Eric Chang, Ph.D., is responsible for two didactic courses in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. He teaches part of the Cellular Signaling course (320-425, 3 credits) one term each year in the spring. He is in charge of presenting G-protein signaling, the most thoroughly investigated signaling event which best illustrates how signal transduction works.
Students are asked to focus on learning the principles governing signal transduction but not to merely memorize fact. His lectures are built on examining landmark experiments because he believes these landmark experiments that the first glimpses of signaling appeared, and that it is critical for students to recognize that the drama of discovery is often made of small fairy tales. Dr. Chang stresses the process in which scientists formulated hypotheses and then designed the right experiments, using the proper tools, to test them. This is designed to stress the importance (and limitations) of the methods we use. The class ends in a session in which students discuss a current paper to see if they can use what they have learned to explore new directions in signaling on their own.
Dr. Chang also teaches Seminar in Molecular & Cellular Biology (320-466). Genetics and the use of the simplest genetic model system to study complex biological problems are not usually covered in depth in lectures. In addition, very few students use genetics in examining their ideas during the qualifying exams. Therefore landmark papers that use yeast systems to investigate complex issues in biology, such as cancer, prions, cell polarity, heterochromatin regulation and RNAi are chosen.
Besides teaching, Dr. Chang supervises three MCB and one CMB students for Ph.D. thesis, and he is on the thesis committee of three graduate students.
In addition to these duties at MCB, Dr. Chang also helps to organize the data review, journal club and the trainee retreat at the Breast Center.