Derek Braun

Derek Braun

Gallaudet University

Derek C. Braun, Ph.D. is a Professor at Gallaudet University. As a graduate student, Dr. Braun was a NIH National Service Research Award (NRSA) fellow. His graduate research at the University of Maryland was on the genetics of lipooligosaccharide antigenic variation in the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae. After graduation from the University of Maryland, Dr. Braun worked at the National Cancer Institute, NIH, from 2002 through 2006, where he studied signal transduction pathways important in cancer and pain. Dr. Braun was awarded a provisional patent for developing a fluorescent recombinant biotechnology tool for high-throughput screening of potential anticancer drugs. In 2006, Dr. Braun designed and began directing the Molecular Genetics Laboratory, Gallaudet's first biological research laboratory. Undergraduate students and summer interns perform research in the laboratory alongside deaf faculty. As a result of working with students in his lab, Dr. Braun, along with Cara Gormally and M. Diane Clark, began a fruitful collaboration identifying the variables important for effective mentoring of deaf students in undergraduate research experiences. His current research interest is in the population genetics of connexin deafness. Connexin deafness is a uniquely common form of genetic deafness, and is prevalent all over the world, implying that there must be an underlying phenomenon responsible for this prevalence. As one of the only Deaf geneticists in the world, Dr. Braun was interviewed and featured in "Scientists with disabilities: Access in all areas" in Nature, "Science in Sign Language" in ASBMB Today, and in All in the Mind, a radio show by Australian Broadcasting Corp. He also presented at TEDxMidAtlantic 2013.
Kristen Butela

Kristen Butela

University of Pittsburgh

Robert E Furrow

Robert E Furrow

University of California, Davis

Contact: refurrow AT ucdavis DOT edu

I have recently started as an Assistant Professor of Teaching in Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology at the University of California, Davis. I teach a large introductory course in ecology and evolution, and I'm currently developing a new introductory scientific literacy course, a behavioral ecology course, and small introductory, course-based research experiences focused on mathematical modeling and statistics. My research is oriented towards building biology students' self-efficacy in quantitative skills and understanding student perceptions of inclusive teaching. I'm also interested in how students develop field biology skills and increase their attentiveness to the natural world. I typically attend the Society for the Advancement of Biology Education Research (SABER) annual meeting. In the past I have attended Evolution, but in my new position I'm eager to attend the Wildlife Society conference and ESA, with a focus on projects related to education. 

For the BIOME Institute, I'm eager to work on projects related to introductory experiential learning, particularly if it's related to building students' science process skills (like writing, communication, and reading scientific papers) and quantitative skills (like programming, statistical thinking, and mathematical modeling). I have some experience teaching introductory course-based research experiences focused on modeling microbial growth and on comparative genomics.  But I'm newer to teaching some of the science process skills, and I'd love to learn from peers who work on this.

Elizabeth Hamman

Elizabeth Hamman

St Mary's College of Maryland

I'm a quantitative population & community ecologist who mostly works in marine and aquatic systems, and started at St. Mary's College of Maryland as an assistant professor in the fall of 2021. I'm currently a postdoc in the math department at Tulane working on a project examining spatial variation due to ecological interactions on coral reefs. Previously, I did postdocs with QUBES (based at Radford) and East Carolina University (looking at predator diversity in riverine rock pools).  I have a BA in Marine Biology/Applied Mathematics from New College of Florida, and a PhD in Ecology from UGA (although I started at UF).  

