Collaborating with Undergraduates to Contribute to Biochemistry Community Resources

Haas, Kathryn L.; Heemstra, Jennifer M.; Medema, M.H.; Charkoudian, Louise K.


Course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs) have gained traction as effective ways to expand the impact of undergraduate research while fulfilling pedagogical goals. In this Perspective, we present innovative ways to incorporate fundamental benefits and principles of CUREs into a classroom environment through information/technology-based research projects that lead to student-generated contributions to digital community resources (CoRes). These projects represent an attractive class of CUREs because they are less resource-intensive than laboratory-based CUREs, and the projects align with the expectations of today’s students to create rapid and publicly accessible contributions to society. We provide a detailed discussion of two example types of CoRe projects that can be implemented in courses to impact research and education at the chemistry–biology interface: bioinformatics annotations and development of educational tools. Finally, we present current resources available for faculty interested in incorporating CUREs or CoRe projects into their pedagogical practices. In sharing these stories and resources, we hope to lower the barrier for widespread adoption of CURE and CoRe approaches and generate discussions about how to utilize the classroom experience to make a positive impact on our students and the future of the field of biochemistry.