Monthly Archives: October 2011

What is Rubisco doing in the deep, dark ocean?

A report published in the 2 September, 2011 issue of Science by Swan et. al suggests that bacteria in the “dark ocean”, meaning depths below 200 m, where no sunlight penetrates, contribute significantly to primary production. Previous studies indicated that … Continue reading

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Protein Structure and Function

Proteins have complex and dynamic shapes. The function of a protein is determined by its structure; a change in the protein’s activity involves a change in some portion of the protein’s structure (shape). What, then, determines a protein’s structure? Proteins … Continue reading

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Cystic fibrosis, a case study for membranes and transport

Cystic fibrosis (CF), the most common single-gene hereditary disease among people of Northern European descent, is caused by mutations in the gene encoding the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator, CFTR. We’ll go into the genetics of CF in another post, … Continue reading

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Taking some lumps in the no-lecture model

I have now given 3 class sessions with no lecturing. I start off class with 3-4 clicker questions on concepts covered in a recorded video lecture that I posted and asked students to view before coming to class. The next … Continue reading

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Arsenic life – a case study for introductory biology

This fall, I am determined to switch my teaching method to a structured, active-inquiry format with students working in groups for most of the class period. Instead of lecturing during class, I post pre-recorded talks from my slides on T-square … Continue reading

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A chemical context for introductory biology

How much chemistry should we teach in an introductory biology course for majors? Modern biology is integrative, and relies on understanding of chemistry, physics, geology, and other natural sciences. Therefore, all biology curricula require students to take multiple chemistry courses, … Continue reading

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