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Design of a Lyme Disease Vaccine as an Active Learning Approach in a Novel Interdisciplinary Graduate-Level Course.


ABSTRACT: A biomedical sciences graduate program needed an introductory class that would develop skills for students interested in a wide variety of disciplines, such as microbiology or cancer biology, and a diverse array of biomedical careers. Faculty created a year-long student-centered course, Scientific Discovery, to serve this need. The course was divided into four modules with progressive skill outcomes. Each module had a focus related to each of the major research areas of the collective faculty: molecular biology, biochemistry, neuroscience, and infectious disease. First-year graduate students enter the program with relevant college-level biology and chemistry coursework but not in-depth content knowledge of any of the focus areas. Each module features a biomedical problem for the students to gain specific content knowledge while developing skills outcomes, such as the ability to conduct scholarly inquiry. In 2015, the theme of the infectious disease module was to create an effective human vaccine to prevent Lyme disease. The module required students to learn fundamental concepts of microbiology and immunology and then apply that knowledge to design their own Lyme disease vaccine. The class culminated with students communicating their creative designs in the form of a "white paper" and a pitch to "potential investors." By the end of the module, students had developed fundamental knowledge, applied that knowledge with great creativity, and met the skills learning outcomes, as evidenced by their ability to conduct scholarly inquiry and apply knowledge gained during this module to a novel problem, as part of their final exam.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC5976042 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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