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News archive

(Warning: some links may no longer work.)

5/22/20 This is a genuinely challenging time for educational institutions, but we who work at them sure are doing our best, and our students are demonstrating resilience as well. That, I think, is the take-home message of the new Faculty Spotlight profiles of me and many other EvCC colleagues.
5/13/20 In my latest blog entry for Dynamic Ecology, I advocate for weirder Acknowledgments sections. Not exactly an urgent concern these days, but maybe interesting anyway?
5/6/20 My latest article, with coauthors Ben Wiggins and Kiki Jenkins, has been published in the Spring 2020 edition of HAPS Educator: Testing in the Age of Active Learning: Test Question Templates Help to Align Activities and Assessments.
5/2/20 Everett Community College's student newspaper, the Everett Clipper, published a nice article about Masks for Arlington, a local group that creates homemade face covers. I am quoted briefly toward the end of the article.
3/14/20 In a move that may or may not be analogous to rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, I contributed some music to The A&P Professor's "emergency" podcast on quickly moving face-to-face courses online.
2/14/20 Much to my relief, another four-years-in-the-making paper was finally published today: Is memorization the name of the game? Undergraduates’ perceptions of the usefulness of physiology songs. It was a fun collaboration with Jason Wessels (a UW-Bothell grad student in education when the project started; now a high school science teacher), Jennifer Breckler (a SFSU biologist whom I met because of, no joke, our mutual fondness for Poiseuille's Law), and Larry Lesser (a UTEP statistician who brought sophistication to the data analysis).
11/28/19 Within the biology education community, there is a remarkable diversity of opinion on how best to teach anatomy & physiology (A&P). I have posted some of my own views in a semi-ranty four-part series of blog posts, beginning with My Shadow A&P Exam. I have posted this on my personal blog to emphasize that I'm speaking only for myself.
9/23/19 Derek Walker of Everett Community College has created and posted a nice video of Hilary Kemp and her microbiology students singing "Blaze of Glory," a song I wrote about viruses, while I accompany them on piano.
9/22/19 I am an author or coauthor of four short presentations at the 2019 VOICES conference.
8/12/19 In my latest episode of "I'm not an ecologist, but sometimes I play one on the Internet," I share some thoughts on writing for the audience of one's classroom students.
8/7/19 I won a cartoon caption contest! No, not the New Yorker one, but the slightly less prestigious monthly CAUSEweb contest (for statistics education).
5/29/19 Today I posted a blog entry about the challenges and rewards of being on TV. This coincided with a nice profile of me in the "Eric's Heroes" segment of the KOMO-4 evening news.
5/23/19 Last week at USCOTS, my song "Trials and Errors" was named the winning entry in the music category of the conference's A-Mu-Sing Contest. Thanks to Monty Harper and Friends for making a great live performance video!
4/18/19 Today I appeared on the KING-5 talk show "New Day Northwest" in a segment titled, This singing biology professor turns science into catchy tunes at Everett Community College.
4/2/19 A fun story and video about my musical teaching were published in today's Everett Herald.
1/21/19 Responding to a dean's invitation, I told the following story about my first quarter teaching at EvCC: Less ice cream and more broccoli?!
12/10/18 Just in time for Christmas: yet another example of me invading someone else's blog to discuss science songs. But this time the songs are Christmas-themed!
10/31/18 Just in time for Halloween: a poem that has nothing to do with Halloween, but everything to do with the so-called "Jennifer Aniston neurons."
9/21/18 This year's VOICES, an online conference on teaching STEM through music, is coming up on the 26th! In addition to serving as co-organizer, I contributed a video poster, Pitfalls of Writing and Using STEM Songs.
9/10/18 I've been mentioned in the last two episodes of Kevin Patton's A&P Professor Podcast: Episode 25 (Aug. 27) and Episode 26 (Sept. 10).
9/3/18 Everett Community College has posted a nice profile of me: EvCC Biology Instructor Teaches Science through Music.
8/23/18 Another month, another music-themed entry for a physiology teaching blog!
7/23/18 Last month I attended the American Physiological Society's Institute for Teaching and Learning, and of course I couldn't help interjecting a bit of unscheduled science music.
