Host Pathogen Teaching Group

about hpi teaching group:

  • We are a faculty learning community open to all faculty with research and teaching interests in microbiology. We have studied specifically how students learn concepts of host pathogen interactions.
  • Our findings have given us insight into student learning in broader areas of microbiology and biology. Our work began in 2004. We have been by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Undergraduate Science Education Grant to the University of Maryland and an NSF CCLI-1 grant (DUE-0837315).
  • Our group is involved in the teaching of 9 undergraduate microbiology courses that serve over 1000 students annually. Our innovations in teaching and faculty development has been linked to work on assessment.
  • The team has collaboratively generated a list of 13 HPI concepts that we consider essential in student understanding of host pathogen interactions.
  • We have developed the HPI Concept Inventory to assess student gains in learning these concepts and to provide us with insight into student misconceptions about these concepts.
  • The impact of our community is reflected in the article by S. Musante: “How Kindling Catches Flame: U-MD Transforming Undergrad Biology Education.” BioScience (2014), February. doi:10.1093/biosci/biu022


  • Research faculty members with expertise in HPI will meet regularly to discuss and set standards for the teaching of HPI concepts in our courses.
  • A student who takes two or more upper level HPI courses should experience depth in content and in process. 


  • To use a research group model to support the professional development of  faculty as scientific educators.
  • To create a community among faculty who research and teach topics related to host-pathogen interactions.
  • To develop courses that engage students in deep, research-oriented understanding of host-pathogen interactions, and use best practices of teaching.
  • To create a continuum of learning where broad concepts introduced in the introductory microbiology course  are reinforced, refined, and extended in upper level classes.
  • To contribute to the national dialog on STEM teaching and learning.