Luncheon Speaker Kim Moore University of Maryland, College Park Physics Education Research Group
"Engaging Life Sciences Students in Physical Analyses of Biological Phenomena"
Co-Authors: J. Giannini and W. Losert (UMd Biophysics Program)
Should a simple wound require antibiotics? How do we characterize random motion? What effects the diffusion constant? How can images of an onion cell enable measurement of the rate of ATP hydrolysis in molecular motors and give evidence of the cell's cytoskeleton? How can we model and measure the effects of atherosclerosis and cardiac bypass? Why is passive transport and ineffective method for neural signal transmission? How can simple absorption and emission spectroscopy provide arguments for the evolutionary adaptation of the human eye? Most importantly, how can physical analyses help us understand biological phenomena? These are some of the concepts and questions explored in the NEXUS/Fundamentals of Physics for Biologists laboratory curriculum newly developed by and implemented at the University of Maryland, College Park. We present discussions of the design and implementation of these labs and data from both the pilot year (two small test classes (N~30), graduate student lab designers as TAs, 2012-2013) and the current year (large enrollment courses (N~240), 9 new TAs and 15 LAs). [This work is supported by funding from the NSF and HHMI. An article on this lab curriculum is currently in press for the special issue of the American Journal of Physics devoted to the Intersection of Biology and Phyics (May 2014). Information about the NEXUS/Physics project can be found at www.nexusphysics.umd.edu.]
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