“The most advanced and exciting work in many academic areas is now frequently done at the intersection between two classic disciplines”

Teaching Matters, Wesleyan University



One way of defining a liberal arts education is the integration of component academic pieces into a coherent view of the world, accomplished via multi-disciplinary perspective. With this vision in mind, I have developed several cross-disciplinary course models that explore intersections between traditionally disparate fields. For example, my Genomics courses (MB&B 210, MB&B 331) discuss the emerging fields of bioinformatics (the interface between genetics and computer science), phylogenetics (the interface between molecular biology and evolutionary biology), and systems biology (an intersection of numerous fields, including molecular genetics, biochemistry, and mathematics). My general education courses (MB&B 202, MB&B 203) explore intersections between science and art (film and dance, respectively, both of which can function as allegory to articulate our reaction to scientific advancement), as well as science and society (ethical, political, and cultural implications of modern genetics and genomics). I have also begun planning an additional cross-disciplinary course model, “Molecules to Ecosystems”, that will focus on the structure and behavior of biological systems. In this post-genome era, biological systems are beginning to be modeled in consideration of both genes and environment, and this course will develop inter-disciplinary concepts concerned with the behavior of molecular networks within cells, cellular networks within organisms, and organismal networks within ecosystems.


Beyond the classroom, I have enjoyed building collaborations across disciplines through educational outreach activities and as an important theme within my lab.  Examples of the former include a “Contact” symposium – a panel discussion following screening of the film “Contact” led by faculty in biology, astronomy, and religion studies about the possibility and implications of discovering life elsewhere in the universe – and the “Science & Dance” project – developing educational modules in collaboration with the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange in which artists and scientists together explore the promise and threats of the Human Genome Project. In the lab, student research projects ( are collaborative in nature and broad in scope, spanning numerous fields and technical approaches, including molecular genetics, cellular neuroscience, evolutionary theory, and computational biology. A tangible outcome of student exposure to multiple disciplines in a single scientific context is a developing appreciation of how different ways of thinking about a problem can lead to novel ideas and unexpected insights.


Undergraduate Courses

Principles of Biology, MB&B 181

Honors Introduction to Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics, MB&B 195

Molecular Biology, MB&B 208

Research Frontiers, MB&B 209

Genetics and Genomics, MB&B 210

Advanced Genomics, MB&B 331

Gene Regulation, MB&B 333

Research Tutorial, MB&B 422


Graduate Courses

Advanced Genomics, MB&B 531

Gene Regulation, MB&B 533

Molecular Biology Journal Club, MB&B 586

Research Tutorial, MB&B 591


General Education

Science & Film, MB&B 202

Copernicus, Darwin, and the Human Genome Project, MB&B 203