Amin's background in electrical engineering makes him unique among his fellow HHMI postdoctoral teaching fellows. As a Ph.D. student at the University of California (Berkeley), he was interested in the application of electrical engineering concepts to genetically engineer bacteria with predictable, quantitative behavior.
His passion to teach and long-term goal of teaching at an academic institution led him to the HHMI science education program at the University of Minnesota. Amin had a good deal of teaching experience and wished to continue to grow as an educator. In addition to having been the head teaching assistant, Amin was the instructor for biotechnology and electrical engineering courses at Berkeley.
Amin's engineering background is reflected in his teaching philosophy. He believes challenging students to 'build' things (such as genetically engineered bacteria) generates a sense of ownership. "It provides students with the opportunity to produce something tangible with their knowledge and ideas. It allows students to be creative and to use their imagination to bring to life things that have real applications."
While Amin was an HHMI postdoc, he worked with Jeff Gralnick in an advisory role to a team of undergraduates working on a project for the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition. iGEM participants are given a kit of biological parts that they must use to design and build biological systems that operate in living cells.
Amin was recently offered a faculty position. Prior to the start of his faculty appointment, he will be heading back to Berkeley to teach an electrical engineering course over the summer. He is very excited about these opportunities.