News + Events

Cell Biology Course Introduces FHU Undergraduates to Cancer Research

Henderson, Tenn. - Sep 01, 2015

Since the spring of 2014, the approach to teaching introductory cell biology at Freed-Hardeman University has incorporated activities exposing students to the complexities of cancer research.

Drs. Caleb Kersey and Rachel Stevens Salmon have collaborated in teaching the course for the past three semesters. Implementation of the teaching method has been funded by a Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities  Post-Institute Implementation Award. The two authored a poster showing the results of their research and Kersey presented the poster this summer at the SENCER Summer Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Student response to the course has been overwhelmingly positive, according to Salmon and Kersey. Student content knowledge improved and students were able to contextualize their knowledge, using cancer biology and research as a theme.

In addition to learning basic cell biology, students presented summaries of primary literature and conducted steps of an experiment to measure DNA damage using chemotherapeutic drugs. In addition, they visited St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to organize a fundraiser, and to make a public service announcement for St. Jude during the semester.

Students reported encouraging gains in understanding of cancer biology and cancer research via the students’ assessment of their learning gains, Salmon and Kersey said. The instructors plan to continue implementing activities to expose students to cancer research to allow them to discover opportunities to help fight cancer.