Commentary | Published:

Challenge your teaching

Nature Structural & Molecular Biology volume 11, pages 1619 (2004) | Download Citation


Twenty-first century research in the life sciences is becoming an increasingly interdisciplinary endeavor where teams of scientists use tools and insights from a variety of fields to solve complex biological problems. By and large, our educational system has not kept up with these changes. How can science education and the life sciences curriculum better reflect the way students will do science when they leave the hallowed halls of academia?

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1.

    Committee on Undergraduate Science Education. Transforming undergraduate education in science, mathematics, engineering and technology (National Research Council publication no. 113, National Academies Press, Washington, DC, 1999).

  2. 2.

    The Boyer Commission on Educating Undergraduates in the Research University. Reinventing undergraduate education: a blueprint for America's research universities (Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Menlo Park, California, USA, 1998).

  3. 3.

    Committee on Undergraduate Biology Education to Prepare Research Scientists for the 21st Century. Bio2010—Transforming Undergraduate Education for Future Research Biologists (National Academies Press, Washington, DC, 2003).

  4. 4.

    Int. J. Dev. Biol. 47, 213–221 (2003).

  5. 5.

    , , , & J. Chem. Ed. 79, 837–844 (2002).

  6. 6.

    & Biochem. Mol. Biol. Ed. 30, 224–231 (2002).

Download references


I would like to thank several colleagues, especially M. Ares, E. Hegg and J. de Paula, for critically reading an advance copy of the manuscript. In addition, I would like to note that there are several high-quality interdisciplinary programs being planned or implemented across the country; space constraints precluded discussing more than just a few examples. This work was supported in part by a grant from the US National Institutes of Health (GM-65430). A.L.F. is a Cottrell Scholar of Research Corporation.

Author information


  1. The author is at the Department of Chemistry, Indiana University, 800 E. Kirkwood Avenue, Bloomington, Indiana 47405, USA.

    • Andrew L Feig


  1. Search for Andrew L Feig in:

About this article

Publication history



Newsletter Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing