The coronavirus has had a huge impact on Daniel E. Lieberman’s class on human evolution and human health. And not just because it’s upended the lives of his 91 students and moved the lecture course online.
The virus is now a major class topic and a routine focus of lesson plans and discussions. That has helped both him and his students process the crisis and engage in real-world learning, said the Edwin M. Lerner II Professor of Biological Science. And he isn’t alone in thinking how to incorporate it into the curriculum.
“You could ask: How could we not?” said Mark Fishman, professor of stem cell and regenerative biology. “COVID-19 is changing the landscape of everything that we value completely.”
Fishman and others are in the early stages of planning a new course on the novel coronavirus. It would be for the newly launched M.S./M.B.A. Biotechnology: Life Sciences program. The program offers a joint degree from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the Business School, the Medical School, and the Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
The new course will focus on the biology and medicine around SARS-CoV-2, the official name of the virus that causes COVID-19. If the lab course currently planned for the summer is delayed, this course could take its place.
“The plan would be to focus on the virus, its interaction with cells, and the therapeutic, epidemiological, and ethical challenges of the pandemic,” Fishman said. “The implications are profound, current, important, and emotionally gripping, and of direct relevance to anyone planning a career in biomedicine.”