One of the most enjoyable aspects of immunology is the opportunity to question, to wonder; there is still so much that we do not know. Students remind me always to keep thinking. I am directly involved in the hands-on technical and theoretical training of staff and students in my research group, and I am deliberate in using my laboratory as a means to foster and support the development of early career scientists, including undergraduates and high school students. My priority in teaching is to encourage students to think, and to think confidently, critically and independently. I welcome Honours and MSc students into the research team. In the classroom, I currently teach about dendritic cells, antigen presentation, and CD8+ T cell activation in the Level 4 Senior Honours course in Immunology.
Outreach events -
Some examples of our science conversations outside the classroom -
Course involvement at the University of Glasgow -
I am still in the early phase of teaching in Glasgow, but I have taught on the Level 4 Honours Option in Fundamentals in Immunology, discussing cross-presentation, CD8+ T cell activation and the importance of immune balance. I am also involved in the assessment of the Level 4 project reports across immunology and parasitology.
Courses taught at the University of British Columbia -
MICB 202: Introductory Medical Microbiology and Immunology
MICB 202 was an entry level course that explored the arms race between the human immune system and the pathogens it tries to defeat. It was a popular class, with approx. 800 students taught in three groups and supported with online discussion boards and practice sheets. In 2014, I was awarded a Skylight teaching development grant to facilitate a student-driven revision of the MICB 202 course texbook. Two students, one a superb writer and the other a very talented cartoonist, took the current course notes and transformed their style and presentation, improving their organisation, simplifying the language, and illustrating key concepts with brilliant graphic design.
MICB 402: Advanced Immunology
MICB 402 was our core 4th year immunology lecture class, with 85 students. I taught adaptive immunity, discussing dendritic cell, T cell and B cell biology, immune regulation, immune memory and vaccination. All concepts were placed in the context of infectious diseases, incorporating a global health perspective. The teaching was a combination of traditional lectures and paper presentations, with explicit development of skills in critical analysis and scientific writing.
MICB 502: Advanced Immunogenetics
502 was a graduate seminar class with 8-12 students, meeting once a week to discuss recent papers in immunology, infection and immunotherapy. The aim was to teach skills in selection, critique, synthesis and communication. Each student practised a variety of presentation styles and lengths, including the scripting, directing, filming and editing of a two minute video that explained a specific scientific advance to a public audience. The videos were eclectic and creative, and included some brilliant examples of skilled communication.