Brown university provides wonderful opportunities to interact with excellent undergraduates and graduate students in the classroom. With Brown’s proud tradition of excellence and emphasis on undergraduate and graduate education, Dr. Salomon interacts with a wide array of exceptional students as they develop into scientists. Dr. Salomon’s primary role is as a partner in exploration to reveal both the intricacies and beauty of nature and to solidify in students’ minds the experimental approaches necessary to further understand the natural world.

Dr. Salomon’s pedagogical goals at Brown within the classroom have centered upon developing teaching methodology for effective instruction in basic undergraduate biochemistry as well as graduate instruction in interpretation of the primary scientific literature. This methodology was tested in both a lecture course in undergraduate Biochemistry (Bio 28, Spring 2006/7/8/9/10/11/12) and a seminar course  (Bio221, Fall 2006/7/8/9) both team taught with Professor Gerwald Jogl from the MCB department

Bio28-Introductory Biochemistry (http://bi28.info/)

BI0028 is a broad course that seeks to introduce students to the fundamentals of biochemistry. Students attending the course are primarily sophomores, although juniors and seniors attend in smaller numbers. Over five years that Dr. Salomon has participated in this course, 1037 undergraduate students have attended.  Although the level of this class is very introductory, it is kept up to date by incorporating an introduction to powerful new technologies such as modern proteomics, genomics, and structural biology. The ultimate goal is for the students to both appreciate the fundamentals of biochemistry as well as be introduced to standard and breakthrough biochemical techniques to engage their curiosity and interest in the topic.

The format of the course is 23 class lectures with weekly TA led conference sections. In Spring 2006, this course was team taught by Dr. Kim Mowry, Dr. Gerwald Jogl, and Dr. Salomon. In 2007-10, the course was taught by just Dr. Jogl and Dr. Salomon.  Each week, the students prepared for the lecture by completing reading assignments in their course textbooks, Lehninger “Principles of Biochemistry”. Students then tested their comprehension of the material by working the textbook and supplemental problem sets. To test student comprehension of the material, students received 3 midterm examinations and 1 final examination. The students also were encouraged to attend weekly discussion sections lead by TAs to review the material and ask questions as well as weekly professor office hours. During conference sections, the TAs reemphasized essential concepts and went over assigned problems.

Innovation in student instruction and interaction

Although introductory biochemistry is typically a two semester course at many top-ranked universities, at Brown University the same material is covered in a single semester. Feedback from students in the past has reflected a deep sense of being overwhelmed with the pace and quantity of material that they must learn in a single semester. In response to this general concern Dr. Salomon pioneered the use of a variety of new tools such as lecture video capture and streaming, lecture podcasts, an online class discussion board, development of a relational database for electronic distribution of graded exams for timely feedback to the students, and an electronic clicker system for in class quizzing. These electronic enhanced learning tools assist students in their comprehension of the material to keep up with the rapid pace of this course. After prototyping this new form of instructional technology for a few years within this class, Brown University now provides a commercial solution for lecture capture called Echo360.

Bio221-Current Topics in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

This graduate level course is team taught by two MCB professors, Dr. Gerwald Jogl, and Dr. Salomon. BI0221 is a seminar-formatted class with the broad topic of molecular mechanisms in signal transduction. The primary goal of this course is to develop skills for critical reading of original research and the ability to convey those ideas to others. A secondary goal is to provide students with an opportunity to gain experience in written and oral presentation. All students actively participated in discussions, and provided critical feedback to the presenter on their presentation skills. Students prepared NIH formatted grant proposals and then ran an NIH-style study section to evaluate the other students written assignments. Through group discussion of the primary scientific literature, students gained useful skills of critical review and gained experience in public speaking, skills critical in their graduate studies in science. An effort was made to encourage the active participation of every student in the class, with extra encouragement given students abstaining from class discussion.

Teaching outside of the classroom

In addition to teaching these core classes along with ad hoc lectures delivered in a total of 11 other graduate and undergraduate classes on the topic of Dr. Salomon’s research expertise in biological mass spectrometry, Dr. Salomon has mentored a total of 6 graduate students, 3 masters students, 15 undergraduate students, and 7 technicians within his research lab. He has also served on 17 graduate student committees for students in a variety of labs across the university. So far, three Salomon lab graduate students, Kebing Yu, Lulu Cao, and Vinh Nguyen have successfully defended their PhD theses.