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Wednesday, July 12 • 12:00pm - 12:20pm
Introducing Protein 3-D Visualization Software to Freshman Undergraduate Students: Making Connections and Building Skills

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The structure and dynamics of proteins are an essential part of understanding the molecular foundations of complex biological processes and serve an important role in the field of computational biology. Biomolecular visualization software can serve as an entryway to begin exploration of, and expose students to, protein structure-function relationships and aid in their development in basic science knowledge. In addition, technical skills and effective writing and presentation of scientific material are critical for students entering the field of bioinformatics and computational biology. Training and education utilizing biomolecular visualization software and honing writing and presentation skills are often reserved for special studies or higher-level coursework. Presenting more advanced concepts and skills that can connect ideas from introductory level classes in chemistry, biology, and physics earlier in the curriculum is imperative to success in advanced classes and application in research settings for undergraduate students. Thus, student-centered activities that can satisfy the development of new skills and critical thinking, in addition to computational knowledge and practice, provide foundational principles for developing future scientists and increasing their chances of success. By designing a one-credit hour, introduction to biomolecular visualization course, freshman biochemistry undergraduate students were exposed to higher-level thinking and application, and gained skills in biomolecular visualization and scientific presentation. In addition, biomolecular visualization and molecular modeling were used to introduce the students to the field of computational biology and computational skills such as command-line usage, unix interfaces, and parallel computing. Overall, this study discusses the benefits of introducing bimolecular visualization software early in the undergraduate education curriculum and the potential for implementation on a larger scale in order to prepare students by providing discipline-specific foundations relevant to the use of computational tools.

Wednesday July 12, 2017 12:00pm - 12:20pm
Bolden 6
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