1887

Inquiry-Based Learning: Inflammation as a Model to Teach Molecular Techniques for Assessing Gene Expression

    Authors: Kathryn E. Gunn1,*, Christine Seitz McCauslin1, Jennifer Staiger1, Dana M. Pirone1
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    Affiliations: 1: Science Department, Mount St. Mary’s University, Emmitsburg, MD 21727
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Published 02 December 2013
    • Supplemental materials available at http://jmbe.asm.org
    • *Corresponding author. Mailing address: Mount St. Mary’s University, Science Department, 16300 Old Emmitsburg Road, Emmitsburg, MD 21727. Phone: 301-447-5439. Fax: 301-447-5021. E-mail: dye@msmary.edu.
    • ©2013 Author(s). Published by the American Society for Microbiology.
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2013 vol. 14 no. 2 189-196. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v14i2.542
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    Abstract:

    This laboratory module simulates the process used by working scientists to ask and answer a question of biological interest. Instructors facilitate acquisition of knowledge using a comprehensive, inquiry-based approach in which students learn theory, hypothesis development, experimental design, and data interpretation and presentation. Using inflammation in macrophages as a model system, students perform a series of molecular biology techniques to address the biological question: “Does stimulus ‘X’ induce inflammation?” To ask this question, macrophage cells are treated with putative inflammatory mediators and then assayed for evidence of inflammatory response. Students become familiar with their assigned mediator and the relationship between their mediator and inflammation by conducting literature searches, then using this information to generate hypotheses which address the effect of their mediator on induction of inflammation. The cellular and molecular approaches used to test their hypotheses include transfection and luciferase reporter assay, immunoblot, fluorescence microscopy, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and quantitative PCR. Quantitative and qualitative reasoning skills are developed through data analysis and demonstrated by successful completion of post-lab worksheets and the generation and oral presentation of a scientific poster. Learning objective assessment relies on four instruments: pre-lab quizzes, post-lab worksheets, poster presentation, and posttest. Within three cohorts (n = 85) more than 95% of our students successfully achieved the learning objectives.

Key Concept Ranking

Molecular Techniques
0.5997102
Fluorescence Microscopy
0.5574822
Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
0.5236079
Western Blotting
0.38452455
0.5997102

References & Citations

1. Bell RL, Smetana L, Binns I2005Simplifying inquiry instruction: assessing the inquiry level of classroom activitiesSci Teach723033
2. Bransford JD, Brown AL, Cocking R2000How people learn: brain, mind, experience, and schoolThe National Academies PressWashington DC
3. Collins A, Brown JS, Newman S1989Cognitive apprenticeship: teaching the craft of reading, writing, and mathematics Resnick LKnowing, learning, and instruction: essays in honor of Robert GlaserErlbaumHillsdale, NJ
4. Hmelo-Silver CE, Barrows HS2006Goals and strategies of a problem-based learning facilitatorInterdisc J Problem-Based Learn12139
5. Jones PM, Dorneich MC1997Supporting apprenticeship learning of NMR spectroscopy in a collaborative, web-based learning environmentTechnical Report HCCPS 97-01University of IllinoisChicago, IL
6. Kolikant Y, Gatchell D, Hirsch P, Linsenmeier R2006A cognitive-apprenticeship-inspired instructional approach for teaching and scientific writing and readingJ Coll Sci Teach362025
7. Stewart KK, Lagowski JJ2003Cognitive apprenticeship theory and graduate chemistry educationJ Chem Educ801362136610.1021/ed080p1362 http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ed080p1362
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/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v14i2.542
2013-12-02
2017-03-30

Abstract:

This laboratory module simulates the process used by working scientists to ask and answer a question of biological interest. Instructors facilitate acquisition of knowledge using a comprehensive, inquiry-based approach in which students learn theory, hypothesis development, experimental design, and data interpretation and presentation. Using inflammation in macrophages as a model system, students perform a series of molecular biology techniques to address the biological question: “Does stimulus ‘X’ induce inflammation?” To ask this question, macrophage cells are treated with putative inflammatory mediators and then assayed for evidence of inflammatory response. Students become familiar with their assigned mediator and the relationship between their mediator and inflammation by conducting literature searches, then using this information to generate hypotheses which address the effect of their mediator on induction of inflammation. The cellular and molecular approaches used to test their hypotheses include transfection and luciferase reporter assay, immunoblot, fluorescence microscopy, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and quantitative PCR. Quantitative and qualitative reasoning skills are developed through data analysis and demonstrated by successful completion of post-lab worksheets and the generation and oral presentation of a scientific poster. Learning objective assessment relies on four instruments: pre-lab quizzes, post-lab worksheets, poster presentation, and posttest. Within three cohorts (n = 85) more than 95% of our students successfully achieved the learning objectives.

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Figures

Image of FIGURE 1.

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FIGURE 1.

Experimental daily work chart for the MASE (Mount Academy for Scientific Excellence) program. Experiments are color-coded to show experimental progression across multiple days. Red boxes: luciferase assay; orange boxes: ELISA; green boxes: western blot; blue box: qPCR; purple boxes: fluorescence microscopy. White boxes show time reserved for data analysis, work on the poster, and the poster presentation.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2013 vol. 14 no. 2 189-196. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v14i2.542
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Image of FIGURE 2.

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FIGURE 2.

Student-generated data: effect of LPS on NFκB promoter activity, by luciferase reporter assay.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2013 vol. 14 no. 2 189-196. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v14i2.542
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Image of FIGURE 3.

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FIGURE 3.

Student-generated data: effect of LPS on TNFα secretion, by ELISA. n = 3, error bars represent standard deviation.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2013 vol. 14 no. 2 189-196. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v14i2.542
Download as Powerpoint
Image of FIGURE 4.

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FIGURE 4.

Student-generated data: effect of LPS on mRNA expression of iNOS, NFκB, and TNFα, using qPCR. Error bars indicate standard deviation; n = 3.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2013 vol. 14 no. 2 189-196. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v14i2.542
Download as Powerpoint
Image of FIGURE 5.

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FIGURE 5.

Student evaluation of the module. Bars represent the mean and standard error of the mean, n = 21. (1 – unsatisfactory, 2 – poor, 3 – satisfactory, 4 – very good, 5 – excellent). For level of course (1 – too easy, 3 – just right, 5 – too hard).

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2013 vol. 14 no. 2 189-196. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v14i2.542
Download as Powerpoint

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