William B Wood

William B Wood
University of Colorado Boulder | CUB · Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology (MCDB)

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171
Publications
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Publications

Publications (171)
Article
Genetics teaching at the undergraduate level has changed in many ways over the past century. Compared to those of 100 years ago, contemporary genetics courses are broader in content and are taught increasingly differently, using instructional techniques based on educational research and constructed around the principles of active learning and backw...
Article
THE Genetics Society of America's Elizabeth W. Jones Award for Excellence in Education recognizes significant and sustained impact on genetics education. As well as having made major contributions to biochemistry and developmental genetics, the 2016 awardee William B. Wood has been a pioneer in the reform of science teaching. Wood's leadership has...
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Measuring students' conceptual understandings has become increasingly important to biology faculty members involved in evaluating and improving departmental programs. We developed the Molecular Biology Capstone Assessment (MBCA) to gauge comprehension of fundamental concepts in molecular and cell biology and the ability to apply these concepts in n...
Article
By the 6-cell stage, embryos of C. elegans are morphologically L-R asymmetric with an invariant handedness that persists throughout development. We used intracellular markers to ask whether breaking of L-R symmetry could be observed at earlier stages. Observation of 2-3-cell embryos carrying intracellular markers indicated that L-R symmetry is brok...
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Undergraduate students in genetics and developmental biology courses often struggle with the concept of epistasis because they are unaware that the logic of gene interactions differs between enzymatic pathways and signaling pathways. If students try to develop and memorize a single simple rule for predicting epistatic relationships without taking i...
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Most instructors at one point or another in their careers—during office hours, in the laboratory setting, or as a tutor—have had the luxury of sitting down one-on-one with a student to help him or her learn. For many, the reward of watching the proverbial lightbulb go on over a student's head was a first, addictive step into a career that involved...
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Biology education research (BER) can be a major contributor to the herculean task of modernizing and transforming biology education. However, as researchers in a relatively young and still small field, BER practitioners now find themselves fragmented across 64 biology-related societies and lacking agreement on a core research agenda, a convenient p...
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Use of in-class concept questions with clickers can transform an instructor-centered "transmissionist" environment to a more learner-centered constructivist classroom. To compare the effectiveness of three different approaches using clickers, pairs of similar questions were used to monitor student understanding in majors' and nonmajors' genetics co...
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We have developed and validated a tool for assessing understanding of a selection of fundamental concepts and basic knowledge in undergraduate introductory molecular and cell biology, focusing on areas in which students often have misconceptions. This multiple-choice Introductory Molecular and Cell Biology Assessment (IMCA) instrument is designed f...
Data
mir-57 shows expression in a variety of cell types in the posterior sublineages. The figure is complementary to the Figure 1 but indicates the terminal cell fates of the expressing sublineages. Vertical bars denote scaled red intensity represented as arbitrary Boyle Unit. (7.26 MB TIF)
Data
Lineage expression of mCherry reporter driven by vab-7 and pal-1 promoter. (A) vab-7 showed expression in C lineage except for the anterior half of hypodermal sublineages, i.e., Caaaa and Cpaaa. (B) pal-1 showed expression in all P2 sublineage except for germline precursor Z2 and Z4 (not traced as far as other sublineages). Note that all of the rep...
Data
mir-57 expression is dependent on the lineage fate. RNAi against pop-1 produced homeotic lineage fate transformation, i.e., from ABplap into ABplpp (A,F) and MS into E like lineage (C, data not shown) (the later transformation serves as a reference for the RNAi effectiveness) while mir-57 expression and lineage fate remained unchanged in ABplpp (B,...
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mir-57 expression in adult male tail. (A) DIC; (B) RFP; (C) merged. (2.00 MB TIF)
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Injection of mir-57 promoters caused earlier onset and ectopic expression (more anterior) of mir-57 in the embryo. An approximately 350 celled embryo was photographed for mir-57 expression in both wild type background animals (A–C) and those carrying the mir-57 promoter array (D–F). The array containing animals were verified by following their tail...
Data
Other posterior defects associated with injection of fusion between vab-7 promoter and mir-57 stem loop sequences. Shown are molting defects (A) and other tail abnormalities (B-D) as well as Dpy (E). (4.30 MB TIF)
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Phenotypes of NOB-1 overexpression. (0.03 MB DOC)
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Adult male phenotypes associated with mir-57 overexpression. Note, mir-57 overexpressing animals develop few tail rays and produced only a few sperms (B) compared to N2 (A) animals as indicated by arrow head. (1.54 MB TIF)
Data
RNAi against pal-1 altered the mir-57 expression in C lineage. Compared to wild type (A), the treatment abolished the fate asymmetry between C derived hypodermis and body wall muscle as well as mir-57 expression (B). (3.77 MB TIF)
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Effects of mir-57 loss of function on the NOB-1 expression. Shown are the notched boxplots of NOB-1 expression in the presence and absence of mir-57. NOB-1 expression in N2 background is shown as green and the expression in mir-57 deletion background (VC347) as red. (0.81 MB TIF)
Data
Supporting Materials and Methods. (0.04 MB DOC)
Article
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MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have been found to regulate gene expression across eukaryotic species, but the function of most miRNA genes remains unknown. Here we describe how the analysis of the expression patterns of a well-conserved miRNA gene, mir-57, at cellular resolution for every minute during early development of Caenorhabditis elegans provided key i...
