Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE)

What is a CURE?

On campuses with high enrollment such as UF, it can be problematic to place large numbers of students in one-on-one faculty mentored research. Course Based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) classes have been developed nationally to provide more students with the opportunity to acquire research experience. As well as giving students an insight into what authentic research involves, CURE classes also offer you the opportunity to accomplish goals in your active research program.

What exactly is a CURE class and how does it differ from a traditional class?

There is no one specific template for a CURE class- instead CURE classes will typically take shape around proposed research and data collection. The syllabus and course can then be built around this data collection core. While the research is likely to be highly specific, the context provided by the rest of the course should generalize the experience, providing students with wider insights into the research process, ways of thinking and access to future research opportunities.  CURE classes can cover broad topics such as ethics, objectivity, bias and research in society, ideally using flipped classroom and team based learning techniques in place of traditional lectures.

2018-2019 CURE Course Summary

 

In 2018, 14 CURE courses were developed to provide 200 incoming  freshmen with authentic research experiences. These students represent a unique demographic as 74%  already plan to pursue postgraduate studies in research or professional school. (ROLE survey, 2019).

The 14 courses were developed in the Summer and Fall of 2018, with the assistance of the CURE team, Dr. Anne Donnelly (CUR), Dr. Christine Miller (Entomology & Nematology) and Dr. Ginny Greenway (CURE post-doc). While research looks very different across disciplines, we shared a general framework with instructors in which broad general concepts and skills are incorporated around the central research or data collection project. This scaffold, along with a series of faculty workshops and a shared Canvas space  ensured continuity across courses and disciplines

2019 CURE Course List

The ABCs of Research out of the Classroom: Ambiguity, Behavior, and Complexity with Data

BSC 2930: Ants and Microbes

This CURE was implemented in a course of 10 students and combines hands-on molecular lab, article discussions and project presentations. For the lab section, we will meet once a week for about 3 hours. Students will be forming team of 2-students, and they will be assigned a senior or junior undergraduate teaching assistants as a mentor. During the labs, students will conduct DNA extractions, PCRs, running gels, and other lab procedures. There will be one or two field trips on campus during the lab time, to show the students how we collect ants and to explore some of the ant community on campus. Students will learn basic tools to analyze sequence data from microbes. It is expected that the students meet outside the class time to prepare paper discussions and project presentations at least once a week. Students should come to class having done any required reading or preparation, and ready to engage on active learning activities.

CHM 4910: Redesigning an Enzyme – the Challenge of Oxalate Decarboxylase

As a CURE class this course is designed to lead the student into cutting edge research as it is practiced in the labs of the instructors. Students will learn the fundamentals on how research in Biochemistry is performed. They will develop their own hypotheses and test them by making new site-directed mutants of specific enzymes. The focus of the lab activities lies on acquisition of skills, trouble shooting, problem solving, and reproducibility. Grading emphasizes process skills not research outcomes. Approximately 20% of the time is spend on repeating potentially significant experiments where students are challenged to “repeat their critical results.”

ENY 2890 Section 338D: Insect Research and Scientific Engagement

This is a Classroom Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) course. Students become part of a research team, collecting publishable data on evolutionary biology, ecology, and behavior using insects both in and outside of the class and consider the interactions between science and society. This course bridges the divide between the classroom and the science laboratory and will prepare students for advanced opportunities in science, both at UF and more broadly.

ENY 2890 Section 339C: Insect Research and Scientific Engagement Through Honey Bee Health Research

This is a Classroom Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) course. During this course students will be introduced to important topics in science and provided with an opportunity to conduct publishable research in the field of honey bee health. We want students to go forth prepared to join other research teams at UF and feel confident in their abilities to contribute in their desired scientific fields. To achieve this goal, this class is organized as a flipped classroom, offering both online and in-classroom learning experiences.

HUM 2930: Cultural Programming and Addiction in America

In this course students will learn how to conduct research of population centers and civic authorities concerned with the opioid epidemic in the United States. Students will be involved in collecting, inputting, creatively diagramming, and discussing research models and data collected. The course will consider unique methods of utilizing research dates to build creative programming of ‘cultural’ activities. This will include the creation of printed diagrams, charts, and heat maps for the population centers identified through the research, as well as the association of these forms and data to cultural artifacts, art, languages, foods, etc. The course will allow students and future professionals the skills and creative insights needed to produce programming for institutions such as hospitals, private healthcare clinics, and municipal institutions including urban redevelopment authorities, schools, or museums. Students in Business Management, Economics, Sustainability and the Built Environment, Behavioral Sciences, and Health Science should benefit from the history, methods, and analytical models presented and debated in this course.

