• Online instruction - Bioinformatics lesson for a COVID-19 vaccine

      Anderson, N.; Wilch, M.; University of Arizona (National Association of Biology Teachers, Inc, 2021)
      In the spring of 2020, remote learning was implemented in schools throughout the world due to the pandemic of SARS CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19. Thrust into online instruction, many science teachers scrambled during this transition, and classes were severely hampered by a lack of hands-on investigations involving critical thinking and problem-solving skills. In response to a need for online experimentation, bioinformatics lessons centered around SARS-CoV-2 were developed. This article presents a multipart bioinformatics lesson that allows students to (1) compare spike protein sequences from the database portal NCBI Virus, to investigate whether this protein would be a good target for a vaccine against COVID-19; and (2) create phylogenetic trees and demonstrate evolutionary relatedness of human coronaviruses. This lesson allows for instruction in molecular biology, virology, immunology, bioinformatics, and phylogenetics, as well as analysis of scientific data. It is appropriate for high school AP Biology and biotechnology courses and can be taught entirely online. ©
    • Teaching the Central Dogma through an Inquiry-Based Project Using GFP

      Bujanda, C.; Anderson, N.; Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Arizona (National Association of Biology Teachers, Inc, 2022)
      The Central Dogma is a crucial concept needed to understand biotechnology and molecular biology. High school students often struggle with a meaningful understanding of this abstract concept. This paper presents an inquiry-based approach to increase critical thinking and understanding of the Central Dogma. Commonly used in high school classrooms is Bio-Rad pGLO plasmid containing green fluorescent protein (GFP), because of its accessibility and the fluorescence it emits when exposed to ultraviolet light. We use the expression of GFP in a high school hands-on class project so that students can visualize and understand the abstract concepts of the Central Dogma. Students will also explore protein structure and its importance for a functional protein. During the entire project, students will be guided by the instructor to build hypotheses and design experiments to test those hypotheses, exercising the scientific method. ©