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Doing science, not just telling it

Nat sound: Do you have the sequence of the element? Where's your file?

Sue Wessler: Dynamic Genome, the idea is to reinvigorate the undergraduate classroom, to make it a much more exciting place, to create or generate a teaching program that is closely tied to my research laboratory. Mobile DNA, transposable elements has been the focus of my research lab for almost thirty years. The projects, the expertise, the equipment, the excitement from the research lab will form the basis for the undergraduate classroom.

One of the problems with our undergraduate teaching is we're kind of boring students to death. Mainly because we're telling them about science, not doing it. It's just this disconnect between the excitement and the research lab and the lack of excitement in an undergraduate classroom that we're hoping to fix with this kind of arrangement.

Daniel Perez:   At first I thought it was going to be a lot of lecturing because that's what I'm used to coming in from high school, but it's been a complete change for the good because I get to do a lot of hands-on stuff and I really do appreciate that.

Sue Wessler:  We have two separate classrooms that students utilize during their three hours. So, they go back and forth. One is a computer classroom and one is a wet lab and this really reflects the prevalence of computational analysis in almost all of modern biology. Much like in a real research lab, the students will start thinking about an experiment by doing computational analysis, design their experiment in the computer and then come in and perform that experiment. We also teach the students how to do experiments and this is going to be critical no matter where they go in the next four years as students.

Yunyun Lin:   I'm thinking of going into medicine and all of the research that we're doing now really extends into the whole medical field and so I believe that this really gives me sort of a heads start on the whole genetics field.

Sue Wessler:  What I wanted to build here and we were able to build here was truly a state-of-the-art facility. There's no lab like this anywhere in the world.

Daniel Perez:   All classrooms should be like this. You really get the opportunity to feel important, feel like you're part of what's going on and feel like you're part of the big science population that's out there.


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