Dr. Catherine L. Drennan

Professor and Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Professor of Chemistry and Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
A.B., Chemistry, Vassar College
Ph.D., Biochemistry, University of Michigan

E-mail: cdrennan <at> mit <dot> edu

Professor Cathy Drennan was named an HHMI Professor in 2006 and awarded a $1 million grant to fund her educational initiatives for “Getting Biologists Excited about Chemistry”. She became the first HHMI Professor to also be named an HHMI Investigator, and in 2010 she was one of thirteen professors nationwide to have her HHMI Professor grant renewed through 2014. Professor Drennan’s educational initiatives include creating free resources for educators that help students recognize the underlying chemical principles in biology and medicine, and that train graduate student TAs and mentors to be effective teacher-scholars. She has developed and assessed dozens of in-class examples for general chemistry lectures that relate chemistry to inspiring topics in biology, medicine, or MIT research, and she is currently working on a set of accompanying 2-minute videos that illustrate the “faces of chemistry” at MIT. Other recent work includes the creation of a training manual to address stereotype threat and diversity issues in the classroom. Prof. Drennan was once a high school science and drama teacher, and she currently teaches freshmen chemistry (5.111) and Practical Macromolecular Crystallography (5.78).

Related websites:

Biology and Medicine Related Examples for General Chemistry Lectures by Taylor and Drennan (2010)
MedEdPORTAL URL: http://www.mededportal.org/publication/8080

Selected education-related publications:

Anderson, WA, Drennan, CL, Banerjee, U, Elgin, SCR, Epstein, IR, Handelsman, J, Hatfull, GF, Losick, R, O’Dowd, DK, Olivera, BM, Strobel, SA, Walker, GC, Warner, IM (2011) Changing the Culture of Science Education at Research Universities. Science 331, 152-153. View PDF

Taylor, EMV, Drennan, CL (2010) Redox Chemistry and Hydrogen Bonding in Drug Design: Using Human Health Examples to Inspire your High School Chemistry Students, Chem 13 News 376, 8-10. View PDF

Taylor, EV, Fortune JA, Drennan, CL (2010) A Research-Inspired Laboratory Sequence Investigating Acquired Drug Resistance. Biochem. Mol. Biol. Educ. 38(4), 247-252. View PDF

Taylor, EV, Mitchell, R, Drennan, CL (2009) Creating an Interdisciplinary Introductory Chemistry Course Without Time-Intensive Curriculum Changes. ACS Chem. Biol. 4(12), 979-982. View PDF

Taylor, EMV, Mitchell, R, Drennan, C (2009) A TA Training Bootcamp Reinforces Curriculum Innovations and Improves the Recitation Experience in Freshman Chemistry. MIT Faculty Newsletter XXI(4), 22-24. View PDF

Taylor, EV, Mitchell, R, Drennan, CL (2007) Bringing the Excitement of Biological Research into the Chemistry Classroom at MIT. ACS Chem. Biol. 2(8), 515-517. View PDF


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