Instructors incorporate a variety of activities that engage students in the learning experience, including case studies, student-led projects, and hands-on laboratory experiments.
Biology courses focus on understanding and appreciation of life through studying structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and sustainability of living organisms.
With the unique needs of international students in mind, courses are structured to be learner-centered, encourage independent learning, and advance critical thinking skills.
The Associate of Science degree serves as the foundation to transfer to a degree granting institution, and further pursue a career in environmental science, medicine, or research.
Students planning to transfer to a university to study biology are encouraged to follow the Flexible Pre-Major plan, and consult with the BC Transfer Guide for current information on transferable courses. The Flexible Pre-Major plan gives students useful information about the core courses that are transferable to receiving institutions in British Columbia.
Select a course below to see full descriptions. (#) Indicates amount of credits per course
Jasmine Hue (PhD, Graduate Certificate in Higher Education)
Dr Jasmine Hue is a passionate educator with experience in teaching undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Biotechnology, Molecular Biology and Genetics. Her research interest is in using innovative methods in teaching focusing primarily on gamification and holds 2 Intellectual Property (IP) for education games used in classroom. She received teaching awards from her previous university; Vice Chancellor Education Award 2018 and Pro-Vice Chancellor Award for Excellence in Education 2017 (Early Career Category) for her teaching excellence. Her goal is to make learning science fun again!
Mitra Panahi (PhD, MSc, BSc)
Dr. Panahi obtained her Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry from the University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. She was a recipient of Ph.D. award from the Genentech Pharmaceutical Company, California, USA. She was also awarded a Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Canadian Blood Services to perform research on blood coagulation proteins at the Centre for Blood Research of the University of British Columbia.
She has worked as a research associate at the University of Ottawa, University of British Columbia and Health Canada. She has many years of teaching experience teaching many biology courses in various colleges and universities in Ottawa and in Vancouver.
Dr. Panahi believes in involving students in “active learning”. That means that students will learn best if they are given the opportunity to express the concepts and ideas through discussion and experimentation.
To accomplish this goal, Dr. Panahi actively engages them in class participation and discussion in order for them to express their ideas to their peers in a professional and respectful way.
Michael Chua (PhD, BSc)
Dr. Chua received his BSc (Hons) in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from Simon Fraser University. Afterwards, he pursued his PhD in Biological Sciences from Simon Fraser University. His research focused on cellular microbiology and he published several papers on how specific bacteria like E. coli, Listeria, Salmonella and Klebsiella, change the shape of our cells when these bacteria infect our bodies. He also mentored several undergraduate students in doing research and several of them either published their work or presented their work at international conferences.
He then pursued teaching at various institutions in Vancouver and Burnaby where he created and taught a variety of courses from first year biology to third year microbiology. He focuses on giving students hands-on experience in the lab and is passionate about getting students curious about living organisms both in our environments and in the human body.
Sandra Pena-Diaz (PhD, BSc)
Dr. Sandra Pena-Diaz obtained her PhD in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC. During her PhD studies she discovered her passion for teaching and learned the importance of research-based teaching techniques, which she currently applies in her courses to guide students in their learning. Sandra joined Alexander College in September of 2022, where she is committed to help students succeed in their courses. One of her main objectives as an instructor is to always try to explain complex biological concepts in a way that everyone can understand. Prior to joining Alexander College, she taught Anatomy and Physiology at Vancouver Community College and Gene Regulation at the University of British Columbia.
Abigail Feresten (PhD, MSc, BA)
Dr. Feresten received an MSc in pharmacology from UBC and a PhD in neurodevelopment from SFU. Their PhD focused on the effects of specific genetic mutations on early brain development in C. Elegans, a microscopic roundworm, and the effect of these mutations on simple forms of learning.
Dr. Feresten has been a teacher’s assistant in a variety of neuroscience, genetics and biology courses at SFU since 2014, and joined Alexander College as a sessional instructor in winter of 2023. They teach Biol100. They love their new job.
“Each person has a unique framework connecting everything they know into an integrative understanding of reality; this is one’s worldview. When new knowledge is integrated, it can be applied in unanticipated contexts. Learning is not just the absorption of facts into your brain, but the integration of those facts into your worldview. The deepest challenge of learning lies in understanding how to fit that new knowledge into the larger framework of what you already know. My job, as a teacher, is to help students develop this critical skill, thus giving them agency over their own learning process. I do this by leaning into the inherent diversity of the classroom and developing an environment of creativity and bravery. At the heart of my teaching is my own deep-seated craving to integrate as much understanding of the world as I can. To model integrative learning, I myself must constantly be integrating the learning structures of every student I work with. This is the most important part of teaching: to learn together and, by doing so, to build something new.”
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