Joseph O’Tousa, professor of biological sciences, and Kristin Hager, associate teaching professor of biological sciences, have been named National Academies Education Fellows in the Life Science for the 2011-2012 academic year. O’Tousa and Hager participated in the 2011 National Academies Summer Institute in Biology at the University of Wisconsin in June, where they were among teams from 16 US research universities.
O’Tousa teaches General Biology and Advanced Molecular Biology and mentors a Cell Biology research team. His research focuses on understanding the process of vision in the fruit fly, especially the biochemical mechanisms and genetic causes that lead to the degeneration of photoreceptors. Hager teaches Cell Biology and Human Physiology and mentors a Cell Biology research team. Her research focuses on the interactions between parasites and host cells, especially the movement of proteins in protozoan parasites.
The Summer Institute was developed in response to the call for professional development programs in the 2003 National Research Council Report “Bio2010: Transforming Education for Future Research Biologists.” It aims to improve undergraduate biology education by promoting new teaching approaches, including active learning, assessment and diversity, and more interdisciplinary teaching. More than 250 faculty members have taken the course, and they teach more than 100,000 students each year.