7/1/18 Another five-years-in-the-making paper was finally published (online) today: Songwriting to learn: how high school science fair participants use music to communicate personally relevant scientific concepts (S.J. Ward, R.M. Price, K. Davis, and G.J. Crowther, International Journal of Science Education Part B).
6/25/18 In December of 2015, I wrote some introductory statistics songs for the NSF-funded Project SMILES (Student-Made Interactive Learning with Educational Songs). After a couple of years of development and testing, those songs have now been publicly released. The ones I wrote are Central Limit Theorem, Inferential and Descriptive Statistics, and Throw That Out? (The latter is about research ethics.) Thank you to biostatistician Leila Zelnick for helping me understand enough statistics to write these songs!
4/4/18 Last spring, as part of my teacher training, I spent a month in the classroom of Tami Caraballo, an outstanding biology and biotechnology teacher at Glacier Peak High School in Snohomish, Washington. While I was there, I helped her write up one of her many fun and innovative teaching ideas: the "protein resume." It was just published in The Science Teacher, the high school-level journal of the National Science Teachers' Association (NSTA).
2/4/18 I have created a "Worksheets" web page, where some of my POGIL-style anatomy & physiology worksheets are posted, just in case anyone wants to use them (either with or without editing them).
11/27/17 Just published in CBE-Life Sciences Education: my review of the book The Core Concepts of Physiology by Joel Michael et al.
10/24/17 Just published in Advances in Physiology Education: my paper Which way do the ions go? A graph-drawing exercise for understanding electrochemical gradients.
10/15/17 VOICES, a first-of-its-kind online conference on teaching STEM subjects with music, was held on Sept. 27-28. The entire conference has been archived online and may be accessed for free!
9/11/17 My next employer, Everett Community College, recently interviewed me for its "Behind the Resume" series.
9/1/17 Here's a new paper coauthored with Jennifer Breckler, a collaborator at San Francisco State University, and Allison Ma, a former undergraduate research assistant: Songwriting to Learn: Can students learn A&P by writing content-rich lyrics?
5/29/17 The results of the 2017 USCOTS A-Mu-Sing Competition are in. Believe it or not, I placed 2nd in the cartoon division with my entry, Three Students Walk into a Class.... (And honorable mention in the music division, for The Null Hypothesis.)
5/24/17 This week I have two more guest posts on the Dynamic Ecology blog: one in which I ask how we should be teaching the "scientific method," and one in which I reveal that, as of next January, I will have a new job!
4/5/17 Who should and should not be coauthors of research studies? I have opinions.
12/3/16 Not all of my songs are purely educational. Here's me singing "Kidney Wonderland" at the UW Nephrology holiday party.
11/14/16 I'm not an ecologist, but occasionally I play one on the Internet.
11/9/16 Students, here is my post-election open letter to you.
9/9/16 For me, the last 2.5 years have been an intense period of teaching lots of anatomy & physiology ("A&P") ... and writing lots of short songs about this material. Check out the current collection of lyrics, sheet music, and study questions for over 90 original A&P songs (plus a few parodies)!
5/26/16 The publisher of our International Journal of Science Education article has issued a news release about it: Could sing-a-long science be the key to straight A’s?
3/2/16 Today, almost exactly 1.5 years after I left full-time lab research behind, my last 1st-author paper based on that research was published: Biochemical screening of five protein kinases from Plasmodium falciparum against 14,000 cell-active compounds.
2/3/16 Thanks to musical collaborator Monty Harper, I now have a really nice recording of my Nernst equation song! (The link is to the video, which is not itself really nice, but includes the really nice music.)
1/19/16 An article we started writing in the spring of 2013 has finally been published in the International Journal of Science Education. Though the title (Leveraging the power of music to improve science education) sounds like that of a review article, it's an empirical study of STEM music videos.
12/14/15 The December 2015 issue of the Journal of Mathematics Education is a special issue on "Music as a Theme for Contextualized Mathematics Education." It includes my article (with coauthors Katie Davis, Kiki Jenkins, and Jennifer Breckler) Integration of math jingles into physiology courses.
8/7/15 The AAAS website ScienceInTheClassroom.org has now published my spring 2014 students' annotations of two Science papers. Our entries are A shoot full of sugar helps the flowering begin (based on V. Wahl et al., Science 339: 704-7, 2013) and Shape shifters of the plant world (based on D. Vlad et al., Science 343:780-3, 2014).
