MCC: Malate Dehydrogenase CUREs Community

Ellis Bell, University of San Diego
Currently the project is coordinating development of materials and incorporation of MCC CUREs into courses at the following institutions:
University of Nebraska, Lincoln (Jing Zhang:jzhang24@unl.edu)
University of Massachuesetts: Amherst (Amy Springer: aspringer@biochem.umass.edu)
North Hennepin Community College (Tamara Mans: TMans@nhcc.edu)
SouthWest Community College (David Hecht: Dhecht@swccd.edu)
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Laura Christian: Chrisl4@rpi.edu)
Hampden Sydney College (Mike Wolyniak: mwolyniak@hsc.edu )
University of New Mexico (Martina Rosenberg: mrosenberg@salud.unm.edu)
San Francisco State University (Misty Kuhn: mkuhn@sfsu.edu )
Mercyhurst College (Amy Parente: aparente@mercyhurst.edu)
Suffolk University (Celeste Peterson: cnpeterson@suffolk.edu)
Union College (Kristin Fox: foxk@union.edu)
St John Fisher College (Kevin Callahan: kcallahan@sjfc.edu)
Marshall University (John Rakus: rakus@marshall.edu)
Malone University (Katie Huisinga: khuisinga@malone.edu)
University of San Diego (Anthony Bell: anthonybell@sandiego.edu, Jessica Bell: jessicabell@sandiego.edu, Joseph Provost: josephprovost@sandiego.edu, & Ellis Bell: jbell@sandiego.edu )
Location:

Abstract

The Malate Dehydrogenase CUREs Community (MCC) project is designed to facilitate the adoption of effective, protein‐centric, Course Based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs) into teaching labs at a wide variety of undergraduate serving institutions. (Primarily Undergraduate Institutions, Research Intensive Universities and Community Colleges) MCC coordinates and conducts pedagogical research into two major features of CUREs:1) their duration (whole semester versus 5‐6 week modules incorporated into a lab class), and 2) the impact of scientific collaboration between institutions (a key aspect of much modern research). Using validated assessment tools we seek to establish their effects on student confidence, persistence in STEM, and ability to design research experiments and interprete data.
To facilitate faculty adoption of CURE approaches the project provides a number of resources. These focus on a variety of research areas related to Malate Dehydrogenase including mechanisms of catalysis and regulation, adaptation and evolution, cofactor specificity, folding and stability and interactions in metabolons. Resources include biologics, experimental protocols and assessment tools. The project also coordinates interactions between courses at different institutions to allow incorporation of scientific collaboration into CUREs. These collaborations also facilitate the use of more sophisticated experimental approaches and broaden the experimental scope of the CUREs.

Student Goals

  1. Student confidence and persistence in STEM
  2. Student ability to Develop a Hypothesis, a proposal, design and execute research experiments and present and interprete data and conclusions
  3. Student ability to understand the role that non-covalent interactions play in protein structure-function relationships

Research Goals

  1. To explore structure function relationships in Malate Dehydrogenases
  2. Determine the impact of CURE length, and scientific collaboration between institutions (a key aspect of much modern research) in a CURE on student outcomes

Context

The Malate Dehydrogenase CUREs Community (MCC) project, funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, involves protein‐centric, Course Based Undergraduate Research Experiences, CUREs, focusing on a variety of research areas related to Malate Dehydrogenase, suitable for introductory to advanced level courses in diverse institutions. MCC is developing, and making available, a variety of resources to facilitate incorporation of these CUREs into the curriculum as well as conducting pedagogical research on effective components of CUREs. Across the community over 500 students per year are impacted. While the CUREs can be full semester (Full CURE, cCURE), or part semester (Mini CURE, mCURE), they are all based upon two core modules, The Hypothesis Development and Proposal module, and the Construction and Expression module, which lead into a variety of experimental approach modules organized around specific scientific clusters or themes where appropriate experiments to explore the student generated hypothesis can be found. All CUREs implemented by MCC contain the same elements: Scientific Background, Hypothesis Development, Proposal, Experiments/Teamwork to test hypothesis, Data Analysis and Conclusions, and Presentation, but differ in the extent of each between mCURE and cCURE. The CUREs are being implimented in both majors and non-majors classes, from first year to senior capstone levels in institutions ranginging from Community Colleges to PUIs to Research Intensive .

