I challenge students to discover. My teaching focuses on the development of curiosity, critical thinking, and independent learning. My teaching methods focus on active learning and scientific debate. My students learn not only to master scientific concepts but also to clearly communicate scientific concepts to different audiences, including scientific conferences, their peers, and the general public. I see teaching opportunities everywhere, and I engage students in my classrooms, in my laboratory, in my office, at OU research instrumentation facilities, around lunch and dinner tables, and at the Norman Public Library. The goals are to expand students’ horizons, stretch their minds in new ways of thinking, and prepare students for future, self-directed discovery.
What a Wonderful RNA World! Spring 2012
Do you know how many small RNAs regulate cancer gene expression? No one knows yet the full count but this is one of the most exciting areas of cancer research. Did you realize that RNA can be a therapeutic molecule or a drug target? Have you ever taken a Z-Pack? The antibiotic in a Z-pack binds to bacterial ribosomal RNA and thus prevents bacterial protein expression and growth. Can you imagine a drug that could cure viral RNA infections, such as HIV-AIDS, hepatitis, or H1N1? This semester we will be exploring the wonderful world of RNA as a capstone for your chemistry and biochemistry studies at OU. You will use what you have learned in your previous chemistry and biochemistry classes to begin answering some of these questions. You will also learn how to communicate clearly what you have learned to other scientists and to the general public. There is no required text for the course, instead we will read about exciting new RNA research in scientific journals. Most course material will be available on the Desire2Learn (D2L) course website. So you only need to bring your enthusiasm, questions, and imagination to the first day of class.
Topics in Virology: RNA Viruses from Molecular Structure to Pathegenic Disease and Therapeutic Strategies Fall 2011, Fall 2012
Do you remember the last time you had the flu or a cold? Did you realize that these are RNA viruses? Have you ever wondered how an RNA viral genome folds up into a virus particle? Do you know a family member or friend with HIV-AIDS, another RNA virus? Did you know that the World Health Organization has almost entirely eradicated polio, yet another RNA virus? Extremely few remedies are available for viral infections. Viruses have evolved a myriad of mechanisms to replicate, compete for cellular resources, and evade host defenses. New insights into the molecular structures and mechanisms of viruses provide opportunities for new approaches to the treatment, management, and utilization of viruses. In this course, aspects related to selected RNA viruses, such as HIV-AIDS and polio virus, will be studied and discussed. Topics will include the molecular structure of RNA viruses, the mechanisms of viral assembly and replication, viral disease pathogenesis, host responses to viral infections, vaccine development, anti-viral and RNA interference (RNAi) therapeutics. Reading will be from selected texts and current literature.
Introduction to Biochemistry Methods Fall 2010
This course provides an overview of biochemical methods to explore macromolecular structure, function, and energetics. While the class lectures will give a broad overview of many biochemical methods, students will choose one method to focus on and independently research further. The course will also provide opportunities to further develop the critical thinking and analytical skills that benefit all areas of biochemical research. This course is required for graduate students in the Biochemistry division. Students in the class will develop skills in critically reading scientific journal articles, developing laboratory protocols, and designing experiments with appropriate controls. The course objectives include the following:
1. Understand advantages and disadvantages of different biochemical methods.
2. Understand the relationship of structure, function, and energetics in biological systems.
3. Understand how diverse data contribute to better models of macromolecular structure and function.
4. Understand the practice and theory of protein expression and purification.
Methods to Explore Macromolecular Structure and Function Fall 2009, Spring 2013
“Methods to Explore Macromolecular Structure and Function” is a literature-based graduate course with a context-based learning approach to biophysical chemistry. The theme is ribosome structure and function. Different biophysical methods are introduced in the context of how different methods address different aspects of ribosome structure and function. An appreciation of how many diverse pieces of data all contribute to a more complete understanding of biological structure and function is a goal of the course. The course focuses on the development of three skills: critical analysis of literature, derivation of fundamental equations for different methods, and experiment design. The methods discussed include x-ray crystallography, NMR spectroscopy, fluorescence spectroscopy, and several other physical and molecular biology techniques.
General Chemistry Fall 2008
If you dream of designing new types of batteries to store solar energy and solve the energy crisis.... Or if you dream of curing disease with new antibiotics....Or if you would like to know what a greenhouse gas is before you vote on the next clean air bill....Or if you if wonder why you add salt to the water you are boiling for cooking spaghetti.... then chem 1315 is the first step to achieving your dreams and answering your questions. Chemistry is the study of how energy and matter interact and change. Chemistry has applications in all fields of science, engineering, healthcare professions, and ordinary everyday activities like cooking and cleaning. Asking questions and solving problems are important skills for studying chemistry. Dr. Zare wrote about the importance of asking questions in a recent editorial for C&E News, the weekly journal of the American Chemical Society (see attached). I encourage you to explore, ask questions, and do lots of homework problems in chm1315.