Targeted Infusion Project: Engaging Undergraduates in STEM Using Drosophila Behavioural Genettics (DaBUGS)
North Carolina Central University (NCCU) is a major, public HBCU in the Research Triangle Park (RTP) region of North Carolina. NCCU is equipped with an active fly lab in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences department and has a burgeoning 3+2 engineering program with North Carolina State University (NCSU). Furthermore, NCCU is the only HBCU in NC with a Fabrication Laboratory (FabLab) to allow students to create their designs.
The overall goal of the project is to utilize these resources to infuse engineering design within biology courses and biology into engineering design courses within the departments of Biological and Biomedical Sciences and Mathematics and Physics at NCCU. The project at NCCU seeks to integrate elements of engineering and model organism biology into courses of the opposite discipline using Drosophila as the model organism.
The project will be composed of two key components. The first component will develop interdisciplinary problem-based learning modules to engage students in a collaborative exploratory learning process. The learning modules will be incorporated into the teaching labs of two courses of both the 3+2 engineering program (freshman design project and engineering design) and biology gatekeeper courses (a freshman general biology course and a junior-level genetics course).
The proposed learning modules will present unique real-world problem scenarios that require students to demonstrate various levels of subject matter mastery (creating, evaluating, analyzing, applying, understanding, and remembering). The second component will design and implement a cross-disciplinary Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) wherein both physics and biology sophomore students engage in an interdisciplinary research experience. The CURE course will allow biology students to assay various human-like behaviors with apparatuses designed and created by undergraduate students.