Dr. Mitra Asgari

Mitra Asgari
Assistant Teaching Professor
Lefevre Hall, Room 108

Ph.D., Wayne State University
M.S., Shahid Beheshti University
B.S., Shahid Beheshti University

Research Summary

Biology Education

Research Description

I am an an Aquatic Ecologist by training, having received my Ph.D. in Biological Sciences and a Master’s in Marine Biology. In recent years, my research interests have shifted from ecology to biology education where I study teaching and learning in biology classrooms.  

My ecology research focused on understanding how aquatic invertebrates interact with each other and their environment in structuring their communities across time and space in both marine and freshwater habitats. I have used both explorative (survey) and experimental approaches in answering such questions and worked with and mentored undergraduate students during fieldwork.  

My biology education research is focused on processes impacting the learning and teaching experience of undergraduate students, TAs, and instructors in biology courses. Currently, I am studying:  

  1. The composition of student-selected groups in introductory biology courses and the relationship between the group compositions and students' learning gain, and attitude toward group work 
  2. The impact of pedagogy support on the cognition and teaching practice of Graduate and Undergraduate TAs leading biology courses 

I am one of the scholars of The Biology Teaching Assistant Project (BioTAP) network who, with colleagues from other US institutions, have been provided an NSF grant to promote graduate teaching assistant professional development to foster inclusion, efficacy, and evidence-based practices across U.S. universities.

Teaching Description

Before joining MU, I taught large-enrollment introductory biology courses at Cornell University and Arizona State University. In addition to teaching intro bio courses, I worked with biology Teaching Assistants (TAs) and developed and led pedagogy “how to teach” courses in the past few years. I am a passionate teacher who uses various student-centered and inclusive evidence-based teaching practices to improve the engagement, learning, and sense of belonging of students in intro bio classrooms. 

Awards and Honors

Effective Teaching Practices by Association of College and University Teachers (ACUE), 2020-2021

Selected Publications

See Google Scholar for a list of Dr. Asgari's publications

Research Area