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WIP: Incorporating Interactive Modules Related to Cell Culture and Plasmid Design into Introduction to Biomedical Engineering

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


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Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Intro to Biomedical Engineering and Vertically Integrated Curriculum (Works in Progress) - June 23rd

Tagged Division

Biomedical Engineering

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Rosalyn Delia Abbott Carnegie Mellon University Orcid 16x16

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Rosalyn Abbott is an Assistant Professor in Biomedical Engineering with a courtesy appointment in Materials Science and Engineering. Professor Abbott received her B.S. and M.S. degrees in Biomedical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and her Ph.D. degree in Bioengineering from the University of Vermont. She was subsequently a postdoctoral fellow in the Biomedical Engineering Department at Tufts University working under the supervision of Professor David Kaplan, where she developed adipose tissue engineered models. Her lab at CMU focuses on using tissue engineering to study metabolic dysregulation during the complex transition of obesity to insulin resistant type II diabetes.

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Conrad M. Zapanta Carnegie Mellon University Orcid 16x16

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Conrad M. Zapanta is the Associate Department Head of Education and a Teaching Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA. Dr. Zapanta received his Ph.D. in Bioengineering from the Pennsylvania State University in University Park, PA, and his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering (with an option in Biomedical Engineering) from Carnegie Mellon University. Dr. Zapanta has served as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Engineering at Hope College in Holland, MI, an Adjunct Professor of Engineering at Austin Community College in Austin, TX, and an Assistant Professor of Surgery and Bioengineering at The Pennsylvania State University in Hershey, PA. He also worked for CarboMedics Inc. in Austin, TX, in the research and development of prosthetic heart valves.

Dr. Zapanta’s primary teaching responsibilities are Biomedical Engineering Laboratory and Design. Additional teaching interests include medical device design education and professional issues in biomedical engineering. Dr. Zapanta’s research interests are in developing medical devices to treat cardiovascular disease, focusing on the areas of cardiac assist devices and prosthetic heart valves.

Dr. Zapanta is an active member in the American Society for Artificial Internal Organs, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the American Society for Engineering Education, and the Biomedical Engineering Society. He is a reviewer for several biomedical engineering journals. Dr. Zapanta also serves as a reviewer for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Cardiovascular Sciences Small Business Special Emphasis Panel and as an ABET Program Evaluator (PEV) for Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering programs.

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Michael Cameron Melville Carnegie Mellon University

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Michael Melville works as a Data Science Research Associate at Carnegie Mellon University's Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence and Educational Innovation, where he consults with faculty, graduate students, and post-docs to design, implement, and assess research projects that relate to teaching and learning in their classrooms. He also contributes to a variety of program-level assessment projects on the CMU campus. Mike's training includes an M.A. and Ph.D. in Social Psychology from the University of New Hampshire, as well as an M.Ed. in sport and performance psychology from Springfield College. His interests include the science of learning, research methodology, and data analysis. Prior to joining the Eberly Center in 2017, Mike worked as the Teaching and Learning Research Coordinator at the Center for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching and Learning at the University of New Hampshire.

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Steven Moore Carnegie Mellon University

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Introduction: The goal of this project was to determine if active learning would improve comprehension of 2 key concepts in “Introduction to Biomedical Engineering (BME)” class. The freshman-level core undergraduate course provides a broad overview of the field of BME and is intended to be taken first in the BME curriculum. The field of genetic engineering is an emerging and exciting area of BME research. The basis of this field is the design of recombinant DNA through plasmids. Cell culture and plasmid design are included as exciting areas of cellular and molecular biotechnology in the Intro to BME class, however feedback from the students indicated that learning about these concepts in a lecture format was confusing and too theoretical in prior iterations of the class. Therefore, the main objective of this work-in-progress project was to improve comprehension of these 2 key BME techniques (cell culture and plasmid design). To do this, modules were added to increase the interaction with the material, providing an opportunity for students to visualize the process. These modules were designed to provide scaffolding for when students transfect cells and perform cell culture experiments in BME lab (a sophomore level class they take if they chose BME as a major). In prior iterations of this class, only a lecture covered this material. For this iteration the same lecture was given, followed by the interactive modules (all in the same 2 hour class).

Learning objectives: • Identify and summarize key components required to perform cell culture experiments. • Describe the functions of various parts of a plasmid. • Describe the key steps in protein production using recombinant DNA technology.

Results: Prior to the cell culture game the assessment average was 62% (SD 15.2, n=49 students). After the game, the post-demo assessment improved significantly (p<0.05, paired t test) to 88 % (SD 8.5, n=49 students). For the plasmid google form, the pre-demo assessment average was 73% (SD 14.4, n=47 students) and improved significantly (p<0.05, paired t test) to 84% (SD 13.2, n=47) on the post-demo assessment.

Conclusions and future directions: Active learning improved learning comprehension of key concepts related to cell culture and plasmid design. Ongoing work is exploring more interactive demos for biomechanics, biomaterials, and image/signal processing.

Abbott, R. D., & Zapanta, C. M., & Melville, M. C., & Moore, S. (2020, June), WIP: Incorporating Interactive Modules Related to Cell Culture and Plasmid Design into Introduction to Biomedical Engineering Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35546

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