melissa kcMelissa Kosinski-Collins, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biology
Science Education and Protein Biochemistry

B.S., University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Ph.D. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Contact Information

Although, I received my Ph.D from MIT in 2004 for studying protein folding and aggregation, my true passion has always been in biology teaching and education and I have always recognized the importance of mentoring and inspiring young scientists. I was an education research post doc for two years in the HHMI Education Group at MIT and focused primarily on biological education research and the importance of concept-based teaching and learning in biology. To continue to meet this end, I currently serve as the Editor-in-chief of the Atlas Journal of Science Education.

I recognized the need for better biological preparation at the high school level and am actively involved in several secondary education efforts. I am currently a faculty advisor to the United States Biology Olympiad Team involved in exam preparation, student advising and instruction. I recently took a position as the MRSEC Outreach coordinator for Brandeis.  In this position, I counsel area high school biology teachers in methods to incorporate college level molecular biology, biophysics, and chemical biology labs into their classrooms, lead high school field trips to Brandeis research facilities and coordinate outreach activities at the Acton Discovery Museum.

In light of my interest in protein structure, I am studying the importance of learning and manipulation of biological macromolecules in 3-dimensions. I am part of a collaboration with the Biology, Physics, and Academic Computing Departments at MIT to create a free, scalable 3D visualization software engine that may easily be manipulated by students, but has the flexibility and functionality to be used by advance protein biochemists. This program is currently used by undergraduates in introductory biology and I hope to further incorporate it into our K12 outreach effort in connection to the Robbins Family 3D classroom here on campus.

I am currently the academic coordinator for the Brandeis Science POSSE program and summer bootcamp.  Each year, 10 talented graduating seniors from New York City intending on pursing science degrees are selected to attend Brandeis as a cohort.  In advance of their matriculation to campus, they spend two weeks of the summer in an intense training program experiencing labs, lectures, and assignments that model Brandeis coursework.  I facilitate this program and work with the Science Posse students throughout their academic careers here at Brandeis.

On campus, I am teaching the introductory biology lab course and a graduate level molecular biology course. I have renovated the undergraduate laboratory curriculum into a project-based series of experiments encompassing such topics as Huntington’s treatment, cataract stability, and fly models of colon cancer.  I have also developed a teaching internship, Ed92a, which provides a forum for interested students to read about, discuss and critique new pedagogical develops in biology education.


Treacy, D. & Kosinski-Collins, M.S. 2011. “Using the writing and revising of journal article-style lab reports to increase science literacy and understanding in a large introductory biology laboratory course.” J. Sci. Educ.  1: 29-37.

Treacy, D., Sankaran, S., Gordon-Messer, S., Saly, D., Miller, R., Isaac, R.S., & Kosinski-Collins, M.S. 2010.  “The implementation of a project–based molecular biology laboratory emphasizing protein structure-function relationships into a large introductory biology laboratory course.” C.B.E. Life Sci. Educ. 10: 18-24.

Romm, I.K., Gordon-Messer, S., & Kosinski-Collins, M.S. 2010.  Educating Young Educators Pedagogical Internship for Undergraduate Teaching Assistants.  C.B.E. Life Sci. Educ. 9: 80-86.

Gordon-Messer, S. & Kosinski-Collins, M.S. 2010.  Using scientific purposes to improve student writing and understanding in undergraduate biology project-based laboratories.  American Biol. Teach.  9: 578-579.

Kosinski-Collins, M.S. 2007. “Navigating the molecular universe in 3D: Teaching biology students protein structure-function relationships using StarBiochem.” RSCB PDB Newsletter. 35: 5-6.

Folding and stability of the isolated Greek key domains of the long-lived human lens proteins gammaD-crystallin and gammaS-crystallin. Mills IA, Flaugh SL, Kosinski-Collins MS, King JA. Protein Sci. 2007 Nov;16(11):2427-44. Epub 2007 Sep 28. [abstract]

Interdomain side-chain interactions in human gammaD crystallin influencing folding and stability. Flaugh SL, Kosinski-Collins MS, King J. Protein Sci. 2005 Aug;14(8):2030-43. [abstract]

Contributions of hydrophobic domain interface interactions to the folding and stability of human gammaD-crystallin. Flaugh SL, Kosinski-Collins MS, King J. Protein Sci. 2005 Mar;14(3):569-81. [abstract]

The role of the hydrophilic interface residues in folding and aggregation of human gammaD crystallin. Flaugh, S.L., Kosinski-Collins, M.S., & King, J.A. 2005. Protein Sci. 14: 2030-2043.

The role of the hydrophobic interface residues in folding and stability of human gammaD crystallin. Flaugh, S.L., Kosinski-Collins, M.S., & King, J.A. 2005. Protein Sci. 14: 569-581.

Probing folding and fluorescence quenching in human gammaD crystallin Greek key domains using triple tryptophan mutant proteins. Kosinski-Collins M.S., Flaugh S.L., King J. (2004) Protein Science. 13: 2223-35. [abstract]

In vitro unfolding, refolding, and polymerization of human gammaD crystallin, a protein involved in cataract formation.Kosinski-Collins, M.S. & King, J.A. 2003. Protein Sci. 12: 480-90. [abstract]


Last review: September 9, 2011



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