Office Address

1479 Gortner Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55108
United States



Teaching Associate Professor
Biology Teaching and Learning

Research statement

A large part of my teaching focuses on creating research opportunities for students in the context of a laboratory course. My research interests relate to best practices and strategies for providing these opportunities to a large number of students. I want to know what factors contribute most to an engaging research experience where students develop a variety of scientific skills in a challenging yet supportive environment. I am also interested in the impact of course-based research experiences on the students themselves and on their future endeavors.

Selected publications

Ren Y., C. Kirkpatrick, J.M. Rawson, M. Sun, S.B. Selleck (2009) “Cell-type specific requirements for heparan sulfate biosynthesis at the Drosophila NMJ: effects on synapse function, membrane trafficking and mitochondrial localization” J. Neurosci. 29: 8539-8550

Williams B, G. Leung, H. Maiato, A. Wong, Z. Li, E.V. Williams, C. Kirkpatrick, C.F. Aquadro, C.L. Rieder, M.L. Goldberg (2007) “Mitch, a rapidly evolving component of the Ndc80 kinetochore complex required for correct chromosome segregation in Drosophila” J. Cell Sci. 120: 3522-3533

Kirkpatrick, C.A. and S.B. Selleck (2007) “Heparan sulfate proteoglycans at a glance” J. Cell Sci.: 120: 1829-1832 (invited review)

*Kirkpatrick, C.A., *S.M. Knox, W.D. Staatz, B. Fox, D.M. Lercher and S.B. Selleck (2006) “The function of a Drosophila glypican does not depend entirely on heparan sulfate modification” Dev. Biol. 300: 570-582. (*contributed equally)

Kirkpatrick, C.A., B.D. Dimitroff, J.M. Rawson and S.B. Selleck (2004) “Spatial regulation of Wingless morphogen distribution and signaling by Dally-like protein” Dev. Cell 7: 513-23.

*Simcha, I., *C. Kirkpatrick, E. Sadot, M. Shtutman, G. Polevoy, B. Geiger, M. Peifer and A. Ben-Ze’ev (2001) “Cadherin sequences that inhibit ß-catenin signaling: a study in yeast and mammalian cells” Mol. Biol. Cell 12: 1177-1188. (*contributed equally)

Education and background

Degrees earned

  • PhD in Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1994: Analysis of the Yeast Transcriptional Regulator LEU3; Paul Schimmel, advisor
  • BSc in Biochemistry, University of Toronto, 1987

BioSketch | Curriculum Vitae

Research interests

Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences; Scientific Teaching; Team-based Learning

Awards and honors

  • National Academies Education Mentor in the Life Sciences, 2012-2014
  • National Cancer Institute of Canada Junior Research Fellowship, 1996-1999

Teaching statement

In my teaching, I aim to give students experience in doing authentic scientific work. Doing that work builds their scientific skills and understanding of biology, as evidenced by a large body of educational research. Laboratory courses, in particular, offer many opportunities to develop practical skills and truly participate in the scientific process. To give an authentic research experience, lab courses must operate at the frontiers of knowledge so that students have the opportunity to discover new information through their work. I hope my students will also practice effective collaboration, recognizing the wide variety of talents they and others bring to a project, and appreciate the importance of writing as part of the scientific research process.

Favorite teaching innovation or approach

I like to use group quizzes to foster collaboration between students in the classroom. I vary the types of questions and quiz formats depending on the learning goals for the class session. Typically the questions relate to other course activities and involve problem solving or using resources available to working scientists. Some quizzes primarily reinforce important concepts, while others give students opportunities to practice useful skills. Working together encourages peer learning and allows students to successfully tackle challenging problems.

Courses taught

  • BIOL 2003 – Foundations of Biology II: Cell Biology
  • BIOL 2004/3004 – Foundations of Biology II Laboratory
  • BIOL 4994 – Directed Research
  • GCD 6103 – Human Histology
  • BIOL 1905 – Freshman seminar (Evolutionary Developmental Biology)
  • BIO 255 - Genetics (Augsburg College)

Recent presentations, invited seminars and workshops

Scaling Up and Working Across Institutions, panelist, CUREnet Conference on Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experiences, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, 2014

Undergraduate Summer Research Experience for CBS transfer students, supervisor, 2013

BIOL 2004 Active Learning Laboratory, supervisor/instructor, 2012

Professional experience

University of Minnesota, College of Biological Sciences

  • Teaching Assistant Professor, Department of Biology Teaching and Learning (2014 – present)
  • Teaching Assistant Professor, Biology Program (2010 – 2014)
  • Research Associate and Assistant Professor, Department of Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development (2000 – 2010)

University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill

  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Biology (Mark Peifer, Advisor)

Professional service

  • Reviewer, CourseSource, 2014
  • National Academies Northstar Summer Institute facilitator, 2012-2014
  • HHMI Course-based Research Experiences workshop facilitator, Hope College, 2013

Current grants

  • National Science Foundation, Integrated Science Education for Discovery in Introductory Biology (InSciED-In), Co-PI, 2014-2019: $1,900,000 (focus on providing authentic research experiences for undergraduates)