Professor Makes Learning about Cell Biology Fun at the Island University

Published: October 28, 2013

Professor Makes Learning about Cell Biology Fun at the Island University

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Students had an opportunity to express their creative side during their Cell Biology class held on Friday, Oct. 25.

Dr. Xavier Gonzales, Postdoctoral Research Associate and Professor of Cell Biology at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, gave extra credit to students who came up with a song about the “central dogma” theory of molecular biology. The “central dogma” theory is a basis for understanding the transfer of sequence information from DNA to RNA to proteins.

“The theory explains fundamental processes going on in our body,” said Gonzales. “If a student can express the idea of 'central dogma' to other students, they will be able to retain the information better.”

Several groups of students performed their parodies in front of the class. One group handed out Twizzlers candy to the class to signify DNA. They also played a video of themselves singing “Transcribed Lines” to the tune of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.” Recorded all over campus, the video taught the class how DNA is replicated. During the presentations, the students were entertained, involved, and were able to more easily retain the information.

“If I get stuck on a question during a test, I can remember these catchy songs and it could help me get the answer,” said Jamal McBride, a senior biology major.

Gonzales believes the best way of teaching is through many interactive activities like the parodies performed by students. The class generally consists of 25 minutes of lecture followed by students engaging in thought-provoking and interactive discussions.

“I can tell that Dr. Gonzales really cares about his students and I like his enthusiasm,” said McBride. “I really enjoy this class.”

Gonzales works on campus with Dr. Magesh Thiyagarajan in the Plasma Engineering Research Lab and teaches Graduate Seminar, as well as a course in Genomics, Proteomics, and Bioinformatics.