Masters of Science in Teaching

Teachers Performing Research

The Center participated in a Master of Science in Teaching program which is offered through a partnership between The Jackson Laboratory and the University of Maine. This program offers science and math teachers and student teachers the opportunity to join an active research team and conduct independent, mentored research at the cutting edge of science. The teachers gain a deep understanding of the culture of science and how researchers look at and solve complex problems day to day. The excitement of discovery goes both ways. The teachers bring fresh insight and emotion to the research team, and they take back a contagious enthusiasm to their classrooms.

Previous program participants who conducted research in the Center include:

Deborah McGann
McGann is an instructor for Chemistry at the Maine School of Science and Mathematics in Limestone, Maine. McGann collaborated with the Center on its Independent Studies in Computational Biology course for a year and a half before joining the Center’s Churchill lab as an intern. Her study was titled “Integrating Statistics and Web-Based Genetic Resources to Identify Genes Contributing to the Diabesity Phenotype” in which she explored the connection between obesity and diabetes, and used statistical methods to identify a list of potential gene candidates on chromosome 15 of the mouse that are linked to these phenotypes. Her work explored several mouse crosses and applied a wide range of techniques that included comparative genomics, genome wide association studies, gene ontologies, mRNA gene expression, tissue expression, gene enrichment, haplotypes, single nucleotide polymorphisms within gene analysis, and haplotype association mapping. McGann adapted tools that were developed at the Center and integrated them into a script file that the students in the Independent Studies course could use for their own data. McGann presented this work at the meeting of the National Centers for Systems Biology in Princeton, N.J. in July of 2008. McGann continues to participate in the Center’s Independent Studies course.

James A. Nadeau
Nadeau’s work focused on the pedagogical aspects of the Independent Studies in Computational Biology high school course that the Center was providing for the Maine School of Science and Mathematics. How can we evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the program? What modifications should be made to improve the program? How can we organize the program content to make it available easily to faculty and student? How can we process the materials developed for the course so that other teachers can use it easily in their classrooms? Discussions with Nadeau provided the Center with a teacher’s insight into the program and ultimately lead to the adoption of the course management system (Moodle) that the Center currently uses for all course material. Suggestions made during his internship also provided the Center with a plan of attack for generating class modules that would be easily used by other instructors.