Samba Njie

Samba Njie
Class of 2016
Neurobiology

What is your favorite class?

My favorite class is MCB 160 (Introduction to Neurobiology). This class is no longer being offered as a single course in the coming semesters but it will be split into 2 similar classes. I like this course because it gave me a very multidisciplinary approach to neuroscience by working through the mechanisms and circuits of how the brain works, as well as applications such as our senses, sleep, fear, development of our nervous system over time and space, and experimental methods that helped prove the concepts discussed in class.

How is MCB preparing me for my chosen career path?

I think that MCB is unique in that it provides me with the tools to think critically and analyze the rationale behind current biological phenomena. In the past 3 MCB classes I have taken, I have experienced a great amount of concepts backed by research studies that are then connected with other concepts, but the ordering and presentation of these are done in such a way that they follow or closely resemble the scientific method way of thinking. Specifically, my emphasis (neurobiology) is unique since it is the newest of the five emphases, so there is a concentration of material on more recent studies.

This research-oriented way of approaching concepts on the atomic to the organismal level hones not only mere regurgitation and memorization skills, but also a reductive, analytical perspective on how biology works and can be applied to medicine, which is my intended career path. Doctors, who may have lost the nitty-gritty details of their upper division biology courses after decades of medical practice, still require a strong analytical foundation in diagnosing and following protocol for optimal health administration. I think that MCB is unique in that it provides that essential skill and I hope to apply this if and when I become a physician.

Who was your favorite professor?

My favorite professor was Professor Craig Miller in my MCB 104 class (Genetics, Genomics, and Cell Biology). The class was tripartite and he taught the second section (genomics), in which he demonstrated his ability to break down the complex concepts of genomics to easily digestible fragments. Despite this approach, he still promoted application of the material in rigorous problems, such as the problem sets and practice exams, which made it a section that was intellectually stimulating and well-paced. He also was very personable and encouraged us to take with us the importance of applying these concepts to better understand the genomic nature of cancer.