6/17/15 The display "STEM songs: not just child's play" may now be seen on the bottom floor of UW-Bothell's Discovery Hall. I designed it with my son Phil (UWB Class of 2029).
5/18/15 Three summers ago, UW medical student Sarah Weller performed a high-throughput screen seeking to identify new inhibitors of the Sec pathway. A report on that screen and follow-up work was published today (online) in the Journal of Biomolecular Screening.
5/1/15 Former undergraduate research assistant Jack Mo has been accepted to medical school at the University of Washington and will begin his studies there in the fall. Congratulations, Jack!
9/16/14 AAAS's profile of its "Science in the Classroom" website describes how my students and I used the site this past spring.
8/10/14 As featured in BIOL 220 this summer, here's my Poiseuille's Law sing-along!
6/4/14 Q13 FOX News visited my BIOL 220 class and reported, "This professor can hold a tune!"
4/2/14 UW News has quoted me in its video preview of Paws-On Science and in a press release about colleague Katie Davis's AERA presentation on science music videos.
3/14/14 Former undergraduate research assistant Jack Jones has been accepted to UC-San Diego's Ph.D. program in Biomedical Science, and will start this program in the fall. Congratulations and good luck, Jack!
3/3/14 My latest peer-reviewed rant (with coauthor Becca Price) was published today in CBE Life Sciences Education.
1/9/14 I'm proud of two items released this week: our PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases paper Cofactor-Independent Phosphoglycerate Mutase from Nematodes Has Limited Druggability, as Revealed by Two High-Throughput Screens ... and my latest science song.
10/5/13 Two American Chemical Society journal articles in one week! Our papers on the P. falciparum dUTPase and "Amino Acid Jazz" have been published (online) by ACS Chemical Biology and the Journal of Chemical Education, respectively. If you can't access the full papers and want PDFs, let me know!
9/27/13 Former undergraduate research assistant Mallory Krahn has been accepted to medical school at the University of Kansas. Congrats, Mallory!
6/17/13 Yesterday Jack Jones, a productive undergraduate researcher in our lab for the past two years, graduated from UW with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. Congratulations, Jack!
5/17/13 Today our undergraduate research assistant Jack Mo will present "Drug Screening for Malaria Yields Securinine-Related Compounds that Activate Plasmodium falciparum dUTPase" at the UW Undergraduate Research Symposium. Good luck, Jack!
4/17/13 Our lab has moved to a new facility at the south end of Lake Union!
1/25/13 Yesterday and today, second-year UW medical student Sara Weller presented her laboratory research from the previous summer at the Western Student Medical Research Forum (WSMRF) in Carmel, California. She received a WAFMR/WSPR subspecialty award for her presentation "A High-Throughput, Mechanism-Based, Whole-Cell Screen Using Escherichia coli to Identify Inhibitors of the Sec Pathway of Bacterial Protein Export." Congratulations, Sara!
9/17/12 New links: my radio interview in the Sept. 11 edition of Biotek Beat, and my article on 3D cell cultures in the Sept. 15 issue of Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News.
7/20/12 New this week: a SingAboutScience.org video tutorial and my tweets about omics ethics.
6/13/12 Henry Rosen and I have been awarded a Royalty Research Fund grant of $34,533 to continue our work on the Sec pathway of protein export. Also, UWTV has now posted my UW Mini-Medical School lecture from February. Songs are at 15:00, 21:05, 30:17, 36:10, 39:00, and 43:02.
5/19/12 The 24th annual Seattle Parasitology Conference is in the books. My primary contribution was leading attendees in a sing-along song about the life cycle of Plasmodium falciparum. Also, I've been awarded a $50,000 "Challenge Grant" by the Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) for a proposal investigating point mutations of glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase.
5/2/12 Here's my latest bit of freelance writing for Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News: Biomarker Discovery Methods Evolving.
4/17/12 The first meeting of Science Online Seattle was last night. It was attended by a highly engaged bunch of scientists, journalists, lay people, etc. I tried to capture some highlights in real time on Twitter and later compiled the tweets into a blog post.
