Using Protein Function Prediction to Promote Hypothesis-Driven Thinking in Undergraduate Biochemistry Education

Friday, March 24, 2017

Dr. Paul Craig

School of Chemistry & Materials Science

Rochester Institute of Technology

Dr. Paul CraigA team of twelve faculty members at eight institutions is developing a Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience where students are seeking to predict functions for proteins of unknown functions. In the past year, we have learned a great deal about the logistical aspects of implementing a CURE curriculum on a variety of campuses with widely varying resources. We have also discovered that we are experiencing emotional and intellectual challenges as we seek to answer three questions:

  1. Can we convert our research lab experience of developing scientists into a teaching lab setting?
  2. Can we develop methods to monitor student progress as scientists in the teaching lab?
  3. How can we as faculty members learn to help students think as scientists?


Paul Craig is the head of the School of Chemsitry & Materials Science at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY. Prior to joining the faculty at RIT, Dr. Craig obtained his Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry at the University of Michigan, where he worked with Dr. Eugene Dekker. He then did his postdoctoral work with Steven Olson at the Henry Ford Hospital. Dr. Craig is on the editoral board of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education, and he has served on the advisory panel for the Protein Data Bank.


  1. Hanson, B., et al. 2014 "Estimation of Protein Function Using Template-Based Alignment of Enzyme Active Sites." BMC Bioinformatics. 15: 87. (link)
  2. McKay, T. et al. 2015 "Annotation of Proteins of Unknown Function: Initial Enzyme Results." J. Struct. Funct. Genomics. 16: 43-54. (link)

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