Community Based Learning

BIOS 40450: Developing Health Networks in Rare and Neglected Diseases

A main purpose of this course is to engage upper level undergraduate and graduate students in clinical research in rare and neglected diseases. The focus for each semester is on neglected/infectious diseases with emphasis on worldwide eradication strategies. A major goal is to have Notre Dame students work on a clinical research project in class on some rare and/or neglected disease of major importance. A second important goal of this course is to develop an analogous model(s) for other neglected/infectious diseases. We hope this class will also help the students become advocates for these diseases. The course is also tied to a clinical-translational seminar series to enable students to meet with leading international experts who work in neglected diseases. The class is intended for juniors and seniors.

STV 33401: Animal Welfare and the Human-Animal Bond: Community Based Learning Seminar

Consider the fact that in six short years, one female dog and her offspring can give birth to 67,000 puppies. In seven years, one cat and her young can produce 420,000 kittens. Three to four million dogs and cats are euthanized each year. It is estimated that there are 60 million feral cats in the US. In a society that considers pets as part of their family, watches Animal Planet, and spends millions of dollars on pet products, it is imperative that we acknowledge and educate ourselves on the issues of over population of pet animals in our society. What is our responsibility to these animals, and how can we solve these pressing problems? The focus of this course will be on animal behavior from an evolutionary perspective. The students will learn to recognize both desirable and undesirable behaviors in pet animals. They will learn how to use evolutionary behavior training methods to alter detrimental behaviors and reinforce those that are advantageous. This course will also cover animal welfare issues, and will intimately and meaningfully connect the state of humans, to that of animals. The students will carry out community research projects of their choice and will immerse themselves in an important issue and generate a product that can help the plight of animals (and therefore humans) in our community.

Science Policy Ethics: Guiding Science through Regulation of Research and Funding

This Social Concerns Seminar will examine ethical responsibilities within science funding allocations and the regulation of basic and translational research. Students will be exposed to the policy development and lobbying, government funding, and regulation of both basic science and translational research.  Regulation surrounding research and drug development for rare and neglected diseases will also be discussed. The course aims to explore how funds are distributed to scientists and the pathway between discovery at the lab bench and introduction of policy to the general public. Working with Notre Dame’s Federal Relations Team in Washington, DC over spring break,  students will meet with scientists, multiple federal agencies, and policy makers including the Office of Science and Technology Policy. In preparation for meetings in Washington, 5 panel sessions will feature speakers with experience in research ethics and integrity, advocating for funding for science, distributing those funds, or working at the intersections of government policy, basic science, physics and engineering technology, environmental science, and clinical research. Offered through the Notre Dame College of Science and the Center for Social Concerns, this course poses a unique opportunity for students to network with various federal funding agencies and policy makers in Washington, DC.