3/1/12 Two pieces, very different from each other and from traditional research articles, were published today. I acted as a science journalist in preparing NGS advances spawn novel challenges for Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News. And my thoughts about educational science songs are summarized in a CBE-Life Sciences Education article titled Using science songs to enhance learning: an interdisciplinary approach.
1/17/12 Two new articles of mine are now available online (to those with electronic access to the journals, anyway). Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education (BAMBED) has published The SingAboutScience.org database: an educational resource for instructors and students. The Journal of Biomolecular Screening has published A mechanism-based whole-cell screening assay to identify inhibitors of protein export in Escherichia coli by the Sec Pathway.
11/17/11 I was quoted in LiveScience.com's coverage of a new liver-stage malaria drug development study by Stephan Meister et al.
9/1/11 The September 2011 issue of Acta Crystallographica Section F is devoted entirely to publications from the Seattle Structural Genomics Center for Infectious Disease (SSGCID), in which the Van Voorhis lab plays a major role. I am a coauthor of one paper (Expression of proteins in Escherichia coli as fusions with maltose-binding protein to rescue non-expressed targets in a high-throughput protein expression and purification pipeline) but was not involved in the other 29.
2/24/11 Money 4 Drugz, a summary of our lab's research in the format of a rap video, took 1st Prize at the 2011 UW Pocketmedia Film Festival!
2/10/11 Are you sick of my science song links yet? If not, proceed to this KING 5 TV piece about my work on educational songs.
1/6/11 Today I gave a brief talk -- "Global health, neglected diseases, and drug development: a newcomer's perspective" -- to students from Glacier Peak High School. My slides are posted to SlideShare.
11/9/10 A recent foray into critiquing media coverage of science has been posted at RunnersWorld.com. The title of my post is Marathoning Is Hard; So Is Science Journalism.
9/24/10 My slides from the MipTec conference are now posted to SlideShare.
9/21/10 Wes and I were shown singing science songs -- and talking about their impact on students and society -- in a KOMO-4 TV special that aired last Friday. The complete show, "Saving Kids With Science," is now available on YouTube; our part starts at about 11:55 of Part 1.
9/10/10 A new paper from our lab and a GNF group led by Kelli Kuhen has been published by Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology. Its title is Identification of inhibitors for putative malaria drug targets amongst novel antimalarial compounds.
9/3/10 Good news for those who have wondered, "What are Greg's all-time favorite enzymes?"! The answers are on my blog.
8/25/10 In May I gave a talk about my research at the Seattle Parasitology Conference. Now that all of the relevant work has been published or accepted for publication, I feel comfortable sharing my slides. The talk was called "Biochemical and bioinformatic investigations of potential drug targets in Plasmodium and other pathogens."
8/24/10 Today PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases published an article coauthored by me and Wes: Identification of Attractive Drug Targets in Neglected-Disease Pathogens Using an In Silico Approach.
6/11/10 Our undergraduate research assistants Kuzma Kovzun and Andrew Thomas have graduated from UW! Andrew's degree is in biology, while Kuzma has a double major in biochemistry and psychology. Congratulations!
5/31/10 Wendy Silk, a plant biologist from UC-Davis, visited last week to work with me on a National Science Foundation-funded pilot project called Undergraduate Biology Education -- Songs for Teaching (UBEST). More information about this project is available at singaboutscience.org.
5/20/10 The UW thermal melt gang contributed to the paper Chemical genetics of Plasmodium falciparum, which was published in Nature today. Congrats to all involved! The News and Views article Drug discovery: Priming the antimalarial pipeline provides additional information about this article and a related one appearing in the same issue of Nature.
12/16/09 Our paper Use of thermal melt curves to assess the quality of enzyme preparations has been published (online) by Analytical Biochemistry. Yippee!
7/15/09 Our paper Buffer optimization of thermal melt assays of Plasmodium proteins for detection of small-molecule ligands has been published in the July 2009 issue of the Journal of Biomolecular Screening.
5/13/09 UW is currently soliciting entries for its Pocketmedia Film Festival. With the help of several colleagues and their children, I have made a short video for this festival. It is sort of about our malaria research.
3/4/09 Diana Chung has been accepted into Ohio State's PharmD/PhD program, and Kuzma Kovzun has been awarded a Mary Gates Research scholarship. Congratulations to both!