I have developed a laboratory-based research course for undergraduates who are interested in an authentic research experience. I have initiated undergraduate research projects that study cellular, metabolic and developmental functions in Dictyostelium discoideum. Dictyostelium displays a unique life cycle comprised of unicellular amoeba that aggregate and develop into multicellular structures that harbor environment-stable spores under adverse conditions. These undergraduate research projects progress from term to term so students are welcome to continue in subsequent terms to further progress their projects or switch to other ongoing projects.
My goal is to introduce students to authentic laboratory research with the intent to encourage independent thinking and problem solving that can be applied in any context. I hope to study what key STEM skills students can learn by performing independent, but supervised and guided research projects. I hope they will gain confidence in knowing they will learn from their mistakes, become expert at time management and organization of efforts, learn to solve problems, and develop essential critical thinking skills.