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Kevin Ahern’s Wildly Popular Metabolic Melodies
This website contains Metabolic Melodies, a series of songs with biochemistry-related lyrics set to popular tunes. Dr. Kevin Ahern and three other contributors (Tony Rianprakaisang and Taralyn Tan, undergraduate teaching assistants. and Indira Rajagopal, biochemistry instructor) wrote the songs for biochemistry classes he teaches at Oregon State University. At the end of the quarter, Dr. Ahern sings the songs to his classes as a study aid. Tim Karplus, David Simmons, and Barbara and Neal Gladstone, who are professional musicians, have recorded 48 of the songs, which are available on the website as MP3 files with graphics; five other songs have not yet been recorded. The songs, which are listed in order of their popularity as downloads, cover a wide range of topics. For example, a song about “Enzymes” is sung to the tune of “Downtown,” “The Tao of Hormones” to “The Sound of Silence,” and “Central Dogma Zen” to “Those Were the Days.” The website contains a PDF with all the lyrics. In addition, educators can see some of Dr. Ahern’s students, accompanied by student musicians, perform several of the songs on YouTube. Dr. Ahern urges educators to try out the songs in their classrooms and let him know the results. His email address is email@example.com.
Program Director: Daniel Arp, Ph.D.
Award Years: 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006
Summary: Oregon State University is a public research university in Corvallis, Oregon. Its HHMI-funded educational initiatives include:
- The Science Education Partnerships program, a K-12 science outreach effort that improves science and math education for teachers throughout the state and also provides alternative ways for children and families to make science an interesting part of family activities;
- Undergraduate summer research programs with formalized mentoring of students, a peer-reviewed undergraduate research journal, and research opportunities for students at Pacific Northwest schools and schools populated with traditionally underrepresented groups in science; and
- The SMILE STARS (Study Techniques, Academics, and Research Skills) program, which offers an eight-week intensive summer bridge program for selected high school graduates before their first year at OSU.