In the Classroom
Lecturer at HMx, Microbiology and Immunobiology (2016)
Lecturer and Curriculum Fellow, Microbiology and Immunobiology (2014-2016)
Instructor, Harvard Extension School (2015)
Instructor, Emerson College (2012, 2014)
Teaching Fellow Positions, Harvard (2009-2014)
Teaching Assistant Positions, UCSD (2004-2006)
Tutoring, Breyer's Branches (2005-2008)
Kevin S. Bonham and Melanie Stefan. “Gender disparity in computational biology research publications.” In review - PLoS Comp. Biol. (2016) Preprint - http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/070631
I'm incredibly interested in increasing the representation of women and under represented minorities in STEM, particularly in computational biology. But to do this, we need to understand the forces leading to that under representation. There's a lot of great work being done in STEM fields generally, but I had not seen any work in computational biology in particular. This interdisciplinary field is intriguing since, though women are under represented in all STEM disciplines, the distribution of women is unequal. For example, over half of PhD recipients in the biosciences, but only 20% of computer science PhDs are earned by women.
As my research shows, computational biology lies somewhere in the middle, at least as measured by research publications. But the fact that women are using computer science in biology to a greater extent than in computer science maybe points a way forward.
Plagues and Pandemics - Emerson College, 2012 and 2014
Emerson College specializes in teaching all forms of communications, from art to broadcasting to marketing, but there are no science majors. Plagues is one of a few courses, often taught by adjunct faculty, that students may take to fulfill their science requirement. Knowing that in many cases, the students were forced to be there, I strove to design the course in a way that invited excitement, connected the content to students' lives, and gave them a stake in the learning. As a final project, I had students research and prepare a presentation in any communication medium they chose, from songs to plays. One group of students even mounted a social media campaign.
Methods in Basic and Clinical Immunology - Harvard Medical School, 2014-2015
When I first heard about the new Masters of Medical Science program in immunology in early 2014, and was asked for suggestions on new courses to develop, my first thought was a course on methods. Not only individual techniques like FACS or ELISAs, but also on experimental philosophy and design. What makes a good scientific question? Once you have a question, how do you test hypotheses? During my graduate training, no one asked these questions out loud, and it took me many years of struggle before I was even aware that they were worth asking. But I now believe they're a fundamental part of the scientific process, and should be explicitly so.
In Methods, students are exposed to many different techniques used in immunology labs, from RNAseq to FACS, from CRISPR to intravital microscopy, and are instructed by Ph.D. students that use these tools every day in the lab. We focus explicitly on the uses, but also the limitations of each technique, and students are provided with real data to analyze and interpret. As a final project, students must write a three aim grant proposal for their own thesis lab, and other students read and critique their peers.
Viruses: Molecular Machines Persisting at the Boundaries of Life - Harvard Extension School, 2015
I inherited this course from Joya Mukerji, a former curriculum fellow in Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology. I adapted her syllabus to focus a bit less on basic virology, and instead focus on the interplay between virus biology and host immune systems. We explored how viruses work by looking at the ways that the immune system attempts to defend against them, and how viruses have evolved to evade those defenses.