I believe that learning is a twofold process that consists of (1) the acquisition of new information and (2) its synthesis, through critical thinking, into new models and ideas. Effective learning, therefore, results from the correct balance between these two processes. To achieve this goal, I make use of a variety of didactic approaches such as lecturing, small and large group discussion and hands-on exercises that encourage student to become active participants in the learning process.
As a vertebrate developmental biologist, I enjoy sharing with students the amazing process that is the successful formation of an organism from a fertilized egg. Since embryonic development relies on the proper deployment of numerous cellular and molecular processes in time and space (e.g., cell migration, cell-cell communication, spatial and temporal control of transcription, etc.), I like to use developmental biology as a platform to teach cell and molecular biology. Furthermore, the field of developmental biology has a long history of cleverly designed experiments, which I like to make frequent use of, not only to illustrate biological principles, but also to drive problem-solving inquiry and show students how science “works”.