Acknowledgements, biographies, and contact information

The BBS OER Lab Manual was created by:

  • Dr. Felicia Vulcu (Teaching Professor)
  • Dr. Caitlin Mullarkey (Teaching Professor)
  • Vivian Leong (Undergraduate Coordinator)
  • Taylor Gauthier (Laboratory Technician/ Administrative Assistant)
  • Clark Leong (Undergraduate Summer Student)

Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University.

The BBS OER Lab Manual was funded by the McMaster Open Educational Resources (OER) Grant Program.

Dr. Caitlin Mullarkey Biography

Dr. Caitlin Mullarkey is a Teaching Professor and the Associate Chair of Undergraduate Education in the department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences. She is focused on providing undergraduates with a rigorous and cutting-edge scientific education that will allow them to excel in diverse careers and graduate/professional school. At the heart of her approach to teaching is student-centered active learning, which encourages cooperation between students and facilitates a collaborative approach to the learning process. Drawing on her own background in research, the pedagogical strategies she utilizes emphasize that information and knowledge are dynamic, therefore problems and solutions evolve over time. With extensive training and expertise in infectious disease and vaccine development, she teaches virology, cell biology, biochemistry, and immunology to undergraduates at all levels. She is keenly interested in developing new curricula and her current scholarship centers on exploring advanced methods of delivering learning content. Working alongside Dr. Felicia Vulcu, she designed and launched a massive open online course (MOOC) called DNA Decoded ( Her ongoing research projects include evaluating the integration of virtual reality labs into both laboratory and non-laboratory courses, technology enhanced learning, and other innovative methods to bridge the gap between scientific theory and practice.


Dr. Mullarkey received her doctorate from the University of Oxford, where she was a Rhodes Scholar. She subsequently completed a postdoctoral fellowship in viral immunology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (New York City) under the mentorship of Dr. Peter Palese. She is the 2019-2020 recipient of the McMaster Student Union Teaching Award for the Faculty of Health Sciences.


Dr. Felicia Vulcu Biography

Dr. Felicia Vulcu is a Teaching Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences (BBS) at McMaster University. Her primary teaching focus is on laboratory-based courses and curriculum design. She leads her teaching practices with three central tenets: safety, respect and positivity. Felicia constantly strives to create safe, nurturing environments conducive to life-long learning. Highlights from her current teaching dossier include the creation of a yearlong undergraduate laboratory course (2nd year) aimed at introducing students to a directed research project. She uses a number of teaching practices – such as team think tanks, flipped-classroom case studies, and virtual labs – which allow students to apply basic biochemistry techniques to biomedical problems like drug discovery.

Felicia also delved into online learning with the creation of an online Biochemistry course designed to introduce students to biochemistry fundamentals using customized e-learning modules, which afford flexibility with respect to the learning process.

Felicia was fortunate enough to be part of the design and implementation of a program launched by the BBS department: Biomedical Discovery and Commercialization ( /). She is currently involved in BDC curriculum design and implementation. Of note is the creation of an 8-month long advanced BDC laboratory course aimed at exposing students to the inquiry process of research while emphasizing team-based learning, positivity, perseverance, etc. She also uses this milieu to highlight the concept of failure: how failure in science often times leads to learning and success.

Felicia is a recipient of the McMaster Students Union Merit in Teaching Award (2009), McMaster Students Union Pedagogical Innovation Award (2013), McMaster Students Union Teaching Award (2016) and the President’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to Teaching and Learning (2017).



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BBS OER Lab Manual Copyright © 2021 by Felicia Vulcu/ Vivian Leong/ Caitlin Mullarkey (Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences McMaster University) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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