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National Research Council (US) Committee on Undergraduate Biology Education to Prepare Research Scientists for the 21st Century. Bio2010: Transforming Undergraduate Education for Future Research Biologists. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2003.

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Bio2010: Transforming Undergraduate Education for Future Research Biologists.

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Increasingly, biomedical researchers must be comfortable applying diverse aspects of mathematics and the physical sciences to their pursuit of biological knowledge. Biomedical researchers advance society's understanding of many topics, not just human disease. They work with diverse model organisms and study behavior in systems ranging from the molecular to the organismal using traditional biological techniques as well as high-tech approaches. Undergraduate biology students who become comfortable with the ideas of mathematics and physical sciences from the start of their education will be better positioned to contribute to future discoveries in biomedical research. For this reason the National Institutes of Health and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute asked the National Research Council to evaluate the undergraduate education of this particular group of students. The committee began its work in the fall of 2000.

The report recommends a comprehensive reevaluation of undergraduate science education for future biomedical researchers. In particular it calls for a renewed discussion on the ways that engineering and computer science, as well as chemistry, physics, and mathematics are presented to life science students. The conclusions of the report are based on input from chemists, physicists, and mathematicians, not just practicing research biologists. The committee recognizes that all undergraduate science education is interconnected. Changes cannot be made solely to benefit future biomedical researchers. The impact on undergraduates studying other types of biology, as well as other sciences, cannot be ignored as reforms are considered. The Bio2010 report therefore provides ideas and options suitable for various academic situations and diverse types of institutions. It is hoped that the reader will use these possibilities to initiate discussions on the goals and methods of teaching used within their own department, institution, or professional society.

This report is the product of many individuals. The committee would like to thank those who participated in the Panel on Chemistry, the Panel on Physics and Engineering, the Panel on Mathematics and Computer Science, and the Workshop on Innovative Undergraduate Biology Education. The names of all these individuals are listed in the appendices of this report. Their input played an essential role in the committee's deliberations.

This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC's Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report:

Norma Allewell, University of Maryland, College Park

Wyatt Anderson, University of Georgia

Michael Antolin, Colorado State University

Susan Chaplin, University of St. Thomas

Joan Ferrini-Mundy, Michigan State University

Ronald Henry, Georgia State University

Nancy Stewart Mills, Trinity University

Jeanne Narum, Project Kaleidoscope

Paul Sternberg, California Institute of Technology

Although the reviewers listed above have provided constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by William B. Wood of the University of Colorado and May R. Berenbaum of the University of Illinois. Appointed by the National Research Council, they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

Copyright © 2003, National Academy of Sciences.
Bookshelf ID: NBK43517


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