Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Bert Ely


This dissertation presents my explorations in both molecular biology and science education research. In study one, we determined the ADIPOQ and ADIPORI genotypes of 364 White and 148 Black BrCa patients and used dominant model univariate logistic regression analyses to determine individual SNP and haplotype associations with tumor or patient characteristics in a case-case comparison. We found twelve associations between individual SNPs and patient or tumor characteristics that impact BrCa prognosis. For example, the ADIPOQ rs1501299 C allele was associated with ER+ tumors (OR=4.73, p=0.001) among White women >50 years of age at their time of diagnosis. Also, the A allele was more frequent in the Black patient population among whom more aggressive subtypes are common. Similarly, the ADIPORI rs12733285 T allele was associated with both PR+ and ER+ tumors. (OR=2.18 p=0.001; OR=1.88 p=0.019, respectively). Our data suggest that several polymorphisms individually or as specific ADIPOQ and ADIPOR1 haplotypes are associated with tumor characteristics that impact prognosis in BrCa patients. Thus, genotyping additional groups of patients for these SNPs could offer insight into the involvement of adiponectin signaling allele variance in BrCa outcomes.

In our second study, we examined 1) how teachers' beliefs about themselves and their students influence the fidelity of implementation of their enactment of a technology-rich curriculum, and 2) how professional development support during the enactment leads to changes in teacher beliefs. From the analysis of two teachers' experiences through interviews, surveys, journal entries, and video recordings of their enactments, several different themes were identified. For example, teachers' beliefs regarding students' ability to learn using the curriculum influenced the fidelity of implementation and student learning. These observations led to the development of a model of professional development that would promote faithful implementation. This model included teaching of content knowledge, practice with the technology, modeling of classroom management skills, and reflective feedback of enactments in formal and informal environments. The implications of these findings are discussed in relation to professional development programs and curriculum designs seeking to institutionalize the practices of scientists in schools with a high level of fidelity of implementation.