School of engineering in Physics, Applied Physics, Electronics & Materials
Marianne WEIDENHAUPT, researcher at the “Laboratoire des matériaux et du génie physique” (LMGP) and lecturer at G-INP Phelma describes the advantages students have to be taught by researchers from the 11 labs affiliated with Phelma.
I am 45 years old, was born in Luxembourg and studied molecular and cell biology at the ETH in Zurich, Switzerland. I stayed in Zurich to do a PhD in bacterial genetics, and worked on the genetic regulation of nitrogen fixation in Rhizobiaceae.
I then moved to Grenoble to do postdoctoral studies at the CEA and EMBL and joined G-INP in 2006. I teach biology at Phelma and work as a researcher on the molecular interactions between materials and cells or proteins at LMGP.
How can you use your research work for your teaching activities?
You can grasp the complexity of a living cell by studying the theories and concepts describing its parts or mechanisms of action. But illustrative examples make you understand how they really work. In my research on the stability of proteins in contact with material surfaces, I find these examples: they reveal for instance the dynamics of proteins, a fundamental concept of the function of these molecules. For me practical work, where students can handle cells and molecules, is particularly important for a good education in biology. Project work can be based on my ongoing research projects, like the study of protein aggregation mechanisms or cell adherence on material surfaces. This allows the researchers to test new ideas and provides the students with a hands-on research task in which they can apply their knowledge. Our research collaborations also allow us to develop our educational programs: with the help of researchers from the G2Elab and Institut Néel, we have put together a practical training combining microfluidics and micromagnets for the manipulation of molecules and cells.
What are the advantages for a student to be taught by a researcher?
Combining teaching with research gives you the unique possibility to go beyond theories and models and propose projects and internships to the students so that they can be directly involved with ongoing science. It is also a source of motivation to encourage students to develop their own research projects and participate in international competitions, like iGEM, in the field of synthetic biology. Not to the least, the scientific network of the researcher is often a source of inspiration for the orientation and future professional carrier of the students.
What are you teaching, in which scientific domain and to students of which track ?
I teach molecular and cell biology, immunology and DNA and protein sensor techniques at the Master I and II levels in the tracks SMPB, Biomedical Engineering and Nanotech at Phelma. I also give overview courses in Biotechnology and Microsystems applied to Biomedicine at the bachelor level. Finally I participate in outreach teaching programs promoting scientific education with highschool students (Nano@school, Découverte Ingénieur) or the general public (Parvis de la Science) and I am one of the instructors of the Grenoble iGem team.
Date of update December 20, 2012