Bio Sci 2A on the Emerald Isle
Michele Igo (UC Davis)
Dr. Michele Igo earned her B.S. in Biology from Purdue University and her Ph.D. in Biology from Harvard University. She did her post-doctoral studies at Princeton University studying how cells sense and respond to changes in their environment. After arriving at the University of California, Dr. Igo continued to study this fundamental biological question and became interested in how to apply the results from her laboratory’s basic research to problems faced by the California agricultural community.
The current focus of Dr. Igo’s research program is the bacterium Xylella fastidiosa, the causative agent of numerous plant diseases relevant to the California agricultural economy. One of the most devastating diseases is Pierce’s Disease of grapevines. Specifically, her laboratory has identified proteins important for grapevine colonization and is currently working on strategies to disrupt their function as a potential treatment for Pierce’s Disease. Dr. Igo has served as the Vice Chair of Instruction for the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics since 2001. She has been heavily involved in curriculum development and has taught most of the courses offered by her department.
In Fall 2011, Dr. Igo joined a working group examining the curriculum in the Introductory Biology (BIS2) series and became one of the permanent BIS2A instructors in 2013. The initial focus of this group was to determine how to incorporate the recommendations made by the National Academy of Sciences and the American Association of Medical Colleges into the first course in the series, BIS2A. BIS2A covers the biochemical and molecular processes essential for life and the influence of living things on the chemistry of the Earth. After a careful examination of the class, the working group decided to use active learning techniques in both the discussion sections and in the lecture. Dr. Igo has piloted many of the techniques in her lecture on a small scale and introduced them into two large BIS2A sections (500 students each) in the Spring and Fall quarters 2016. She is very excited about working with the team of instructors to adapt these techniques to the small group of students taking BIS2A in Ireland.
Kellie Dean (University College Cork)
Teaching at University College Cork, Ireland, in the School of Biochemistry and Cell Biology since 2005, Kellie Dean was born and raised in western Pennsylvania. She completed her BS in Chemistry, with a minor in Biology, at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, graduating summa cum laude. Following that, she earned a PhD in Biochemistry and Biophysics at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and next moved to Germany as a post-doctoral fellow at the Zentrum für Molekulare Biologie at Universität Heidelberg. Kellie then completed a five-year post-doctoral position at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Duke University, Durham, North Carolina. Throughout her entire scientific career her research interest has been focused on understanding RNA-protein interactions. In 2005, she and her Irish husband moved to Cork, Ireland, and two days after arriving in Ireland, she began teaching biochemistry at University College Cork. Over the past 11 years, Kellie has taught introductory biochemistry to first-year dental students and has contributed to first-year teaching of medical and pharmacy students during that time as well. Since 2008, she has been involved with program coordination, development and postgraduate teaching through the PhD Scholars Programme in Cancer Biology, the MSc in Molecular Cell Biology with Bioinnovation, and most recently the MRes in Biochemistry and Cell Biology. Kellie has consistently received outstanding student evaluations for her interactive approach to teaching and help offered to students. As an American living in Ireland, she will offer a unique perspective to her summer abroad BIS 2A students experiencing Ireland for the first time.
A Message to Students and Parents
BIS2A is the first course in the introductory biology curriculum that covers the biochemical and molecular processes essential for life and the influence of living things on the chemistry of the Earth. Mastery the concepts covered in this course is essential for doing well in the upper biology curriculum. Students taking BIS2A in Ireland will have the advantage of taking this class with a very small group of students and will receive the type of personal attention that is not possible in the big lecture format offered on the UC Davis campus. In addition, the students will be able to complete a course required for many majors in a wonderful setting like Ireland. I am looking forward to participating in this unique experience and to interacting with the students who choose to enroll in this study abroad program.