The Molecular Sciences Made Personal

About this webinar

Recorded On: Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

The premedical competencies, as outlined in a recent American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC)-HHMI report on Scientific Foundation for Future Physicians, call for stronger connections between course content and the underlying principles in health and medicine. To meet this need, I am developing chemistry courses at the University of Illinois for pre-health professionals that teach concepts and content in a personally meaningful way, thereby stimulating deep student interest and promoting curiosity-driven learning. Scientific evidence shows that people who feel curious devote more attention to an activity, process information more critically, remember information more effectively and persist on task until goals are met.

Learning is made personally meaningful by enabling the students, if they so choose, to investigate their own molecular make-up; that is, helping them understand how their own phenotype relates to their own personal genetic data. Acquiring personal genetic data is affordable and is becoming an important part of the healthcare industry. For this reason, there is a growing need to educate prospective healthcare professionals in the interpretation of genetic data and the role of genotype-phenotype association in molecular etiology of human conditions.

After a brief introduction on the philosophy of this approach, especially as it applies to chemical education, this webcast will present examples of how genetic data acquired from direct-to-consumer services is used in the classroom. The webcast will demonstrate the conversion of data into the vcf file for visualization with GenomeBrowse and data mining with VarSeq. I will then illustrate with specific examples of how we are integrating this information in undergraduate chemical instruction.

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