Elliott Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Kristian M. Hargadon ’01 recently published an article highlighting a course-based research approach to improve student understanding of cancer genetics. The article, published in the Journal of Cancer Education, describes a course-based undergraduate research experience (CURE) developed by Dr. Hargadon for use in his Biology 201 – Genetics and Cell Biology course and specifically highlights the utility of this approach for improving undergraduate student understanding of 1) the hallmark properties of cancer progression and 2) the genetic aberrations that drive these hallmark properties of cancer cells. This CURE, which involves multi-week student analyses of patient tumor-derived DNA- and RNA-sequencing datasets from The Cancer Genome Atlas, utilizes a bioinformatics approach for educating students about both genomic and transcriptomic anomalies that contribute to altered behavior in tumor versus normal cells.
Together with a hands-on experimental CURE involving gene expression analyses in murine melanoma cell lines that was previously published by Dr. Hargadon in the journal Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education in 2016, this new CURE will be incorporated into an Experiential Learning course offering for Hampden-Sydney College’s COMPASS Program in the Fall 2021 semester.
Dr. Hargadon’s Journal of Cancer Education article is available at: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13187-021-01962-y