An update of recent CURE-related research, opportunities, and resources.
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CUREnet Quarterly - September 2020

Recent Publications

A course-based undergraduate research experience examining neurodegeneration in Drosophila melanogaster teaches students to think, communicate, and perform like scientists
This article outlines a CURE developed in an upper-level undergraduate genetics course centered on the Drosophila melanogaster ortholog of the human neurodegeneration locus PLA2G6/PARK14 with learning goals centered around having students think, communicate, and perform like scientists. The results show gains related to all three learning goals and significant improvements in the understanding of the scientific method compared to the prior year's non-CURE genetics lab students.

The Value of Failure: A Student-Driven Course-Based Research Experience in an Undergraduate Organic Chemistry Lab Inspired by an Unexpected Result
This study examines a CURE that has engaged several cohorts of students in a 7 week investigation focused on identifying the mechanistic origin of a nonstereospecific hydroxybromination of Z-stilbene, an observation that contradicts how this addition reaction is presented in standard organic chemistry curricula. The article reports on student perceptions of the pedagogical value of the CURE, the effect of the lab on their self-efficacy, and the novelty of research being conducted.

Reflections on Course-Based Undergraduate Research in Organic and Biochemistry during COVID-19
This essay discusses how three different faculty members in three different courses adapted workflow and curricula of chemistry CUREs laboratories to a virtual environment during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the advantages and disadvantages of curricular adaptations are discussed considering both the faculty and student experience in relation to student learning outcomes.

Congrats from CUREnet!

Biological Collections Ecology and Evolution Network (BCEENET) NSF RAPID Grant
BCEENET has received a NSF RAPID grant to develop several CUREs using digital natural history collections. These courses will be developed to be taught entirely online, as a response to the likelihood that many courses will be online this fall and over the winter due to COVID19. Courses will be developed for implementation around a number of different topics and at different levels. If you are potentially interested in implementing (or helping to develop) one of these courses during the 2020-2021 academic year, follow this link . Congrats to PIs Janice Krumm, Carly Jordan, Elizabeth Shea, and Jean Woods!

Enhancement of Jackson State University Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience (JSU-CURE) Program in the Biological Sciences
NSF's Targeted Infusion Projects support the development, implementation, and study of evidence-based innovative models and approaches for improving the preparation and success of HBCU undergraduate students so that they may pursue STEM graduate programs and/or careers. The proposed project will enable Jackson State University to transform traditionally taught lectures and labs into courses that actively engage students in authentic scientific inquiry through inquiry-based and CURE instruction. Congrats to PIs Timothy Turner, Gloria Miller, LaDonnya Drummond, Jacqueline Stevens, and Barbara Graham!

NC A&T awarded NSF grant to study service learning CUREs
The College of Science and Technology (CoST) at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University was awarded an NSF grant to learn more about the impact of service learning, course-based research experiences (SL-CURE). The funding will support a collaborative research project across multiple institutions to study a hybrid course designed to influence students from various disciplines and their perceptions, interests and motivations to pursue careers in STEM and research. Congrats to PIs Kelsie Bernot, Angela White, Michele Malotky, Maura Nsonwu, Mike Wilton, and Eduardo Gonzalez!

CUREs from the Collection

DNA cloning and protein analysis of animal-heme peroxidase within collagen IV of the extracellular matrix
This CURE is to expose undergraduate students to the process of DNA cloning to identify the critical amino acids of the animal-heme peroxidase, peroxidasin, responsible for catalyzing sulfilimine bond formation within collagen IV of the basement membrane. Students bioengineer a variety of mutants through primer design and polymerase chain reactions that contain point mutations within the immunoglobulin domain of the peroxidasin.

The D2D program is centered around an undergraduate-friendly protocol workflow that follows the design-build-test-learn engineering framework. This protocol has served as the scaffold for a successful undergraduate training program and has been further developed into courses that range from a 10-week freshman seminar to a year-long, upper-division molecular biology course. The overarching research goal of this CURE probes the current predictive limitations of protein-modeling software by functionally characterizing single amino acid mutants in a robust model system.

Announcements and Opportunities

SABER Virtual Series - Striving for racial justice in academic biology
Join the Society for the Advancement in Biology Education Research (SABER) for their virtual series focused on promoting awareness, understanding, and commitment to change academic biology environments to be more inclusive and strive for racial justice in STEM education. For more information on this seven-part series, click here .

Assistant Professor of Chemical Education at University of Texas - El Paso
The College of Science at The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) is seeking applications for a tenure-track assistant professor in Chemical Education. The successful candidate will be expected to build an excellent chemical education program at a departmental level through research and curricular development activities, lead the expansion of the program through collaborations with other faculty, and attract external funding at levels needed to build and sustain such a research program. Visit this website for more details.

Funding your own CURE

Please visit the CUREnet site to learn more about how others have funded their CUREs and share your own experiences!

Voices from the CURE community

We are interested in collecting narratives from individuals who have implemented CUREs and are willing to share their experience and advice with the rest of the CUREnet community. If you are interested in being featured in an upcoming issue of CUREnet Quarterly, email Logan Gin.

Have news to share?

Use this page on the CUREnet website to submit publications, announcements, and job posts to be featured in the next CUREnet Quarterly newsletter. For additional news and announcements, follow CUREnet on Twitter (@CUREnet1).