P712: Just-in-time approach to undergraduate biochemistry research
Current monumental discoveries in biochemistry are made possible by the cooperation of researchers in various areas of expertise. As this multifaceted branch of science progresses, it is becoming more and more evident that interdisciplinary education is paramount to further our understanding of the biological world. The process of science, however, follows a non-linear and repetitive avenues resulting in convoluted pathways that depend on extensive dialogues with the scientific community. The simultaneous instruction of diverse fields of study in combination with convoluted paths of scientific thought brings new apprehensions into transforming education dialogues. Most scientists learn how to successfully navigate the intricacies of research by actively participating in laboratory inquiries for many years. For an undergraduate, navigating the entry into and successful completion of a research project is often daunting and seemingly intractable. The integration of inquiry-based courses and laboratories has facilitated the transition from the classroom to the research group. These experiences have numerous benefits yet suffer from many complications in the case of interdisciplinary projects. Specifically, a large portion of an interdisciplinary preparation centers on introductory courses. Thus, idea integration occurs towards the end of a student’s education. The long-term gains of experimental science are lost if a student or mentor waits for a successful introductory into each contributing disciplines. A 3-stage model that integrates comprehensive mentoring and Just-in-Time teaching will be discussed to manage the challenges of undergraduate interdisciplinary projects.