My teaching career began in December 2007 as a part-time lecturer when I started a two-year assignment teaching genetics, statistics, and plants breeding to undergraduate students of Azad University, Tehran, Iran. Later, as a Postdoctoral fellow at IPM, I introduced the institute’s first-hand workshop on gene expression analysis workshop. This course was offered through the school of biological science to students from other departments or even universities. The workshop continued to be offered at IPM even after my departure. I also helped to organize an ongoing seminar follows a journal club format with the recruitment of several junior faculty members in the school of biological sciences, and I helped presenters organize their talks every session.
Since joining to the Weill Cornell Medical College in 2017, I have been training myself in teaching a few potential courses for the future plan, for example, the “Statistical and Computational Genomics” which provides a survey of bioinformatics methodologies and teaches about the application of particular bioinformatics softwares. I also design two courses such as “R programming for expression analysis” and “Python for Biologists” for students with a background in biology. In these courses, I teach the students who need coding tutor for learning these languages to do their own projects in system biology and machine learning fields, respectively.
In the future, I would like to continue to encourage students with varying backgrounds (more computational and more biological) to participate in the same courses. In my experience, students in a computational biology course learn a lot by interacting with one another, across traditional disciplinary boundaries. Hence, I envision an introductory course followed by more specialized courses on machine learning in computational biology and high-throughput sequencing analysis.
By involving my students in my own research, I provide them with opportunities to learn and develop logical thinking habits and independent learning skills. As a mentor, I try to create as close to an independent research environment as possible for students by carving out complete research projects for them and allowing appropriate amounts of space to learn from their mistakes. I enjoy teaching because of the opportunity to connect with people and share my love of computational biology. I’d also like to integrate ideas I’ve learned through these experiences in coordination with student feedback to come up with innovative strategies for teaching computational biology at the university level.
Finally, I would like to continue to refine my teaching skills by pursuing formal training opportunities that feature pedagogical issues. I hope to continue taking courses similar to those I have had at Rockefeller University (such as 2018 Tri-I Launching Undergraduate Science Teaching Careers) in the future. I hold myself to the same standards that I hold my students. That is, I strive to become a skilled thinker and learner, and I believe that this process is life-long.