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Zebrafish Development and Genetics Laboratory Module
A six-week laboratory module from Emory University introduces undergraduates to current research methods through an examination of zebrafish development. In these labs—which educators can use to complement and illustrate aspects of a standard introductory biology curriculum—students undertake a range of experiments. They observe the development of live zebrafish, identify mutants, stain mutant and wild-type embryos with vital dyes to reveal morphological differences, study the environmental effects on development, and present group lab reports. The developers say that the labs engage students by providing a hands-on, research-centered experience that enhances students’ problem-solving and communications skills. In addition to teaching modern laboratory techniques, the labs also use bioinformatics and case studies that connect the laboratory topic with a real-life situation. An article in the June 2009 issue of Zebrafish is available below as a PDF. It describes the proceedings of each lab and the logistics of preparing and running the labs for 400-500 students and also offers a preliminary assessment of the module’s successes, based on student assessment data. An accompanying PDF provides all supplemental materials (including a list of equipment and supplies, worksheets and answers, and recipes for all solutions), that educators need to set up this lab module at their own institutions.
Program Director: Patricia Ann Marsteller, Ph.D.
Award Years: 1989, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006
Summary: Emory University is a private research university in Atlanta, Georgia. Its HHMI-funded initiatives include:
- The introduction of new interdisciplinary courses and approaches that have helped reform the undergraduate science curriculum;
- The SURE (Summer Undergraduate Research at Emory) program, which has placed and mentored more than 1000 students since 1990 and acted as a catalyst for an international research program;
- The HHMI Curriculum Development Fellows program, which gives selected graduate students and postdocs the chance to help develop new courses, problem-based learning materials and supplemental instruction for introductory biology, chemistry and mathematics courses;
- The formation of collaborative communities of current and future faculty, undergraduate students and high school teachers to improve science education in metro Atlanta schools; and
- The development of Web-based interdisciplinary curricula, such as CancerQuest and Cases Online.