This post is meant to inform those unable to attend the Dolan DNA Learning Center workshop at the Stowers Institute on Genes to Cognition. This is a site that you will want to delve into when you have a bit of time on your hands. Well, that is if you are interested in learning and teaching about the connect between genes, cognitive behaviors, and their related brain disorders.
The student-friendly essential question that this site helps students and teachers to explore is, “What good is a brain?”
In all honesty, the site reminds me of Thomas Huxley’s book The Crayfish through which he demonstrates that the subject of zoology could be taught via a single model organism.
In a similar manner, Genes to Cognition facilitates the teaching of biology at all levels of complexity, from the molecular communication networks of our cells to the behaviors that emerge from their collective actions. At the same time, students will realize that there are numerous unanswered scientific questions awaiting research.
Having had little time to digest the material presented, I currently don’t know where I will integrate Genes to Cognition into my courses but “What good is a brain?” it is quite an appropriate question for students to ask and begin to explore. The site is presented from a perspective that, on one hand acknowledges the importance of the reductionist approach, while fostering the burgeoning systems based perspective.