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Michael Vershinin Lab

I have now taught a wide variety of classes, from a large introductory class with ~300 students to small advanced classes on specialized topics, and a few classes in between. I very much enjoy teaching and communicating with students. I am committed to advancing science education and I believe that teaching advances can happen in any subject, including well established courses and disciplines.

In the Spring of 2014, I received a University of Utah Teaching Grant to advance the teaching of PHYS 4420 Classical Physics: Electromagnetism. One of the key problems encountered in such an advanced class is that extensive derivations using the full power of vector calculus sometimes decouple the students from what all the equations really mean. At the same time, the rigor of the subject matter cannot be compromised and the pace of the class cannot be substantially reduced. To address this dilemma, Comsol simulations were developed specifically for the course and were used to interactively illustrate many of the key concepts which are otherwise hard to visualize. This effort has produced a lasting enhancement to existing teaching material within the department and will impact the teaching of PHYS 4420 (and likely other classes) for years to come.

I am also working hard to help develop the Biological Physics curriculum at the University of Utah. As a member of the Biophysics Program taskforce within the Physics & Astronomy department, I have put in a lot of effort developing our vision for Biological Physics education. I have also developed a new course on the functioning of cytoskeletal molecular motors and another course on the use of molecular motors in nanotechnology is currently under development.

Molecular Motors ( PHYS 4230/6230/6231 )

Syllabus: This course provides an overview of microtubule- and actin-based motors: their structure, their function (including topics of motor regulation), and the quantitative approaches used to study and model motor activity. The class will outline the biological context of motor activity, discuss motor families and details of their mechano-chemical activity, and further cover measurement and modeling techniques as well as related advanced topics.