Dmitry Kondrashov

Dmitry Kondrashov

University of Chicago

Stanley Lo

Stanley Lo

University of California San Diego

Pat Marsteller

Pat Marsteller

Emory University

Pat Marsteller directed the Emory College Center for Science Education and is a faculty member in the department of Biology at Emory. She studied evolution of animal behavior for her MS degree at University of South Carolina and evolution and quantitative genetics for her PhD at the University of Florida.  She worked with alligators for her MS thesis, investigating whether they could use the sun, the moon and the stars to navigate. Her dissertation research focused on a quantitative genetic analysis, using with fruit flies as a model system, to investigate genetic and environmental influence on life history patterns and traits such as longevity and quantity and timing of reproduction. She has taught courses evolution, Darwin and the idea of evolution and many other courses over her 30 years of college teaching.  She also works with college and pre-college faculty on developing curriculum materials and on using active learning strategies in the teaching of science and mathematics. She is the PI of the ScienceCasenetwork and NeuroCaseNet and a helper on HITS and Molecular CaseNet.

 Pat’s grand project is to prepare Faculty of the Future to teach well, to be creative, to be excellent mentors. She believes that we all have a responsibility to educate the public about science. Her other grand project relates to increasing diversity in science...She is in charge of special programs to increase success for underrepresented groups, women and first genration students at undergraduate, graduate, postdoc and faculty levels. support for these initiatives comes from NSF, HHMI, and NIH.  She is co-PI of the Emory Initiative for Maximizing Student Development project, among many projects that support student research.

Draft Undergraduate STEM Education 2040: An Optimists Perspective

The intersecting crises of 2020 (covid, antiracist protests and climate change) finally led faculty groups and funders to a social justice agenda for STEM education. Thousands of faculty read Ibram Kendi’s How to be an Antiracist and began to realize that open education resources (OER) and open pedagogy (OP) were needed to address the racial and ethnic disparities in health, impacts of climate change, and institutional practices.  A revolution began!

Graduate and postdoctoral programs added Social Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion to professional development programs.  NSF reinstated the GK12 program and created a new Graduate-Undergraduate curriculum development program.  Institutions moved from general statements about social justice and serving all students to investing in reward systems and data tools to assess progress toward a just system that serves society. All types of institutions, community colleges, liberal arts institutions and research focused institution have over these years established networks and partnerships and formal transfer agreements. Faculty tenure and promotion guidelines were revised to include public scholarship and reflection on open pedagogies and professional development in applying social justice principles.  Discipline based education faculty were hired (on tenure track) in nearly every department. Since that watershed year our faculties have become more diverse and our curricula have changed.

The movement to integrate research into STEM courses developed into a movement to include students as co-creators of curricular materials.  Faculty worked together across departmental boundaries to assess content, curricular frameworks, and applications of each course and program to society.  Science literacy, data literacy, and application to social issues took priority.

Revised materials called for all people to be represented in texts and OER materials. and current research.

As a result, now in 2040 students not only feel welcomed as learners but enabled to be content creators and researchers from the first course. From the first course, students now learn to critique and evaluate knowledge claims. Our STEM courses are better coordinated and they incorporate visualization, research design and models, but they also examine the ethics of scientific practices and the social justice implications of historical and future science and application. Our faculties are more diverse and representative and thus constantly bring new perspectives to our teaching and research missions.

Our classrooms are now more open spaces that support the evidence based active learning practices and enable collaborative teams to create new knowledge. Our institutions intersect closely with local communities and our students investigate and solve problem with local community groups. 

From the very first course, we teach students to think like scientists, to evaluate and weigh evidence, to communicate clearly and to place scientific data in context.  Instead of focusing on science as a body of knowledge, we allow students to inquire, investigate and communicate. Inquiry-based approaches such as problem-based learning (PBL) and investigative case-based learning (ICBL) have documented success in enhancing conceptual understanding and increasing skills in problem solving, critical thinking, communication and self-assessment. By using complex, authentic problems to trigger investigation in lab and library, our students develop critical thinking, problem solving, and collaborative skills. These methods allow students to experience science integrated with other disciplines such as mathematics (graphs, statistics), history (social, economic and political context of the issue), and language arts (conveying research results) and enhance their capacity for creative and responsible real-world problem solving. Inquiry science courses integrate ethical dimensions of science. Debates on cloning, DNA testing, limits of prediction, and potential perils as well as benefits of science deepen understanding for all students.  Combining such approaches with practice in communicating science to different audiences creates engaged scholars and a scientifically literate public.

