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Elena Bray Speth, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Courses Taught

BIOL 104 - Principles of Biology I, BIOL 280 - Biology for Education Majors


Ph.D., Michigan State University

Research Interests

The Bray Speth group includes graduate and undergraduate biology students who conduct research on college-level biology teaching and learning.

They investigate how active-learning pedagogical strategies promote understanding of complex biological systems and processes in large-enrollment introductory biology courses.

Ongoing projects focus on:

  • Assessment of systems thinking skills through student-generated models and explanations of complex biological processes;
  • Student understanding and representation of the gene-to-phenotype relationship and of the origin of genetic variation;
  • Infusing evolutionary reasoning into introductory molecular, cellular and organismal biology.
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Publications and Media Placements

Momsen J, Bray Speth E, Wyse S, and TM Long (2022). Using Systems and Systems Thinking to Unify Biology Education. CBE—Life Sciences Education 21:2.

Wilson KJ, Long TM, Momsen JL, and E Bray Speth (2020). Modeling in the Classroom: Making Relationships and Systems Visible. CBE—Life Sciences Education 19(1): fe1.  

Wilson KJ, Long TM, Momsen JL, and E Bray Speth (2020). Evidence Based Teaching Guide: Modeling in Classroom. CBE-Life Sciences Education.

Sebesta A and E Bray Speth (2017). How should I study for the exam? Self-Regulated Learning Strategies and Achievement in Introductory Biology. CBE – Life Sciences Education 16: ar30.

Reinagel A and E Bray Speth (2016). Beyond the central dogma: model-based learning of how genes determine phenotypes. CBE – Life Sciences Education 15: 1-13.  

Bray Speth E, Shaw N, Momsen JL, Reinagel A, Le P, Taqieddin R, and TM Long (2014). Introductory biology students’ conceptual models and explanations of the origin of variation. CBE – Life Sciences Education 13: 529-539.  

Long TM, Dauer JT, Kostelnik KM, Momsen JL, Wyse SA, Bray Speth E and D Ebert-May (2014). Fostering ecoliteracy through model-based instruction. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 12: 138-139.  

Dauer JT, Momsen JL, Bray Speth E, Makohon-Moore SC and TM Long (2013). Analyzing change in students’ gene-to-evolution models in college-level introductory biology. Journal of Research in Science Teaching 50: 639–659. 

Bray Speth E, Momsen JL, Moyerbrailean GA, Ebert-May D, Long T, Wyse S, Linton D (2010). 1, 2, 3, 4: Infusing quantitative literacy into introductory biology. CBE - Life Sciences Education 9: 323-332.

Ebert-May D, Bray Speth E, Momsen JL (2010). Assessing Scientific Reasoning in a Liberal Learning Curriculum. In: Science and the Educated American: A Core Component of Liberal Education, Meinwald J and Hildebrand JG, eds., American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Cambridge (MA)

Bray Speth E, Long TM, Pennock RT, Ebert-May D (2009). Using Avida-ED for teaching and learning about evolution in undergraduate introductory biology courses. Evolution Education and Outreach 2: 415-428.

Bray Speth E, Hauck P, Imboden L, He SY (2009). Subcellular localization and functional analysis of the Arabidopsis GTPase RabE. Plant Physiology 149: 1824-1837.

Bray Speth E, Lee YN, He SY (2007). Pathogen virulence factors as molecular probes of basic plant cellular functions. Current Opinion in Plant Biology 10: 580-586.

Caretto S, Bray Speth E, Fachechi C, Gala R, Zacheo G, Giovinazzo G (2004). Enhancement of vitamin E production in sunflower cell cultures. Plant Cell Reports 23: 174-179.