1. Jeffrey Olimpo
  2. Assistant Professor
  4. University of Texas at El Paso
  1. Ginger Fisher
  2. Assistant Professor
  4. University of Northern Colorado
  1. Kevin Floyd
  2. Postdoctoral Fellow
  4. University of Texas at El Paso

Collaborative Research: Infusing Authentic Research into the Introductory Bio...

NSF Awards: 1625156, 1625141

2018 (see original presentation & discussion)


Within the last decade, course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs) have emerged as a viable mechanism to enhance student access to and engagement in authentic scientific opportunities. Prior studies indicate that individuals who participate in CUREs report increased interest in scientific research and confidence in their ability to think scientifically. While many CURE models exist, one common approach employed to develop such experiences is to build upon faculty research interests; as such, these opportunities potentially require technical expertise that is difficult to scale to multiple laboratory sections or to other institutions. The Tigriopus CURE was developed at the University of Northern Colorado (UNC) based on faculty research interests and with the explicit intent to be scalable for implementation in all freshman laboratories (~600 students/semester). Furthermore, the CURE was created with the specific goals of increasing students’ attitudes, motivation, confidence in authentic scientific practices, and content knowledge in the discipline. After successful implementation of the Tigriopus CURE at UNC in the molecular and cellular biology freshman laboratory, we are now studying its efficacy at multiple institutions representing diverse students (i.e, large Hispanic-Serving Institution, women’s Minority-Serving College, small liberal arts college). This iteration of the CURE is in the freshman organismal biology laboratory, and student-developed experiments are primarily examining how environmental conditions impact copepod survival and reproduction. The Tigriopus CURE represents an accessible model system that can be investigated by novice students at reasonably low cost, and thus is a scalable and sustainable laboratory experience that can be implemented in a variety of courses.

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