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In his Editorial, “Galvanizing science departments” (4 September 2009, p. [1181][1]), C. Wieman described ongoing programs at University of Colorado, Boulder and University of British Columbia in Vancouver that are successfully implementing new effective, research-based teaching methods in
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At its Advanced Placement (AP) Program annual conference held in July, the College Board released a draft of its new curriculum for the AP biology course (1). Now used in thousands of secondary schools across the country, this course provides some of the best biology instruction in the United States to about 150,000 students every year. Given the g...
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A growing revolution is under way in the teaching of introductory science to undergraduates. It is driven by concerns about American competitiveness as well as results from recent educational research, which explains why traditional teaching approaches in large classes fail to reach many students and provides a basis for designing improved methods...
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Introductory science courses at large universities in the United States serve as the portals that connect undergraduates to frontiers in research and scientific ways of thinking (1-3). According to the National Research Council report, BIO2010 (4), however, teaching practices have not changed in correspondence with advances in scientific research....
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When students answer an in-class conceptual question individually using clickers, discuss it with their neighbors, and then revote on the same question, the percentage of correct answers typically increases. This outcome could result from gains in understanding during discussion, or simply from peer influence of knowledgeable students on their neig...
Article
Effective undergraduate teaching in large courses is hard work. Even after years of teaching the same topic, committed instructors still spend hours preparing for each class, updating their material and improving their presentations. They spend additional time creating challenging homework problems and exam questions that will test student understa...
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We have designed, developed, and validated a 25-question Genetics Concept Assessment (GCA) to test achievement of nine broad learning goals in majors and nonmajors undergraduate genetics courses. Written in everyday language with minimal jargon, the GCA is intended for use as a pre- and posttest to measure student learning gains. The assessment was...
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Note from the Editor Points of View (POV) address issues faced by many people within the life science education community. CBE—Life Sciences Education (CBE-LSE) publishes the POV Feature to present two or more opinions published side-by-side on a common topic. We consider POVs to be “Op-Ed” pieces designed to stimulate thought and dialogue on signi...
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Whenever symmetry is broken in nature to yield only one of two equally probable outcomes, there is an intriguing problem to be solved.
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We carried out an experiment to determine whether student learning gains in a large, traditionally taught, upper-division lecture course in developmental biology could be increased by partially changing to a more interactive classroom format. In two successive semesters, we presented the same course syllabus using different teaching styles: in fall...
Article
How cells integrate the input of multiple polarizing signals during division is poorly understood. We demonstrate that two distinct Caenorhabditis elegans Wnt pathways contribute to the polarization of the ABar blastomere by differentially regulating its duplicated centrosomes. Contact with the C blastomere orients the ABar spindle through a nontra...
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For more than a decade, reports from expert panels have called for improvements in science education. There is general agreement that science courses consisting of traditional lectures and cookbook laboratory exercises need to be changed. What is required instead is "scientific teaching," teaching that mirrors science at its best-experimental, rigo...
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In 2002, a National Research Council (NRC) Committee wasestablished to organize a series of National AcademiesSummer Institutes on Undergraduate Education in Biology(NASIUEB). The goal of these Institutes is to help under-graduate faculty in the life sciences, particularly thoseteaching large classes at research universities, apply findingsfrom rec...
Article
The mechanism by which polarity of the left-right (LR) axis is initially established with the correct handedness is not understood for any embryo. C. elegans embryos exhibit LR asymmetry with an invariant handedness that is first apparent at the six-cell stage and persists throughout development. We show here that a strong loss-of-function mutation...
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Many science faculty at large research universities are unaware of recent education research showing that even large classes built around active, inquiry-based, collaborative learning are significantly more effective in promoting student understanding than are the traditional lecture and recitation courses still used for most lower level science in...
Article
Hox genes are transcriptional regulators of metazoan body regionalization along the anteroposterior axis that act by specifying positional identity in differentiating cells. ceh-13, the labial orthologue in Caenorhabditis elegans, is expressed both during embryogenesis and post- embryonic development. Using GFP reporter analysis and immunocytochemi...
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The 1998 Boyer Commission Report advocated improvement of undergraduate education at large research universities through large-scale participation of undergraduates in the universities' research mission. At a recent conference sponsored by the Reinvention Center, which is dedicated to furthering the goals of the Boyer Commission, participants discu...
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The signaling pathway initiated by the TGF-beta family member DBL-1 in Caenorhabditis elegans controls body shape in a dose-dependent manner. Loss-of-function (lf) mutations in the dbl-1 gene cause a short, small body (Sma phenotype), whereas overexpression of dbl-1 causes a long body (Lon phenotype). To understand the cellular mechanisms underlyin...
Article
Co-factor homeodomain proteins such as Drosophila Homothorax (Hth) and Extradenticle (Exd) and their respective vertebrate homologs, the Meis/Prep and Pbx proteins, can increase the DNA-binding specificity of Hox protein transcription factors and appear to be required for many of their developmental functions. We show that the unc-62 gene encodes t...
