Erin Dolan: Pioneering Biology Education and Research Mentorship

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Erin Dolan: Pioneering Biology Education and Research Mentorship

Erin Dolan, a distinguished professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, is currently the Georgia Athletic Association Professor of Innovative Science Education at the University of Georgia. With a profound passion for biology education and research mentorship, Dolan has significantly contributed to the field, making her a prominent figure in the academic community.

A Journey Rooted in Passion for Education

Dolan's journey in education began during her graduate studies in neuroscience at the University of California, San Francisco. It was here that she extensively volunteered in K-12 schools, an experience that sparked her interest in pursuing a career in biology education. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of California, San Francisco, in 1999, following a B.A. in Biology from Wellesley College in 1993.

Innovative Contributions to Biology Education

As a professor, Erin Dolan teaches introductory biology and leads the SPREE Lab (Social Psychology of Research Experiences and Education). The SPREE Lab focuses on understanding how social psychological and sociocultural phenomena influence student learning, development, and success. Dolan's research primarily revolves around research experiences in undergraduate and graduate studies, specifically within the life sciences.

Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs)

One of Dolan's notable contributions is her work on Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs). These experiences provide a more equitable and inclusive approach to undergraduate research, allowing a broader range of students to engage in research activities. Dolan co-authored a guidebook on designing and teaching CUREs, which has become a valuable resource for educators aiming to implement these programs effectively.

Mentorship and Its Impact

Dolan's research also delves into the influence of research mentorship on students' career decisions. Her studies have shown that effective mentoring significantly impacts students' educational and career trajectories, particularly in the life sciences. As a member of the U.S. National Academies consensus committee on mentoring in STEMM, Dolan has played a crucial role in shaping mentorship practices and policies.

Editor-in-Chief of CBE – Life Sciences Education

For ten years, Erin Dolan served as the Editor-in-Chief of CBE – Life Sciences Education, a leading journal in the field of biology education. Under her leadership, the journal flourished, becoming a pivotal platform for disseminating research and insights on biology education and mentoring.

Selected Publications

Dolan's extensive research is well-documented in numerous publications. Some of her notable works include:

  1. Effects of Discovery, Iteration, and Collaboration in Laboratory Courses on Undergraduates’ Research Career Intentions Fully Mediated by Student Ownership - This study explores how different elements of laboratory courses influence students' intentions to pursue research careers.

  2. Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences: Current Knowledge and Future Directions - A comprehensive paper commissioned for the Committee on Strengthening Research Experiences for Undergraduate STEM Students.

  3. Early Engagement in Course-Based Research Increases Graduation Rates and Completion of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Degrees - This research highlights the positive impact of early engagement in course-based research on students' graduation rates.

  4. Race and Gender Differences in Undergraduate Research Mentoring Structures and Research Outcomes - An empirical study examining the disparities in mentoring structures and outcomes based on race and gender.

Future Directions

Erin Dolan continues to explore innovative ways to enhance biology education and research mentorship. Her dedication to understanding the social and psychological factors that influence student success remains at the forefront of her work. As she continues to mentor the next generation of scientists and educators, her contributions to the field of biology education are set to leave a lasting impact.


Erin Dolan's dedication to biology education and research mentorship has established her as a leading figure in the academic community. Through her innovative research and commitment to inclusive education practices, she continues to inspire and shape the future of biology education. For more information on her research and publications, visit her Google Scholar profile.

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