BIMS

Tag: molecular biology

Logistics

by gwilson on Apr.13, 2010, under A Day in the Life...

d-dayIt’s one thing to plan new spaces, but another thing to transition from where you are to where you will be.  Countless hours have gone into designing spaces, getting quotes on equipment, and thinking through efficient and effective use of space.  Now that such things are largely under control and winding down, attention is shifting toward moving out of the spaces so the work can begin.

There is a very narrow window of time during which everything has to be done.  We end classes the first week of May and the fall semester starts mid-August.  So anything we can do to hasten the start of construction is important.  We are already in the process of ordering cabinetry and equipment.  May should be the time for demolition and asbestos abatement.  Planning is underway for storage of equipment and supplies from the affected spaces during the process.  Our miniaturized version of D-Day planning is going well.

To help provide as much time as possible for construction, we have been given the green light to end our lab courses early.  My microbiology course will finish a week or so early, and is actually done in the lab.  We will finish the semester using VirtualUnknown(TM) Microbiology to accomplish much of the same work in simulation that we would normally do in the wetlab.  Dr. Benoit is similarly finding ways to complete his courses’ use of the Micro lab ahead of schedule.  Edvotek kits for his immunology course have been a lifesaver!  Dr. D’s work in the genetics/molecular lab will likewise wind down in the next couple of weeks, and her headstart on packing nonessentials is well underway.

trapezeLike trapeze artists using perfect timing to leave one swing in order to catch the other, we are doing all we can to help the construction folks move in and complete their work easily and quickly.  Then, we hope to be able to complete the maneuver by moving back in during August.

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Program Tweaks

by gwilson on Apr.06, 2010, under Program

bimsflyergraphicThis coming fall there will be a few modest changes to the BIMS program.  Part of our ongoing assessment is focused on how our students are doing; the remainder is focused on how our courses and program structure can be improved.  Based on feedback received, we are making these changes:

1.  We are changing BIOL 4320 Molecular Cell Biology to be BIMS 4320 Molecular Cell Biology.  It made no sense to us to have a course listed under BIOL when Biology majors are not required to take the course and it cannot count for credit toward their major, when that same course is a required BIMS program course.

2.  We are modifying the way advanced electives are to be categorized through the addition of two new course numbers:  BIMS 4X91 Advanced Topics in Microbiology and Public Health, and BIMS 4X92 Advanced Topics in Genetics and Molecular Biology.    Since  program inception last year, we have allowed a wide variety of courses to satisfy the 9 hrs of upper level BIMS program electives – courses from Biology, Biochemistry, Psychology, Pathophysiology from the nursing program, and Kinesiology.  We believe more focus is needed to help strengthen the core of BIMS-centric courses, and so these two new course designations will be our first step in doing this. 

3.  We are dropping BIOL 4310 Immunology.  This course will still be offered annually, but will now be a course under BIMS 4391 Advanced Topics in Microbiology and Public Health:  Immunology (probably to be referred to as Advanced Topics:  Immunology).  Dr. D’s Cancer Biology will be offered as a 4392 Advanced Topics:  Cancer Biology.  So, though it would seem we are losing a very important course (Immunology), the fact is it still will be offered but under a new number.

4.  We are re-designating the 3-hour requirement for Immunology as a 3-hour requirement for any BIMS 4X91 OR BIMS 4X92 offering, opening the program to be tailored more toward the interests and needs of our students.

With these simple changes, we believe we have made a small but important step in improving our program.

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Public Health

by gwilson on Feb.28, 2010, under A Day in the Life...

Gram negative rodsThe 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!

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