(November 8, 2012)

Students transform into songwriters for cell biology

SHREVEPORT, LA — Centenary students in cell biology composed songs for Dr. Rebecca Murphy, Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology, to describe glycolysis, part of the process by which food molecules are broken down for energy. Dr. Murphy came up with the innovative technique when she discovered that the lecture material on glycolysis proved to be a bit dry and challenging.


"I felt that in order to write a song of that nature, you really had to know the material," said Dr. Murphy. "I ended up with some strikingly fantastic lyrics and a few performances that were both scientifically accurate and masterfully composed."

In getting the students to write lyrics to their own songs, Dr. Murphy was able to encourage them to study glycolysis, develop resources that could be shown to future classes, and allow them to have a little fun.

"I found that writing a song about glycolysis was really effective in helping me study," said Addie Barron, a sophomore Biophysics major. "I felt like I really understood the process after writing the song. I really enjoyed working with my partner, Amanda Hock."

The students ended up having so much fun with the process that a competition formed. Faculty members judged the students in three categories: Best Video, Best Overall Description of the Process, and Most Likely to be on iTunes.

Barron that the activity allowed her to combine two of her interests: science and music.

"At first, I didn't see how the combination of these two activities were going to help us learn glycolysis, but once I wrote the song I found it hard to forget! This is a perfect example of the liberal arts education I am getting at Centenary because it allowed me to combine music and science in a way that helped me learn a difficult concept."