Find in this page information about

  • Recent courses taught
  • Workshops taught
  • Published reports and articles on Science Education

Courses (at the College of Biomedical Sciences of Larkin University)

  • Biochemistry 1: This course introduces the fundamental aspects of biological chemistry from both a biochemical and medical perspective. The course overviews the structure, function, and metabolism of biological molecules: carbohydrates, fatty acids, proteins and nucleic acids. It also evaluates, in detail, enzyme kinetics, including their activation, inhibition, and allosteric interactions in metabolic pathways of biological molecules and other physiological processes, as well as in the flow of genetic information. Students learn to elaborate on specific biochemical pathways and how they interface with human diseases, including disease etiology, diagnosis, and treatment. Students also learn to describe and apply biochemical concepts into scientific biomedical research.

  • Biochemistry 2: The Medical Biochemistry 2 course builds on the concepts learned in Medical Biochemistry 1 to apply the chemistry of biomolecules from a tissue-, organ-specific, and clinical standpoints. Students implement higher levels of learning and knowledge dimensions to analyze clinical scenarios, evaluate possible biochemical outcomes, and how to address biochemical deficiency or malfunctions. As with Medical Biochemistry 1, students also elaborate on specific biochemical pathways and how they interface with human diseases, including disease etiology, diagnosis, and treatment, and apply biochemistry into scientific biomedical research.

  • Immunology: This course presents fundamental concepts of immunology and the role of the immune system in human health and disease, and the use of serological and antibody-based methods in the clinical and biomedical research lab. A review of the biological effects of immunologic reactions, antibody formation and interactions, and immunological specificity of normal and diseased cells and tissues is discussed.

  • Molecular Genetics: This course discusses the genetic influences that affect the course of human development from reproduction through the prenatal, neonatal, pediatric, adolescent, and adults periods. Screening protocol, gene therapy, and new treatment and scientific modalities are covered including pharmacogenetics, epigenetics, transcriptomics, and genomics.

Recent Workshops

  • Image Analysis in Biological Sciences (from Western blot to Data-Driven Decisions). This workshop was presented, on July 5th, 2017, to students from Miami Dade College-North Campus (in-person) and the University of Puerto Rico-Carolina Campus (via video conference) in collaboration with Dr. José Santiago Santana (find information of Dr. Santiago Santana here). In this workshop, students learned to describe and implement image analysis protocols to extract data from Western blot analysis.

  • "Doing Science: from Start to Finish". This workshop was presented to high school students of the Thomas Armstrong High School, located in Ponce, Puerto Rico. The goal of the workshop was for students to describe, implement, and analyze the different epicycles of the scientific method (

Published Reports in Science Education

  • Correct/Incorrect Ratio in Staining Techniques in Microbiology Lab: This data analysis report evaluated the proportion of correct answers in two Microbiology Lab sections during a practical session of staining techniques: Gram stain, Acid-fast stain, Endospore stains. Students had two unknown bacteria for which they had to implement the Gram stain, Acid-fast stain, and Endospore stain, in addition to describing the unknown bacteria's cell shape and arrangement. After the students submitted their answers, the data was gathered and organized with the following variables: microbiology lab course section (sections A and B to not disclosed the actual section number), table where they sit in the lab (each table has four students), gender, and responses (correct as 1, and incorrect as 0) in shape, cell arrangement, Gram stain, Acid-fast stain, and Endospore stain. Find the PDF here.

  • Data Analysis in a General Education Biology Course after the First Summative:This report converge a data analysis of the General Education course taught during the term summer term (2016-3) of the academic year 2016-2017. This course is administered to non-science majors, most of whom are freshman and sophomore students, in a web-enhanced format through Blackboard LearnTM/ at Miami Dade College. In this data analysis report, which was performed just after exam 1 was administered (out three to be administered in the course), addressed the relationships between formative (e.g. short quizzes, polling questions, and discussion preparation assignments) and the first exam.

  • Data Analysis on a Survey Administered to Students on the First Day of Class in a General Education Biology Course: This data analysis report evaluates the responses of a survey, which was administered to students (through Blackboard Learn) on the first day of the General Education Biology (BSC1005) course at Miami Dade College during the 2016-2 term (Fall 2016-2017 semester). After students completed the survey, the raw data was downloaded from Blackboard Learn into a local directory. The file with the raw data was saved as Microsoft ExcelTM file. For questions with character responses (i.e. open-ended questions), such as question 1, 7 and 8, the most frequent words as well as the total words per student’s responses were determined. For the remaining questions, the proportion of answers was determined.

  • Peer-Evaluations as an Intervention Tool to Identify Students' Misconceptions and Interpretation Errors in the Streak-Plate Method in an Introductory Microbiology Lab Course. 2016: The streak plate method is one of the most fundamental techniques that students not only must be able to apply but also interpret in microbiology lab courses. As professors, we often rely on one-on-one student assessment. This may limit us in identifying shared misconceptions within a classroom because we are evaluating them based on just a few individual attempts technique. In this study, peer-assessment was used as an intervention to identify shared students' misconceptions and interpretation errors in the streak plate method. From a broth with a mixed culture of two bacteria, students from two different microbiology lab sections performed the streak plate method on four nutrient agar plates. After the corresponding incubation period, students peer-assessed streaked plates, and the scores compared with the professor's scores. Compared to the professor's mean scores, mean differences varied (i.e., under and over-estimations) in one microbiology lab section, while statistically significantly overestimated on the other. Therefore, these results suggest that students may share misconceptions when interpreting results from the streak plate method. Peer-assessment can be an intervention tool to identify misconceptions and interpretation errors with laboratory techniques, and corrective learning approaches developed and implemented accordingly.

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© Felix E. Rivera-Mariani, PhD 2018 The contents of this website reflect the views of the author and does not represent the views of my institution..