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Jessamina Blum

Education Program Specialist // Managing Editor, CourseSource


Degrees earned

  • B.A., University of St. Catherine's
  • Ph.D., Cell and Molecular Biology, University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine

Curriculum Vitae

Research interests

Course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs); Scientific Teaching; Faculty and Future Faculty Development; Dissemination of Teaching Innovations

Awards and honors

  • National Academies Education Fellow in the Life Sciences
  • National Academies Education Mentor in the Life Sciences (2010 - Present)

Research statement

In my role as an assistant education specialist, I will have the opportunity to design and implement course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs) in several non-majors and introductory biology courses. I am interested in learning gains of the students related to content and science process skills as well as gains in overall confidence regarding science literacy. In this position, I will also be able to ask questions such as: How long does a CURE have to be to have the same beneficial effect? Does a computer based CURE reach the same level of benefit that a traditional “wet-lab” CURE has? What elements of a CURE result in a particular learning gain?

In my role as managing editor of the journal CourseSource, I am interested in determining what makes a curricular resource more likely to successfully be used by faculty and instructors.

Teaching statement

My goals as a science educator are fourfold: 1) Lead a student centered classroom where students participate in their own learning using a variety of active methods and assessments. 2) Foster a learning environment that encourages engagement with fellow students to create a diverse and rewarding experience. 3) Create well-informed “scientific citizens” that will be able to go out into their communities and speak intelligently and confidently about scientific issues. 4) Promote an environment of curiosity and excitement, one that mimics the process and “feel” of science done in laboratories

Favorite teaching innovation or approach

Think-Pair-Share: It is always amazing to me to witness the power of peer teaching and mentoring. With Think-Pair-Share, the instructor asks a question of the class, lets individuals think of an answer on their own, then asks the students to work in pairs (or groups) to formulate an answer and finally, asks the groups to report out their answer and reasoning behind it. The truly amazing aspect of this simple technique is when polled separately, the students will typically give a variety of answers, not all of them correct. After working with other students, you can see the variety of answers start to dwindle and shift to one or two, often correct, answers. All this happens without the instructor saying a word. This technique shows that there is a powerful tool for effective teaching and learning that exists right there in those lecture chairs.

Representative publications

Blum, J.E., Fischer, C.N., Miles, J., Handelsman, J. (2013) Frequent replenishment sustains the beneficial microbiome of Drosophila melanogaster.mBio 4(6):e00860-13. doi:10.1128/mBio.00860-13

Mason, K. L., Stepien, T. A., Blum, J. E., Holt, J. F., Labbe, N. H., Rush, J. S., Raffa, K. F., Handelsman, J. (2011) From commensal to pathogen: translocation of Enterococcus faecalis from the midgut to the hemocoel of Manduca sexta. MBio. 17;2(3).

Tilton, J. C., Wilen, C. B., Didigu, C., Sinha, R., Harrison, J. E., Agrawal-Gamse, C. A., Hrnninh E., Bushman, F. D., Deeks, S., Doms, R. W. (2010) A maraviroc-resistant HIV-1 with narrow cross-resistance to other CCR5 antagonists depends on both N-terminal and extracellular loop domains of drug-bound CCR5. Journal of Virology. 84(20): 10863-76.

Pfaff, J. M., Wilen, C. B., Harrison, J. E., Demarest, J. F., Lee, B., Doms, R. W., Tilton, J. C. (2010) HIV-1 resitance to CCR5 antagonists associated with highly efficient use of CCR5 and altered tropism on primary CD4+ T cells. Journal of Virology. 84(13): 6505-14.

Harrison, J. E., Lynch J. B., Sierra, L-J., Blackburn, L. A., Ray, N., Collman, R. G. and Doms, R. W. (2008) Baseline resistance of primary Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 strains to the CXCR4 inhibitor AMD3100. Journal of Virology. 82(23): 11695-704.

Ray, N., Harrison, J. E., Blackburn, L. A., Martin, J. N., Deeks, S. G. and Doms, R. W. (2007) Clinical Resistance to Enfuvirtide does not affect susceptibility of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 to other classes of entry inhibitors. Journal of Virology. 81(7): 3240-50.

Culyba, M. J., Harrison, J. E., Hwang, Y. and Bushman, F. D. (2006) DNA Cleavage by the A22R Resolvase of Vaccinia Virus. Virology. 352(2): 466-76.

Recent presentations, invited seminars and workshops

Invitation to attend “Education Foo Camp”, a multidisciplinary discussion of STEM education, organized by Google, Macmillan Learning, O’Reilly Media, Scientific American, Sesame Street and the US Department of Education; Mountain View CA, 2016

Introducing CourseSource: a peer-reviewed, open-access journal developed in partnership with scientific societies that published evidence-based resources for teaching undergraduate biology; American Society for Plant Biologists Annual Meeting, Minneapolis, MN, 2015

CourseSource: a journal for publishing evidence-based teaching resources, GCAT-SEEK workshop, Lycoming College, 2014

CourseSource Writing Workshop, University of Minnesota, 2014

Professional experience

  • University of Minnesota, College of Biological Sciences - Department of Biology Teaching and Learning (2015 - Present)
  • University of Minnesota, College of Biological Sciences - Managing Editor, CourseSource (2013 - Present)
  • Yale University, Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology - Postdoctoral Associate (2010 - 2013)
  • Yale University, Center for Scientific Teaching - Postdoctoral Fellow, HHMI Teaching Fellow (2010 - 2013)

Professional service

  • Advisory Board, National Academies Scientific Teaching Alliance
  • National Academies Education Mentor in the Life Sciences

5-220 Moos
515 Delaware Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455