another objective was to improve students' attitudes
toward science. This was successful in that students felt more confident in
their own scientific abilities after taking the course. In pre/post tests,
students answered four questions about their ability to conduct science. All
four statements showed a positive shift after the course (p values
ranging from .001 to .036...
Stem cell biology offers advantages to investigators seeking to identify new therapeutic molecules. Specifically, stem cells are genetically stable, scalable for molecular screening, and function in cellular assays for drug efficacy and safety. A key hurdle for drug discoverers of central nervous system disease is a lack of high quality neuronal cells. In the central nervous system, α-amino-3-hydroxyl-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionate (AMPA) subtype glutamate receptors mediate the vast majority of excitatory neurotransmissions. Embryonic stem (ES) cell protocols were developed to differentiate into neuronal subtypes that express AMPA receptors and were pharmacologically responsive to standard compounds for AMPA potentiation. Therefore, we hypothesized that stem cell-derived neurons should be predictive in high-throughput screens (HTSs). Here, we describe a murine ES cell-based HTS of a 2.4 × 106 compound library, the identification of novel chemical “hits” for AMPA potentiation, structure function relationship of compounds and receptors, and validation of chemical leads in secondary assays using human ES cell-derived neurons. This reporting of murine ES cell derivatives being formatted to deliver HTS of greater than 106 compounds for a specific drug target conclusively demonstrates a new application for stem cells in drug discovery. In the future new molecular entities may be screened directly in human ES or induced pluripotent stem cell derivatives.
The Women in Cell Biology (WICB) committee of the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) was started in the 1970s in response to the documented underrepresentation of women in academia in general and cell biology in particular. By coincidence or causal relationship, I am happy to say that since WICB became a standing ASCB committee, women have been well represented in ASCB's leadership and as symposium speakers at the annual meeting. However, the need to provide opportunities and information useful to women in developing their careers in cell biology is still vital, given the continuing bias women face in the larger scientific arena. With its emphasis on mentoring, many of WICB's activities benefit the development of both men and women cell biologists. The WICB “Career Column” in the monthly ASCB Newsletter is a source of accessible wisdom. At the annual ASCB meeting, WICB organizes the career discussion and mentoring roundtables, childcare awards, Mentoring Theater, career-related panel and workshop, and career recognition awards. Finally, the WICB Speaker Referral Service provides a list of outstanding women whom organizers of scientific meetings, scientific review panels, and university symposia/lecture series can reach out to when facing the proverbial dilemma...
Esta tesis presenta el diseño, desarrollo tecnológico, caracterización y aplicaciones tanto químicas como biológicas de micro- y nanodispositivos destinados a ser herramientas funcionales en biología celular. Esta línea de investigación es posible gracias a los avances obtenidos en el campo de las Micro- y Nanotecnologías, donde la aplicación de técnicas de miniaturización en la fabricación de sus dispositivos a escala celular es ya una realidad. Estas herramientas son lo suficientemente pequeñas como para etiquetar y permitir el seguimiento de embriones vivos o incluso actuar como sensores permitiendo el estudio de células vivas únicas de forma intra- y extracelular. Además, una de las características más relevantes de las micro- y nanoherramientas presentadas en esta tesis es su capacidad de suspensión, es decir, que estos dispositivos pueden ser liberados de la oblea en la que están fabricados y directamente actuar con las células en su mismo medio y en su misma escala. Estas herramientas presentan diferentes formas, tamaños, materiales y funcionalidades específicas, ya que la combinación de todas estas características o incluso la incorporación de partes nanoestructuradas en un solo dispositivo nos permite la obtención de herramientas multi-funcionales. Por todo ello...