Catherine Safran, PhD
- Assistant Teaching Professor
- International Relations
- Science & Environment
- Health Sciences
- PhD, Developmental Biology (1994)
University of Strasbourg (France)
I use my passion for life sciences and longstanding experience with muscular-skeletal research to introduce students to important concepts in field as various as evolution, plant & animal physiology, and environmental sciences.
My instructional strengths include emphasis on student engagement in the classroom, continuous evaluation of student learning progress, and special attention to student equity and well-being.
My educational research focuses on the roles of peer-mentoring and undergraduate assistants in the teaching and learning of scientific concepts.
In collaboration with Dr. Liyun Wang (University of Delaware, Mechanical Engineering), I also study skeletal growth and repair and the function of the pericellular matrix in the bone response to load.
- Preclinical models of bone & joint diseases
- Developmental biology of mineralized tissues
- Cytomechanics and cell signaling
- Scientific teaching for pre-health professions
Osteocytic Pericellular Matrix (PCM): Accelerated Degradation Under In Vivo Loading and Unloading Conditions Using a Novel Imaging Approach. Pei S., Wang S., Martinez J.R., Parajuli A., Kirn-Safran C.B., Farach-Carson M.C., Lu XL, Wang L. Genes 2022, 13(1), 72; Open Access https://doi.org/10.3390/genes13010072
Physiology Labs During a Pandemic: What Did We Learn? Advances in Physiology Education. Chen X., Kirn-Safran C.B., van der Meulen T., Myhr K.L., Savitzky A.H., Fleegal-DeMotta M.A. Open Access 2021, 45: 803-809 (PMID: 34581619). 10.1152/advan.00022.2021
Peer-Mentors Prove to Be Strong Assets in Virtual Anatomy and Physiology Labs. Kirn-Safran C.B., Reed A.C., and Chatman M M. January 2021, Imprint, National Student Nurses’ Association Magazine.
Perlecan/Hspg2 Deficiency Impairs Bone’s Calcium Signaling and Associated Transcriptome in Response to Mechanical Loading. Pei S, Parthasarathy S, Parajuli A, Martinez J, Lv M, Jiang S, Wu D, Wei S, Lu XL, Farach-Carson MC, Kirn-Safran CB, Wang L. Bone. 2020, 131:115078.
Inhibition of T-Type Voltage Sensitive Calcium Channel Impairs Osteoblast Response to Mechanical Stress and Prevents Load-induced OA in Mice. Srinivasan P.P., Parajuli A., Price C., Wang L., Duncan R.L., Kirn-Safran C.B. PLoS One. 2015 26;10:e012729
Professional Affiliations & Memberships
· Human Anatomy and Physiology Society (HAPS)
· National Institute on Scientific Teaching (NIST)
· Learning Assistant Alliance
Faculty Development Grant – Pedagogical Travel Grant (2022-2023)
Recipient of the Human Anatomy & Physiology Society Conference Travel Award – Invited Workshop Speaker: “The Presence of a Peer-Learning Assistant in the Classroom: An Opportunity to Build an Inclusive A&P Learning Community”, 36th Annual Conference, Fort Lauderdale, FL (May 24-29, 2022)
Recipient of the Widener University, Arts & Sciences Teaching Excellence Award, Spring 2022
Improvement of Teaching Grant: “Enhance the Learning Experience of First-Year Students through Peer-Mentoring” (2020-2021)
Fellow of the Northeast Summer Institute on Scientific Teaching, University of Connecticut (2017)
- Faculty Presents Workshop on Peer Learning at Annual Conference
Assistant Teaching Professor Catherine Safran was invited to present a workshop at the Human Anatomy & Physiology Society’s Annual Conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Safran presented her experience working with Peer-Learning Assistants at Widener in anatomy and physiology lectures and labs.
This annual conference is attended by anatomy and physiology instructors from around the world.
Share link: https://www.widener.edu/news/noteworthy/faculty-presents-workshop-peer-learning-annual-conference
Catherine Safran, assistant teaching professor of biology, and her collaborators have had their article, "Osteocytic Pericellular Matrix (PCM): Accelerated Degradation under In Vivo Loading and Unloading Conditions Using a Novel Imaging Approach," published in Genes, a peer-reviewed journal covering genetics and genomics.
Share link: https://www.widener.edu/news/noteworthy/biology-professor-published-genetics-journal
Catherine Safran, assistant professor of biology, co-authored an article in the journal Advances in Physiology Education that highlights the challenges and the successes of teaching physiology labs online during the COVID-19 pandemic. The article, Physiology labs during a pandemic: What did we learn?, proved that online networks fostered safe spaces for trust and provide support for instructors. Additionally, it showed how much of a drastic change it was for both students and faculty to adjust to learning online instead of in-person, especially for those who have to either teach or learn in a laboratory setting.
Share link: https://www.widener.edu/news/noteworthy/biology-professor-co-publishes-reflection-teaching-virtual-physiology-lab
Catherine Kim-Safran, assistant professor of biology, and undergraduate nursing students Makayla Chatman and Alexandria Reid co-authored an article that ran in the January 2021 issue of Imprint, the official membership magazine of the National Student Nurses’ Association. Reflecting on their experiences leading and serving as peer-learning assistants for anatomy and physiology labs that transferred fully online during the COVID-19 pandemic, the authors reported on the impact of peer mentoring on student success and best online teaching practices.
Share link: https://www.widener.edu/node/18961/
- Assistant Teaching Professor Catherine Kirn-Safran Publishes Two Research Articles
Dr. Catherine Kirn-Safran, an assistant teaching professor of biology, has recently co-authored two peer-reviewed research articles. One article, titled "Perlecan/Hspg2 deficiency impairs bone's calcium signaling and associated transcriptome in response to mechanical loading," was published in the February 2020 issue of Bone. The other article, titled "Trabecular Bone Deficit and Enhanced Anabolic Response to Re-Ambulation after Disuse in Perlecan-Deficient Skeleton," was published in Biomolecules in January 2020.
Share link: https://www.widener.edu/news/noteworthy/assistant-teaching-professor-catherine-kirn-safran-publishes-two-research-articles