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Independent Thinkers


When lecturer Aarthi Ashok joined the Biological Sciences department in 2009, she set to work creating a course on the pathobiology of human disease. An introduction to current research on viral infections, the course also reflects recent events.

“Students in the GTA have seen the torment of pathogens such as SARS and H1N1,” says Ashok (pictured below with UTSC students), “so it’s important for them to understand the molecular details of these infections while also appreciating their impact on global public health. I believe it’s critical for biologists to stay abreast of research on emerging human pathogens, so this course will be designed to evolve with the field.”

Another key aspect of Ashok’s mandate is to make fourth-year students’ independent research program a more well-rounded experience. In addition to their lab work, students will now spend time developing written and oral presentation skills; they’ll also discuss issues such as research ethics.

“The goal is to supplement undergraduates’ research experience with the skills that are required of budding scientists,” Ashok explains. “And as they address important research questions, it also expands my own scientific horizons.”

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