Tag: cell biology
One of the hallmarks of medical education is the concept of “watch, do, teach” – watch a procedure, do the procedure, teach the procedure – as a way to grow knowledge and skill in future doctors. That same approach was used this week as Charlie Troxel from Li-Cor in Nebraska visited the BIMS labs to help McMurry faculty improve their skills with their DNA sequencer. McMurry’s sequencer has been in service since 2008, but changes in personnel and projects necessitated some training upgrades. McMurry faculty used PCR to amplify their target DNA and loaded the sequencer on Wednesday afternoon. Fourteen hours later, the sequencing was done and teacher and students reconvened in the BIMS lab to observe the results. Several software packages allowed the participants to evaluate the confidence of each base sequenced and provided ways to align sequences to test their consistency. Pointers were given on how best to proceed with the plant samples Banks will analyze for Dr. Anna this summer as a part of a project to study genetic drift between specimens of a species collected in Old World and New World ecosystems. The Li-Cor 4300 will get quite a workout between now and the end of the year.
That explains the “Watch” and “Do” activities. The “Teach” component comes this fall as Banks puts the instrument to work teaching her Molecular Cell Biology Lab students how to do sequencing and analysis. Nice.
The vision of the Biomedical Science program at McMurry is to teach biology from the perspective of molecules, cells, and human health. It is often easy to see the emphasis on molecules and cells. We have courses like Genetics, Microbiology, Human Physiology. However, we are never far from a discussion of how these elements of biomedical science influence human health and wellness. To say one does not go without the other would be a fair statement.
I believe our focus on human health really contributes well to understanding the concept of public health. Public health can be seen in a variety of ways. Most obvious would be the emphasis on healing the sick or preventing illness. Our courses focus on these elements as we study how life works, what happens when it doesn’t work well, and how man has contributed to rectifying the problems to restore health. Less obvious, but no less important, is the need for us to consider exercise and wellness and health policy and administration and education when we consider health and wellness of individuals AND communities. When expanded in these ways, such things as promoting active lifestyles, dietary awareness, food safety, veterinary health care, and mental health all contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of what constitutes public health. Limiting ourselves to consideration of DNA and drugs and cells and microbes severely restricts and underestimates the concept of health in all its dimensions.
McMurry’s BIMS program represents one of the keystones for a comprehensive approach to teaching public health and safety on our campus. The Department of Kinesiology’s Exercise Science & Human Performance program is an excellent partner, along with the Department of Psychology’s focus on mental health. Who knows – maybe one day we will borrow from these and other areas of campus to build a bona fide Bachelor’s degree in Public Health!