HSCRB faculty member Ya-Chieh Hsu, Ph.D., the Alvin and Esta Star Associate Professor of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, has received Harvard’s Roslyn Abramson Award for excellence and sensitivity in undergraduate teaching. Since 2016, her course “From Cells to Tissues, in Sickness and in Health” (SCRB 145) has inspired students to connect biological principles in a meaningful way.
“When designing the course, I wanted to bring more cell biology to HSCRB. There’s ‘stem cell’ in the department name, but most courses focused on the tissues and organs of the body, not what happens on the intracellular level,” said Hsu.
By blending concepts from cell, developmental, and stem cell biology, Hsu covers a wide range of themes in different tissues. After discussing the biological principles responsible for making and maintaining tissues, the class considers how diseases arise when the principles go awry.
Most importantly, the course emphasizes critical thinking skills. Hsu engages students to think carefully about correlation and causation, and leads them through the process of experimental design, data analysis, and drawing proper conclusions based on evidence.
“My goal is to help students connect the dots between these different aspects of biology, and foster their ability to think and make decisions based on evidence,” Hsu said. “I want them to build a solid foundation for the next stage of their careers, whether it’s medical school, graduate school, or another opportunity.”