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Undergraduate Biology Education Fails to Keep Pace, NAS National Research Council Report Finds

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John T. Softcheck of Washington Fax reported on September 11 that the NAS National Research Council had issued a September 9 report indicating that to better prepare today's students for careers in biology, especially in biomedical research, colleges and universities must update their teaching approaches to keep pace with the rapidly transforming field. Sponsored by the NIH and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the report, titled “Bio 2010: Undergraduate Education to Prepare Biomedical Research Scientists,” examines the challenges to and opportunities for the expansion of interdisciplinary education, including case studies highlighting innovative approaches to undergraduate research and curricula.

Although most universities require biology majors to study some mathematics and the physical sciences to some extent, faculty often do not integrate these subjects into biology courses, giving students a shortsighted view of the key connections between scientific disciplines, the report notes. “Bio 2010” proposes that mathematics, physics, chemistry, computer science, and engineering be incorporated into courses …

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