Target Audience:Introductory, Major, Non-major, Upper Division
CURE Duration: A few class periods, A full term, Half a term

CURE Design

MCC CUREs are protein‐centric, CUREs focusing on a variety of research areas related to Malate Dehydrogenase including mechanisms of catalysis and regulation, adaptation and evolution, cofactor specificity, folding and stability and interactions in metabolons, suitable for introductory to advanced level courses in diverse institutions. While the CUREs can be full semester (Full CURE, cCURE), or part semester (Mini CURE, mCURE), they are all based upon two core modules, The Hypothesis Development and Proposal module, and the Construction and Expression module, which lead into a variety of experimental approach modules organized around specific scientific clusters or themes where appropriate experiments to explore the student generated hypothesis can be found. All CUREs implemented by MCC contain the same elements: Scientific Background, Hypothesis Development, Proposal, Experiments/Teamwork to test hypothesis, Data Analysis and Conclusions, and Presentation, but differ in the extent of each between mCURE and cCURE

Core Competencies: Analyzing and interpreting data, Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering), Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering), Developing and using models, Planning and carrying out investigations, Using mathematics and computational thinking
Nature of Research:Basic Research, Informatics/Computational Research, Wet Lab/Bench Research

Tasks that Align Student and Research Goals

Research Goals →
Student Goals ↓
Research Goal 1: To explore structure function relationships in Malate Dehydrogenases
Research Goal 2: Determine the impact of CURE length, and scientific collaboration between institutions (a key aspect of much modern research) in a CURE on student outcomes


Student Goal 1: Student confidence and persistence in STEM

Find, use and present relevant primary literature, protein sequences, structures and bioinformatics tools

Work Safely & Keep an accurate lab notebook.



Student Goal 2: Student ability to Develop a Hypothesis, a proposal, design and execute research experiments and present and interprete data and conclusions

Understand the various roles that non-covalent interactions may play in the structure and function of an enzyme

Successfully follow a protocol, explain the basis for the steps involved and understand the variables that must be controlled for.



Student Goal 3: Student ability to understand the role that non-covalent interactions play in protein structure-function relationships

Create/develop and present a testable and falsifiable hypothesis and appropriate experiments to interrogate the hypothesis

Be able to obtain and use quantitative data and appreciate the need for reproducibility and appropriate statistical analysis.


Instructional Materials

Details of Instructional Materials can be found on the Project Web Site and include student centered modules, protocols, background reading, available biologic resources and assessment rubrics

Hypothesis Development and Proposal Module (Acrobat (PDF) 4.6MB Aug29 18)
Construction & Expression Module (Acrobat (PDF) 355kB Aug29 18)
Syllabus for a Full Semester CURE (Acrobat (PDF) 142kB Aug29 18)

Assessment

Find, use and present relevant primary literature, protein sequences, structures and bioinformatics tools (Acrobat (PDF) 47kB Aug29 18)
Understand the various roles that non-covalent interactions may play in the structure and function of an enzyme (Acrobat (PDF) 23kB Aug29 18)
Create/develop and present a testable and falsifiable hypothesis and appropriate experiments to interrogate the hypothesis. (Acrobat (PDF) 22kB Aug29 18)

Instructional Staffing

Depending upon the institution type MCC CUREs are taught/staffed by Faculty supported by staff or teaching assistants as appropriate and can involve scientific collaboration between classes at different institutions

Ellis Bell, University of San Diego

The Malate Dehydrogenase CUREs Community (MCC) project involves protein‐centric, CUREs
focusing on a variety of research areas related to Malate Dehydrogenase including mechanisms of
catalysis and regulation, adaptation and evolution, cofactor specificity, folding and stability and interactions in metabolons, suitable for introductory to advanced level courses in diverse institutions.


Read Story »

Advice for Implementation

The most common student question is "is this the right result". The answer is always "Have you repeated the experiment? And do you believe the result? What do you think it tells you? Can you defend your conclusions using the appropriate statistical analysis?" The MCC CUREs have been implemented in a variety of different institution types with widely different equipment resources - the emphasis is on scientific questions and experiments that can be done with available equipment. The range of experiment types is supplemented by scientific collaboration with other institutions in the consortium

Iteration

Each CURE course taught by MCC members emphasizes trouble shooting, problem solving and repeatability. Grading of MCC CURE courses emphasizes process skills not research outcomes. In a full semester CURE approximately 20% of the time is spend on repeating potentially significant experiments where students are challenged to "repeat their critical results"

Using CURE Data

The community archives student data using a private eLN and clones/mutants produced by MCC classes are archived at USD and available for future classes. As warranted, data obtained during CURE activity is replicated by other members of the consortium prior to publication. Authorship involves faculty collaborators and students involved in the appropriate CURE courses. Prior to publication significant results are shared with the broader scientific community through presentations at National Scientific meetings such as the Protein Society, American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and American Society for Cell Biology and through the MCC web site.

Resources

Resources, biologics, protocols, modules, appropriate literature for student and faculty use are documented and available through the Project Web Site




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