I am a dedicated teacher and derive much joy from introducing students to the elegant solutions nature has found to deal with the challenges of the physical world – and the often equally elegant experiments that researchers have devised to investigate these processes. Biology is of inherent interest to many students, and the major aims of my teaching are to (1) foster this curiosity, (2) train critical data analysis, and (3) encourage independent creativity as they consider and solve scientific problems.
Teaching. My teaching at NYU has primarily focused on educating upper-level undergraduate and graduate students in molecular biology and biochemistry. My major curricular development was to design Protein Biochemistry (BIOL-GA 1045), which I teach as sole instructor and which closed a major gap in the core teaching portfolio of the Department of Biology. The course also addresses a profound need for additional biochemistry enrollment possibilities for undergraduate students on the pre-medical track and currently has 75% undergraduate enrollment despite being a graduate course. In addition, I have built on my background in cell division and genome integrity research to provide guest lectures on these areas of science for multiple courses at the Washington Square campus and at the NYU Langone Medical Center. In my second year at NYU, I also requested to become a member of the departmental Curriculum Planning Committee and have helped shape the Biology undergraduate and graduate curriculum since.
Mentoring. I have also been very active in mentoring undergraduate students in independent research. The overall aim of my undergraduate mentoring is to excite the students about scientific research, and to provide students interested in pursuing a career in science with opportunities to gain the necessary first-hand research experience. I have hosted and mentored a total of 25 undergraduates (19 of them NYU students) who typically pursue their own research projects in the context of a larger project of a graduate student or postdoc. Many of my students have gone on to pursue careers in biomedicine and a large number have successfully applied for DURF grants. Four students have written (or are in the process of writing) Honors theses and several have co-authored publications from the lab.
Outreach. I believe that maximizing the diversity in the scientific workforce is one of the major unmet challenges for today’s scientific endeavor. To help improve this situation, I have been involved in multiple outreach efforts to bring science to underprivileged undergraduate and high school students. These efforts include participation in the NYU ARISE program, through which we have so far hosted 8 high-school students, and the NYU Biology Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP), which provides research opportunities for undergraduate students from smaller and underserved colleges. In addition to participating in this program since its inception, I have also served as SURP co-organizer for the past two years.