We have made great strides in moving from incremental interventions to systemic, structural and lasting change. Our majors now provide a more diverse STEM workforce and generate new ideas that are improving health, quality f life and discovery for all peoples and parts of the globe.  Our non-majors leave still loving and exploring science and they learn to critique and evaluate knowledge claims about health, vaccines and evolution.  Our STEM courses are better coordinated and they incorporate visualization, research design and models, but they also examine the ethics of scientific practices and the social justice implications of past

We have not yet solved all the inequities in K-12 or undergraduate education or in health disparities in local communities, but we have come a long way.  The experiments in education are now bolder, the future looks more just, more equitable and more creative.

OK...How's that???

Prior to arriving at Emory in 1990, Pat taught at large state universities and tiny liberal arts colleges.  This experience gave her the opportunity to teach nearly every course in Biology.  She loves teaching because transmitting the joys (and trials) of the process of science to students gives them the tools for lifelong learning and discovery.  Science is not merely a body of accumulated facts and theories, but an exhilarating process of discovery.  Good teachers are constant learners, inventing, creating and discovering new ways to facilitate learning.  As her friend John Jungck says, “teachers must move from the position of sage on the stage to guide on the side.”  Learning is an active process- students are not vessels into which we pour our accumulated wisdom; they are participants is generating, constructing and linking knowledge by placing new content in the context of what they know and by developing critical analysis skills so that they can generate reasonable hypotheses, test them, analyze carefully and draw reasonable conclusions.  Good teachers and good students should “Question Authority” as the bumper sticker on her door suggests.  Don’t just believe!  Delve into it, connect, apply, and make it your own!

Pat is a member of the Biology faculty and the NBB faculty and directs the Hughes Undergraduate Science Initiative and our Emory College Center for Science Education. She is  the oldest of 11 kids.  She is married to Fred Marsteller, who is a consultant in Biostatistics and Research Design.  Her son Sean was the founding Director of LearnLink.  He and his wife now live in Canada.

Rachel M. Pigg

Rachel M. Pigg

University of Louisville

Merrie Renee Richardson

Merrie Renee Richardson

Southcentral Kentucky Community & Technical College

I am an Assistant Professor at Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College in Bowling Green, KY. I primarily teach non-majors Introductory Biology and lab courses, as well as Intro. to Conservation Biology and the ecology, evolution, and organismal biology course for majors. I graduated from Western Kentucky University in 2014 with a Master's in Biology. My thesis research was conducted in South Africa on the subject of human/wildlife conflict. Specifically, I tested the efficacy of motion-activated "scarecrow" devices on crop-raiding mammals. Between my undergraduate work at Oregon State University in Fisheries and Wildlife Science and my graduate degree, I worked as a seasonal wildlife technician for the Bureau of Land Management in central Oregon and eastern Montana. In my free time, I enjoy hiking, shed antler hunting, wildlife photography, and gardening.
Sheela Vemu

Sheela Vemu

Waubonsee Community College

My teaching pedagogy broadened when I completed the Teaching for Understanding certificate from Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2012. My pedagogical approach to teaching in a community college and 4-year university involves using case studies and quantitative data to help students critically evaluate biological concepts. I received my Ph.D. from Chicago Medical School in Pharmacology and Molecular Biology with expertise in the area of transcriptional factor regulation in yeast cells and immunofluorescence in rat brain tissue.

I am a CC-Bio INSITES community college biology scholar. This is a network to support inquiry into teaching and education scholarship (  ( fellow and an active participant in Bio QUEST (, CCURI ( annual workshops.

