Lam, Hanh

Hanh Lam is a post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Microbiology and Environmental Toxicology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Hanh is interested in studying bacterial pathogenesis and discovery of small molecules for novel antimicrobials. She is passionate with research and would like to motivate younger generations to science. She is participating in the PDB to learn how to design and make courses more interesting and inspiring.




Teaching Activity Summary

Name of Teaching Activity: Biochemistry and Protein Translation: Translating the Central Dogma

Teaching Venue & Date: WEST  - Chemistry, protein structure, Sept 12-14th 2016

Learners: 48 community-college transfer students.

Reflection on how learners engaged with a STEM practice during the inquiry:

Our goal is to help students appreciate that intermolecular chemical forces and dynamic interactions of macromolecules and substrates determine cellular functions. We were looking for defined and dynamic structure of

macromolecules, intermolecular forces between regions of macromolecules in a prokaryotic translation process. In addition, students demonstrated understanding that function is a product of both intermolecular forces and structure.

We asked students to make posters in which they depict as many chemical interactions and forces as they can. During investigation, we also monitored how students explored dynamic interactions, making hypothesis and testing them.

In the poster assessment we asked students to explain how two molecules interact with each other in certain ways. I have assessed three groups of students, each of which had 3 to 4 students. Their score could be 1 (sufficient

understanding). Most groups can articulate intermolecular forces and chemical structures of molecules. They struggled at first, especially in the starter, but became more engaged in making and testing hypothesis and use it to explain

the phenomena in the investigation. The dynamic of molecular structure is hard to reveal in our activities. There are two things we would do differently. First, we could choose a simpler starter activity instead of the complex tRNA

synthase machinery. Second, we may just focus on one step in the translation machinery to reduce the number of moving parts and spend more time to explore conformational changes.

Link to Hanh's activity summary.