Research on Evolution Education and Contributions to Scientific Communication:
During my Ph.D. in microbiology and evolutionary biology, I have been surprised to find that these fields remain largely separated during undergraduate instruction and research communication. Additionally, much research has identified misinformation about and lack of acceptance of evolution among the general public. To understand the basis of these problems in microbiology and identify ways to improve microbial evolution education, I have focused on classroom change and evolutionary applications for students’ future careers. Via the MSU Future Academic Scholars in Teaching program, I conducted an IRB-approved study to introduce evolutionary concepts and experimental evolution into an upper-level undergraduate microbiology course. I found that the study participants had high acceptance of microbial evolution but highly variable knowledge about how evolution works (Burmeister and Smith 2015 conference abstract,). To improve access to instructional resources, I wrote a review on microbial evolution education (Burmeister and Smith 2016), also presented at two conferences (Burmeister and Smith 2014, Burmeister and Smith 2015). I also focus on science communication more generally and have a peer-reviewed brief review on horizontal gene transfer written for a medical professional audience (Burmeister 2015), and have authored a comment on proposed legislation, where I point out a loophole in agricultural antibiotic use (Burmeister and Heilbron, 2015 Docket No. FDA–2012–N–0447; 0910–AG45]. Review articles:
Burmeister, A. and Smith, J. 2016. Evolution across the curriculum: Microbiology. Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education. 17(2):252-260; DOI:10.1128/jmbe.v17i2.988
Burmeister, A. Horizontal Gene Transfer. Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health. 2015; doi:10.1093/emph/eov018.
Burmeister, A., Lenski, R., and Smith, J. Integration of evolution into an undergraduate microbial genetics laboratory course: student perceptions and explanations of microbial evolution. Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning Forum; 2015; College Station, TX.
Burmeister, A., Lenski, R., and Smith, J. Assessing student perceptions and explanations of microbial evolution. Evolution Conference; 2014; Raleigh, NC.