Department of Cell Biology


Medical Education

I have taught extensively in the MD curriculum at Harvard Medical School for the past 20 years. I helped design the Pathways curriculum, co-chairing the subcommittee overseeing curriculum content and organization. You can find a description of the Pathways curriculum in this publication. An exciting innovation of the Pathways curriculum is that teaching of science continues after the clinical clerkships, through one-month Advanced Integrated Science Courses. These courses allow students to explore specific areas of science in depth, focusing on current questions in the field and their application to medicine. The Advanced Integrated Science courses are described in this publication

I direct two courses in the Pathways Curriculum. The first is Foundations, a 13-week course for first-year medical students that introduces students to the basic sciences relevant to medicine. This interleaved, multidisciplinary course uses an interactive format called case-based collaborative learning. The course is built on principles of the science of learning such as spaced repetition, recall practice, and interleaving, with an emphasis on application and problem solving. Within Foundations, I oversee teaching of cell biology, biochemistry, pharmacology and cancer biology. 

I also co-direct an Advanced Integrated Science course on Cancer Biology, in partnership with Dr. Harold Burstein from Dana-Farber Cancer Insitute. This month-long course explores current questions in cancer research and treatment. Students spend two mornings per week in outpatient cancer clinics, and are asked to keep a log of questions that arise during their patient encounters, related to the biology and treatment of cancer. 


Graduate Education

With the support of the Department of Cell Biology, I hired and mentored the first post-doctoral fellow whose work focused on education in both the medical school and graduate school teaching of Cell Biology. This successful experiment provided the impetus for launching the Curriculum Fellows Program at Harvard Medical School (see here for more details on the history of the program). I have mentored several curriculum fellows over the years who have moved on to successful careers in teaching. 

In the past, I co-directed a course on Experimental Design with David Glass. There is an excellent book available by Dr. Glass on this topic that I highly recommend. I currently give a presentation on stastical considerations in experimental design, and highly recommend this series of short articles from Nature Methods on the topic for students who are interested.