Author Archives: Joan E. Strassmann

About Joan E. Strassmann

Evolutionary biologist, studies social behavior in insects & microbes, interested in education, travel, birds, tropics, nature, food; biology professor at Washington University in St. Louis

In on-line teaching one thing is essential

Of all the preparations with Canvas and Zoom, in all the discussions with my Teaching Assistants, in reading the blizzard of emails my anxious university sends out, there is one thing I keep remembering from my son’s long experience with … Continue reading

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Why we fail at hiring Black faculty in biology departments

Today was a day of reflection. How have we gotten to this sorry point in the history of the US? What have I personally contributed to the problem? What have I personally contributed to the solution? How can we do … Continue reading

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Fishy pasta sauce

We are fortunate to be sheltering in place with an old friend and Clark Way Harrison visiting professor from Italy, so instead of adding to the excellent advice about Zoom and other tricks of distance teaching, I will be sharing … Continue reading

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Best updates on the new corona virus (#coronavirus, #covid19, #SARSCoV2) are on Twitter: a brief tutorial

Want to see a phylogeny of #covid-19? Follow @nextstrain. Want to hear what a Harvard epidemiologist thinks? Follow @mlipsitch.  Want a thoughtful microbiologist’s perspective? Follow @RELenski. What to know the latest advice from the World Health Organization? Follow @WHO. Want … Continue reading

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One important way to be fair in grad school interviews

Today is the day! We are interviewing possible graduate students! They have made a huge cut and have been invited to campus. Which ones will we commit to for 5 or more years? Which ones will join our labs, have … Continue reading

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The ethical treatment of data: six essentials

Science is founded on a lovely relationship between theory and data. Theory predicts patterns. Data tells us which theories work. Together they make sense of our world. How do we teach students to handle data properly? Six general areas come … Continue reading

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Trust your collaborators?

How many wasps are on this nest? What are their unique identifying marks? How many eggs, larvae, and pupae are in the nest? How many times does a given wasp dominate another? These are the questions that gave the numbers … Continue reading

Posted in Collaboration, Data and analysis, Ethics | 15 Comments

A tragedy in animal behavior and heroic responses

As I write this 8 papers where data were collected by Jonathan Pruitt are somewhere in the pipeline for retraction and another 5 have been identified with data problems. Many others are being checked. Yet other papers, mostly with data … Continue reading

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Do this before you say yes to anything

You just got asked to do something new. It might be to join an on-campus committee, or to talk at a fancy university. It might be a one-off request to review a paper, write a letter of recommendation, or serve … Continue reading

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Sculpting your undergraduate years: avoiding the biggest mistake

The biggest mistake you are going to make as an undergraduate is doing too much. You will take too many classes, choose too many majors, join too many clubs, get to know too many acquaintances, and generally treat your education … Continue reading

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