Hampton University
Hampton University School of Science and the Department of Biological Sciences Introduces CURE to Introductory Biology Classes
11/11/2021 - #45

Hampton University HAMPTON, Va. (November 8, 2021) – The Hampton University School of Science has introduced CURES (Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences) to all Biology 105 courses through the introductory biology labs. CURES are a novel form of classroom-based courses that offer students hands-on experience conducting original research and offer faculty and students the opportunity to generate new information within their discipline. 
 
“Here at Hampton University, we offer a variety of resources to our students that provide them the skills and knowledge to excel in their chosen fields. We are thrilled to see the Hampton University School of Science doing great things and encouraging our students to uphold THE Standard of Excellence,” said Hampton University President Dr. William R. Harvey. 
 
These Bioinformatics and Metagenomics CURES, in which students are researching the biodiversity of trees, bacteria, and fungi on Hampton University Campus were introduced to the Hampton University School of Science under the leadership of Interim Dean and Associate Professor of Biology, Dr. Isi Ero-Tolliver. “As a senior biology advisor for the past four years, I saw that most of our students were not receiving internal research experience so I learned additional skills in the summers and partnered with other institutions like Bowie State University (BSU) and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories to deliver CURES to our students. I originally brought the CURE institute workshop to Hampton University in 2019, in which other faculty members from different departments within the school of science attended. All faculty members designed CURES for their classrooms during the institute. This was very important because we, at Hampton University, were the first university to launch CURENet2 mobile with the help of UGA Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Dr. Erin Dolan, who co-hosted the CURENet2 mobile institute with me on our campus. Since then, I attended workshops at BSU and James Madison University (JMU) and used my molecular biology background, along with the new skills I learned at the workshops. I trained faculty (Mr. Druitt, Dr. Fennell, and Dr. Adebola) and students to include graduate and undergraduate students who served as teaching assistants (Weemon Reed, Michelle Ezeigbo, and Daniel Afolabi) with the CURES so that they could implement them in their classrooms and labs, with the assistance of lab manager, Dr. Quingyu Chen. As a result of this effort, this is the first time that all BIO 105 undergraduate students are receiving research experiences within their first year of undergrad studies in the biology department, simultaneously,” said Ero-Tolliver.  
 
CURES will create classroom learning experiences for students to address a research question or problem with unknown outcomes or solutions that are of interest to external stakeholders. 
 
Numerous studies have shown the benefits of CURES for students: 
 
1. Enhances self-confidence in scientific thinking and the development of scientific process 
2. Develops skills to increase inclusivity in science for unrepresented populations 
3. Improves persistence in science and medicine 
4. Demonstrates closer integration of teaching and research 
5. Provides positive influence on promotion and tenure 
6. Provides publication of research in both science and education journals 
7. Provides greater impact on research programs 
8. Helps faculty identify, recruit, and train students to join their research labs 
 
“CURES has been great. It has allowed students who are not able to get internships to conduct research.  They are gaining experience in molecular biology techniques that will make them more competitive for graduate and medical school. Students were able to create their own research projects, allowing them to take ownership. Students are much more engaged and proactive knowing that this is their project. We plan to implement CURES in other lab sections, due to the success we are experiencing in our BIO 105 laboratory,” said Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Dr. Herman Fennell. 
 
“By introducing our students to the CURES Project and DNA technologies at the freshman level, we have greatly enhanced the scientific experiences of the BIO 105 Introductory students in our courses,” said Hampton University Assistant Professor of Biology Science and Assistant to the Dean, Michael D. Druitt, MS. 
 
“CURES provides opportunities for undergraduate students to engage in inquiry-based learning using molecular techniques at organismic level, and at the ecosystem scale. Students can lay a solid foundation for future work in STEM-related careers,” said Assistant Research Professor, Department of Marine and Environmental Science, Dr. Tunde Michael Adebola. 
 
"We would like to acknowledge Dr. George Ude and his team at Bowie State along with Bruce Nash and his team at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Their assistance was crucial to our success this semester in launching these CURES for the introductory labs"-Dr. Isi Ero-Tolliver

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