Newman Lab: Genetics and Molecular Biology Education Research

Dina L. Newman, Ph.D.


Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences

Rochester Institute of Technology

Rochester, NY

The Newman lab investigates student understanding of biology concepts, particularly those related to genetics and molecular biology. Genetic mechanisms are difficult for learners since they are only indirectly observable, and we must rely on abstract or simplistic visual representations to build mental models of complex processes. We are thus interested in uncovering how experts and novices differ in their conceptions, as well as developing ways to more effectively lead learners to expert-like thinking.

Areas of active research include:

1. Qualitative research to investigate student conceptions/mental models of key topics,

2. Development of models to explain why students struggle with material,

3. Development of assessment instruments to probe student understanding and measure learning,

4. Development of activities to improve learning/understanding,

5. Studying and promoting cultural change around diversity and inclusion in STEM Education.