Dr. Todd P. Primm
Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Baylor College of Medicine
Office: Life Sciences Building 300G
Phone: (936) 294-1546
I currently have three major research interests.
My first and predominant interest is in science education, and how teaching and learning works. I’ve developed and published several exercises to support active learning and worked with a national team to develop a Concept Inventory for general microbiology. One current project is exploring how faculty-student out-of-class communications, mostly office hours, affects student learning and persistence and faculty job satisfaction. I’ve launched a newer project on metacognition (how students think about their own learning) and how faculty can build and enhance student metacognition.
My second interest is in biological chemistry, utilizing small molecules as tools to understand and explore biological systems. This work is early drug discovery as well. Students working with me have screened chemicals for antibacterial activities, and for ability to inhibit and/or reverse phototaxis in Chlamydomonas (with Dr. Gaillard). We are currently using the compounds to put yeast into a condition of stasis to make a model system to study aging at the cellar level.
My third interest is in how the microbiome (community of all microbes on a human) recovers after disruption. A microbiome is a microbial ecosystem, and the bodies of animals, including humans, are ecosystems that are inhabited by thousands of species of bacteria, as well as other microbes. For example, humans can take an antibiotic that will kill many members of the microbiome and disrupt the community. Often the human patient is fine, but sometimes the microbiome does not recover well and negative side effects, such as diarrhea or colitis, happen. We currently don’t know enough about the microbiome to predict or control what happens. My lab developed the skin mucus microbiome of Gambusia affinis, the western mosquitofish, as a new model system.