Article
The her-1 regulatory switch gene in C. elegans sex determination is normally active in XO animals, resulting in male development, and inactive in XX animals, allowing hermaphrodite development. The her-1(n695gf) mutation results in the incomplete transformation of XX animals into phenotypic males. We describe four extragenic mutations that suppress...
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Using cDNA-based array analysis combined with double-stranded RNA interference (dsRNAi), we have identified yk298h6 as a target gene of Caenorhabditis elegans TGF-beta signaling. Worms overexpressing dbl-1, a TGF-beta ligand, are 16% longer than wild type. Array analysis shows yk298h6 to be one of several genes suppressed in such worms. Disruption...
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A recently released National Research Council (NRC) report, Learning and Understanding: Improving Advanced Study of Mathematics and Science in U.S. High Schools, evaluated and recommended changes in the Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and other advanced secondary school science programs. As part of this study, discipline-...
Article
Previous work has shown that the Caenorhabditis elegans gene pal-1, a homolog of Drosophila caudal, is required maternally for blastomere specification in the early embryo and postembryonically for tail development in males. We show here that embryonic (zygotic) transcription of pal-1 is also required for posterior patterning during later embryogen...
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Hox genes encode highly conserved transcription factors that control regional identities of cells and tissues along the developing anterior-posterior axis, probably in all bilaterian metazoans. However, in invertebrate embryos other than Drosophila, Hox gene functions remain largely unknown except by inference from sequence similarities and express...
Article
The Caenorhabditis elegans gene mag-1 can substitute functionally for its homolog mago nashi in Drosophila and is predicted to encode a protein that exhibits 80% identity and 88% similarity to Mago nashi (P. A. Newmark et al., 1997, Development 120, 3197-3207). We have used RNA-mediated interference (RNAi) to analyze the phenotypic consequences of...
Chapter
Cell lineages in Caenorhabditis elegans embryos and larvae are generally determined by direct observation of living specimens, using Nomarski optics to note the position of each nucleus and watch the cell divide, and then recording the positions of the daughter nuclei. For later embryos, in particular, this method of analysis becomes extremely diff...
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The masculinizing gene her-1 in Caenorhabditis elegans (Ce-her-1) encodes a novel protein, HER-1A, which is required for male development. To identify conserved elements in her-1 we have cloned and characterized two homologous nematode genes: one by synteny from the closely related free-living species C. briggsae (Cb-her-1) and the other, starting...
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The sex-determining gene her-1 is required for male development in Caenorhabditis elegans. In XO males, two her-1 mRNAs, her-1a and her-1b, are transcribed from two separate promoters: P1, located in the 5'-flanking region, and P2, located in the large second intron. In XX hermaphrodites, accumulation of both her-1 transcripts is repressed by the s...
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We cloned the dbl-1 gene, a C. elegans homolog of Drosophila decapentaplegic and vertebrate BMP genes. Loss-of-function mutations in dbl-1 cause markedly reduced body size and defective male copulatory structures. Conversely, dbl-1 overexpression causes markedly increased body size and partly complementary male tail phenotypes, indicating that DBL-...
Article
We have cloned aCaenorhabditis eleganshomologue of theDrosophilagap genehunchback(hb) and have designated ithbl-1(hunchback-like).hbl-1encodes a predicted 982-amino-acid protein, containing two putative zinc-finger domains similar to those ofDrosophilaHunchback. The gene is transcribed embryonically, but unlike the maternally expressedDrosophila hb...
Article
Germ cells are distinct from somatic cells in their immortality, totipotency, and ability to undergo meiosis. Candidates for components that guide the unique germline program are the distinctive granules observed in germ cells of many species. We show that a component of germ granules is essential for fertility in C. elegans and that its primary fu...
Article
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Article
Gastrulation in Caenorhabditis elegans is normally initiated by inward migration of the two gut precursor (E) cells at the 26-cell stage. A strong loss-of-function, temperature-sensitive, embryonic lethal mutation in the maternally required gene gad-1 (gastrulation defective) prevents gastrulation initiation. In embryos from homozygous mutant gad-1...
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The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) is a ligand-activated transcription factor, until now described only in vertebrates, that mediates many of the carcinogenic and teratogenic effects of certain environmental pollutants. Here, we describe orthologs of AHR and its dimerization partner AHR nuclear translocator (ARNT) in the nematode Caenorhabditis el...
Article
Like most animals, C. elegans and other nematodes exhibit several internal left-right asymmetries with an essentially invariant (dextral) handedness. Handedness is established in early cleavage, resulting in a markedly left-right-asymmetric embryo on which bilateral symmetry must be superimposed later in embryogenesis. Some of the asymmetric cell i...
Article
Caenorhabditis elegans adult animals exhibit an inherent chirality of fiber orientation in the basal layer of the cuticle, as well as a naturally invariant but experimentally reversible handedness in the left-right (L-R) asymmetry of the body plan. We have examined the relationship between cuticle chirality and body handedness in normal and L-R rev...