In the Undergraduate School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) at the University of Virginia (UVa), there are few opportunities for undergraduate students to teach, let alone develop, an introductory course for their major. As two undergraduate engineering students (D. N. Tavakol and C. J. Broshkevitch), we were among the first students to take advantage of a new initiative at UVa SEAS to offer student-led courses. As part of this new program, we designed a 1000-level, 1-credit, pass-fail course entitled Introduction to Research in Regenerative Medicine. During a student's first year at the University, opportunities to build research skills and gain exposure to topics within the field of the biomedical sciences are relatively rare, so, to fill this gap, we focused our course on teaching primarily freshman undergraduate students how to synthesize and contextualize scientific literature, covering both basic science and clinical applications. At the end of the course, students self-reported increased confidence in reading and discussing scientific papers and review articles. The critical impact of this course lies not only in an early introduction to the popularized field of regenerative medicine, but also encouragement for younger students to participate in research early on and to appreciate the value of interdisciplinary interactions. The teaching model can be extended for implementation of student-taught introductory courses across diverse undergraduate major tracks at an institution.
Keywords: biomedical engineering; regenerative medicine; research; student-taught; undergraduate.