HUN 4936: Research in Community Based Sustainable Food Systems and Protected Agriculture Techniques

This transdisciplinary Classroom Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) course allows students to become part of a diverse research team, collecting publishable data on all aspects of an active sustainable food system. While research priorities shift from semester to semester, students should expect to be introduced to technologies and research practices in sustainable plant production and harvesting as well as soil, water and resource management, microbial detection and food safety education, food systems economics, and nutrition and food security. Students will also gain skills in communicating and educating others regarding sustainable food systems research. This course brings together all aspects of a food system and combines classroom learning with a hands-on, research-based approach in a sustainable community farm setting. This course will prepare students for advanced opportunities in many aspects of sustainable food systems science and innovation. Course activities will be held in the classroom and in on campus gardens/farms.

HOS 4905: Horticultural Sciences – Root Architecture

This course aims to train undergraduate students in the design, execution, and presentation of scientific research in Horticultural Sciences. This course has two components, a formal training component that is delivered through weekly meetings, and a practicum in which students conduct extramurally‐funded research under the instructor’s supervision.  

IDS 4930: People and Big Data

This faculty team-taught course invites students to collaborate to produce research presentations based on a critical analysis of big data to address important contemporary social science research questions. The use and interpretations of big data are one of the grand challenges being faced today. Some examples of questions raised by the challenges with big data include the following: As our daily lives increasingly become digital and public, how do we set boundaries for how that data is collected, stored, and used? How are our social, psychological, economic, and interpersonal lives potentially shaped by our interactions with an increasingly datafied world of online behaviors, card swipes, wearable technologies, sensors, etc.? How do we encourage an informed and active democratic society within this new environment?

MCB 4934: Protein Sequence, Structure and Functional Evolution

Using hands-on study of research data, students will learn how to think about and analyze protein 3D structures to understand how sequence, structure and function are related and how evolutionary changes in sequence can impact protein function. Through this work, students will gain a better knowledge of the scientific process and how scientists communicate their methods and results.

Museums, Veterans and Wellbeing: Measuring the Impact

Museums are increasingly called upon to expand beyond the walls of their galleries and engage their local communities. There is a growing body of evidence that the arts enhance wellbeing and in at least one country museum visits are even prescribed by healthcare providers. Some museums have begun to offer community programming that is specifically geared towards military service members and veterans. While arts programs as a whole have been found to offer specific benefit to military service members and veterans, there is little in the published literature that discusses how these benefits may extend specifically to museum-based art programs. This highly collaborative course will explore the body of evidence that supports museum-based arts and wellbeing programs and museum-based programs for veterans. Students will explore how to critically evaluate the efficacy of these types of programs and partner with one or more art museums in Florida that offer veterans programs to assist the museum in evaluating its own programming. Workshops will be used to hone students’ writing and program evaluation skills. This work will culminate in a draft publication that may be used to contribute to the body of literature in this novel practice area.

PCB 1051: Exploring Your Genome

In this course, we will delve into the field of genomics, learn how genome sequence data is obtained, analyzed, the limitations of that data, and most importantly, we will explore human genome data. The course will be entirely web-based, and all lectures and activities will be delivered online. Students will participate in a course research project to propose and to analyze associations of human genome variants and to interpret the results. The research tools and methods are online, web-based or open source and are used by human genome researchers and those used by direct to consumer genetic providers like 23andme. Thus, in addition to contributing to the body of knowledge of human genomics, students will take away skills that they can use to analyze their own genetic data should they ever acquire it. 

PHY 4930: Research Experiences for Physics Majors

Students will perform research with a physics faculty member and their research group on topics in contemporary physics: experimental nanoscience and solid state physics, computational astrophysics, and theoretical condensed matter physics.  During the first two weeks of the class, students will learn about the different research areas and projects.  Based on student interests and backgrounds, they will then be paired with a specific mentor and project.  After that students will spend most of their course time working on their research project in their mentor’s lab.  There will also be a weekly meeting of all students in the class to discuss progress/challenges and for scientific development activities: reading primary literature, ethics and biases in science, written and oral scientific communication, conveying science to a broader audience, and tours of research facilities on campus.  At the end of the course students will give a poster presentation on their research results.

PSY 4930: Scientific Engagement in Psychology

This is a Classroom Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) course. Students will become part of a research team, collecting publishable data through a method of content analysis, that will systematically examine content of the most popular video games in relation to violence and morality.  This unique course bridges the divide between the classroom and the science laboratory by giving students the opportunity to engage in a scientific exploration and to learn the process of scientific discovery.   In addition, students will discuss the psychological topic of morality and aggression.

Research experience: Measuring Exercise Performance with Breathing Vibration in Human Volunteers

This is a Classroom Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) course. During the class, the students will learn about human research regulations and must pass the HIPAA on-line course. The students will learn how to set-up and calibrate research equipment used for measuring human breathing and heart rate. The students will participate in a human exercise research study by recruiting volunteers, obtaining consent, preparing the subjects for the study measurements, recording data, analyzing the data, summarizing the results and writing a research presentation. Students will be instructed on statistical analysis of their data. Students will participate in basic instruction on human respiratory, cardiovascular and exercise physiology. The students will attend weekly lab sessions in the research laboratory.

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Spring 2019 CURE Courses

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