Vinita Hajeri

Assistant Professor of Instruction - Science/Math Education
 
972-883-6482
FN3308E
Lab Website
Tags: STEM Education Teacher Professional Development

Professional Preparation

PhD - Molecular Biology
University of North Texas - 2008
Master of Science - Botany
University of Mumbai, India - 2001
Bachelor of Science - Botany
University of Mumbai, India - 1998

Research Areas

Assistant Professor of Instruction, Department of Science and Math Education, UT Dallas
  • Identifying challenges faced by Texas secondary science teachers to teach life sciences.
  • Providing effective professional development to enhance Texas Secondary science teachers' practice by using model organisms (flatworms, nematodes, fruit flies, and zebrafish) to make science concepts engaging and comprehensible. 
  • Developing scientific protocols and apparatus to empower K-12 teachers in conducting cutting-edge experiments with limited resources.
  • Studying the impact of zebrafish in improving STEM knowledge and workforce skills in a diverse classroom of English speaking and Hispanic English (ELL) learners.

Postdoctoral Researcher, UT Southwestern Medical Center
  • Identified novel genes involved in Germ Cell tumorigenesis by executing a forward genetic screen using the Sleeping Beauty transposon-mediated insertional mutagenesis strategy. 
  • Generated robust transgenic zebrafish models to identify the functional role of deregulated FGF signaling in Germ Cell tumor pathogenesis.

Graduate Research Assistant, University of North Texas
  • Used the nematode C. elegans as a model to identify the role of a specific nucleoporin NPP-16/Nup50 and CDK-1 in anoxia-induced prophase arrest.
  • Executed RNA mediated interference (RNAi) genetic screens, indirect immunofluorescence assays and in vivo live cell imaging to identify sub-cellular changes in anoxia-induced cell-cycle arrest.

Publications

Anoxia-Induced Suspended Animation in Caenorhabditis elegans  2012 - Book Chapter
Studying synthetic lethal interactions in the zebrafish system: insight into disease genes and disease mechanisms  2011 - Commentary
NPP-16/Nup50 Function and CDK-1 Inactivation is Associated with Prophase Arrest in C. elegans 2010 - Peer-reviewed journal article
Genetic Analysis of the Spindle Checkpoint Genes san-1, mdf-2, bub-3 and the CENP-F homolog hcp-1 in Caenorhabditis elegans  2008 - Peer-reviewed journal article
Characterization of sub-nuclear changes in Caenorhabditis elegans embryos exposed to brief, intermediate and long-term anoxia to analyze anoxia-induced cell cycle arrest  2005 - Peer-reviewed journal article

Appointments

Assistant Professor of Instruction
University of Texas at Dallas [2020–Present]
Actively involved in preparing the next generation of K-12 teachers seeking the UTeach certification and currently serving teachers seeking the Masters of Art in Teaching (science education). Mentoring and coaching secondary science educators to enhance there effectiveness in teaching life sciences.
Dean's Fellow/Senior Lecturer
University Of Texas at Dallas [2015–2020]
Designed, developed and taught hands-on, inquiry-based courses in the fields of genetics and ecology for biology students, preservice teachers and in-service teachers. Developed and offered model organisms-based (Planaria, Drosophila and zebrafish) professional development workshops to improve teacher effectiveness in teaching life sciences.
Postdoctoral Researcher
UT Southwestern Medical Center [2010–2015]
Defined the molecular drivers of Germ Cell Tumors using zebrafish as a model system.
Graduate Research Assistant
University Of North Texas [2003–2008]
Identified genes regulating anoxia-induced cell cycle arrest in Caenorhabditis elegans.

Activities

Assistant Professor of Instruction
  • Designing and providing effective professional development to K-12 teachers.
  • Mentoring and Coaching local K-12 teachers to improve their effectiveness in STEM education.
  • Conducting outreach activities to support women in STEM and STEM education.
  • Member of the Health Professions Evaluations (HPE) interviewer team at UT Dallas.

Funding

Zebrafish Summer Institute
- State Farm0-Enterprise Technology Priority School Grant. []