Promoting Student Success Using Supplemental InstructionNational Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD)-Innovation Abstracts, Volume XLI, No. 39 | October 17, 2019 

Few of my case studies are as follows:

a) Summer time - ice cream time: Lactase Persistence in Humans is being published at National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo (June 2016),

b)Bioengineering a Heart -- Bioengineering a Heart. HAPS Educator 21 (Suppl.2): 15-19. doi: doi: 10.21692/haps.2017.0341 (November 2017).  

c) Vemu, S. (2019). Adapted Value of Mistakes. Biology Students Math Attitudes and Anxiety Program (BIOMAAP): a QUBES Faculty Mentoring Network, QUBES Educational Resources. doi:10.25334/Q4DT8C

d) Histology Personal Trainer: Identifying Tissue Types Using Critical Thinking and Metacognition Prompts

2019 Aug 30;20(2):20.2.44.  doi: 10.1128/jmbe.v20i2.1791

e) Feel the Burn -- Biochemical Testing and the Integumentary System -

Few of my workshop presentations are as follows:

a) Promoting success in First year students through multicultural engagement at Midwest First Year Conference

b) Metacognition workshop based on the poster presentation at NIU for Minorities Promise scholars. Promoting Success with Critical Thinking and Metacognition in the Science Classroom for First-Year Students Utilizing Supplemental Instruction  

c) OLI conference with Julia Spears and CTP fellows at NIU 

d) Talk on Microbes, Borneo mud and Antibiotic Resistance for Center of Southeast Asia studies. 

e) Workshop on Leveraging various opportunities for innovation and network building in the scholarship of community college teaching at 2018 Bio-Link Summer Fellows Forum, University of Berkeley, Clark-Kerr Campus, CA.

f) Assessing Global Awareness in Associate Level Microbiology: Adapting Case Studies and the AAC&U VALUE Rubrics To Examine the Global Challenges of Mosquito Borne Disease". (Intersection: A Journal at the Intersection of Assessment and Learning in press


Identifying Differences in Learning Strategies by Demographics and Course Grade in a Community College Context Journal of College Science Teaching—September/October 2020 (Volume 50, Issue 1)

I am also engaged in Faculty Mentoring Networks (FMN) 2016-2017 that includes face to face workshop experience at Annual Bio QUEST conference with a supportive long term community interaction on the QUBES site. dsl/prj_db_223_8e0c85da2f67271a1f934686266a34efc4b9ee31/? V=4  

"Its only skin deep!" is a working group branching from the 2016 National Academies Special Topics Summer Institute on Quantitative Biology. This group is working specifically on the following levels of problem solving: a) Correlation of skin pigmentation with latitude and Vitamin D deficiencies. b) Physiology and biochemistry of melanin synthesis and trafficking c) Regulatory genes involved in process of melanin expression d) Vitamin D deficiency, skin pigmentation related to genotypes.

 I am interested in ethno pharmacology as it relates to my Ph.D. work from Chicago Medical School (role of antibiotics in the regulation of transcription in yeast/cancer cell prototype). While teaching a graduate course in Pharmacology (Biology department at NIU as an adjunct), we piloted Pharmacology- active learning exercises with Dr.Lisa Freeman (Pharmacologist when I met her in 2011). I have some interest in adding some chapters on ethno pharmacology to the book as well.

I have deep interest in the exchange of information and understandings about people's use of plants, fungi, animals, microorganisms and minerals and their biological and pharmacological effects based on the principles established through international conventions.

Many of our valuable drugs of today (e.g., atropine, ephedrine, tubocurarine, digoxin, reserpine) came into use through the study of indigenous remedies. During my postdoctoral research, we continued to use plant-derived drugs (e.g., morphine, taxol, physostigmine, quinidine, emetine, vancomycin) as prototypes to develop more effective and less toxic medicinals.


Suann Yang

Suann Yang

State University of New York College at Geneseo

I'm a community ecologist with a focus on plant-animal interactions. Being trained as a community ecologist, my scholarly interests with respect to student learning include how the context of interactions among students influences their attitudes toward their learning experiences. Some of my current projects include improving student retention with peer-led workshops, teaching quantitative skills while reducing math anxiety, and developing open educational resources for multidisciplinary sustainability education.