Kelly McDonald

  • Contact Information

  • Title: Assistant Professor
  • Office Location: Humboldt 211C
  • Office Hours: Tues. 4:30-6:00 pm, Wed 2:30-4:00 pm, or by appointment (in Sequoia 339)
  • E-mail:
  • Office Phone: (916) 278-5836
  • Mailing Address: Sacramento State 6000 J Street Sacramento, CA 95819-6043
  • Where to find me: Humboldt 211C or Sequoia 339 (for office hours)

Courses that I teach

  • Bio 2: Cells, Molecules and Genes - Syllabus
  • Bio 297A/B: Teaching Biology Seminar and Laboratory Teaching (Fall only)
  • Bio 195T: Teaching Internship - Syllabus

Research Projects/Interests

I am a science education specialist with research interests focused on the retention and success of introductory level biology students and the preparation of secondary and post-secondary biology teachers. My research group is currently engaged in:

- testing the effectiveness of active learning strategies and different assessment techniques,

- identifying specific challenges encountered by Introductory Biology students,

- examining the impact of undergraduate research experiences,

- examining the beliefs and attitudes of students during their teacher training,

- evaluating the impact of service learning across various disciplines


Refereed Journals

K. K. McDonald and J. Gomes. Evaluating Student Preparedness and Conceptual Change in Introductory Biology Students Studying Gene Expression. 2013. Journal of Transformative Leadership and Policy Studies. 3 (1), 22-35.

S. S. Hannenhalli, R. P. Middleton, S. Levy, B. Perroud, J. Holzwarth, K. K. McDonald, S. S. Hannah. Identification and Cross-Species Comparison of Canine Osteoarthritic gene Regulatory cis-elements. 2006. OsteoArthritis and Cartilage. 14, 830-838.

K. K. McDonald, S. Zharikov, E. R. Block, M. S. Kilberg.  Localization in caveolae of a complex between the CAT1 arginine transporter and endothelial nitric oxide synthetase may explain the arginine paradox.  1998.  Journal of Biological Chemistry.  272:31213-31216.

J. C. Matthews, A. M. Aslanian, K. K. McDonald, M. S. Malandro, B. K. Tamarapoo, D. A. Novak, and M. S. Kilberg.  Expression of mammalian amino acid transporters: A new model transfection system for stably-maintained episomal vector. 1997.  Anal. Biochem.  254:208-214.

K. K. McDonald, R. Rouhani, M. E. Handlogten, E. R. Block, O. W. Griffith, R. D. Allison, M. S. Kilberg.  Inhibition of endothelial cell amino acid transport System y+ by arginine analogs that inhibit nitric oxide synthase.  1997. Biochim. et biophys. acta 1324:133-141.

B. K. Tamarappoo, K. K. McDonald, M. S. Kilberg.  Expressed human hippocampal ASCT1 amino acid transporter exhibits a pH-dependent change in substrate specificity.  1996.  Biochim. et biophys. act.76794:131-136.

Book Chapters and Government Reports

K. K. McDonald, T. S. Gross, N. D. Denslow, V. S. Blazer, B. S. Arnold. Reproductive Indicators (2001) In: The 1995 Mississippi River Basin Report. Schmitt, C. J. and Dethloff, G. Eds.

T. S. Gross, B. S. Arnold, M. S. Sepúlveda, K. K. McDonald. Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals and Endocrine Active Agents (2001). In: Handbook of Ecotoxicology.

K. K. McDonald, T. S. Gross, N. D. Denslow, V. Blazer. Reproductive Indicators (1999) In: Biomonitoring of Environmental Status and Trends (BEST) Program: Selected Methods for Monitoring Chemical Contaminants and their Effects in Aquatic Ecosystems. Schmitt, C. J. and Dethloff, G. Eds.

Trade Journals

Caifu Chen, Kelly K. McDonald, Ada H. Wong, Olga V. Petrauskene, Manohar R. Furtado. Real-Time PCR for RNAi and MicroRNA Applications. 2005. Genomics and Proteomics. Vol.5, no.2

Caifu Chen, Kelly McDonald, Ada H. Wong, Olga V. Petrauskene and Manohar R. Furtado. Real-time PCR: Advancing RNA Interference and MicroRNA Studies. May 2005. Pharmaceutical Discovery

Posters and Presentations

G. Andaya, V. Hrabak, S. Parks, R. E. Diaz and K K. McDonald. The Use of Exam Reviews to Promote the Development of Self-Regulatory Skills in Introductory Biology Students. Presentation at Society for the Advancement of Biology Education Researchers (SABER) Annual Conference, Minneapolis, MN, July 2014. Manuscript in preparation.

C. Watters, T. Landerholm, and K. K. McDonald. “An Inquiry-Based Model for Teaching Large-Scale Scientific Problems Spanning the Curriculum.” Presentation at CSU Teaching Symposium, California Maritime Academy, January 2013.

S. Gnagy and K. K. McDonald. “Lights, camera, acting transport! Participation in activity improves student understanding and retention of key concepts related to membrane transport.” Presentation at Society for the Advancement of Biology Education Researchers (SABER) Annual Conference, Minneapolis, MN, July 2012. Manuscript submitted.

A. Cruz and K. K. McDonald. “A Comparative Study of Assessment Formats in an Undergraduate Anatomy and Physiology Course.” Poster at Society for the Advancement of Biology Education Researchers (SABER) Annual Conference, Minneapolis, MN, July 2012.

K. K. McDonald, S. Gnagy and N. Ewing. “From Genotype to Phenotype: A Research Project for Introductory Biology students that promotes contextualization, connection, and communication of key concepts.” Presentation at Introductory Biology Project Conference, Washington, DC, June 2012.

D. Sessoms, K. K. McDonald, G. Shannon. “Noyce Sac‐MAST: Sacramento Math and Science Teaching Program Year 1.” Poster at NSF Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program Annual Conference, Washington DC, May 2012.

K. K. McDonald, B. Aranguren, J. Oloff-Lewis, D. Kagan, and D. Sessoms.  “An Urban-Rural University Partnership: Understanding the Other,” Presentation at NSF Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program Annual Conference, Washington DC, May 2012.

J.M. Gomes and K.K. McDonald. "Using Public Databases to Enhance Learning of Molecular Biology and Genetics in a Lower Division College Biology Course." National Science Teacher Association’s National Conference on Science Education, San Francisco, CA, 2011.

S. Elliott, L. Muilenburg, E. Desy, M. Durant, and K. K McDonald. "Early Predictive Risk or Success Factors in Introductory Biology: Hallmarks for Intervention Strategies." Society for the Advancement of Biology Education Research conference, Minneapolis, MN, 2011.

K.K. McDonald and K. Kubo. "Bacteria, Blogs, Bioinformatics and More: Using Technology to Enhance a College Microbiology Course." National Science Teachers Association area conference, Phoenix, AZ, December 2009.

K. Sorensen and K.K. McDonald. "Student Reflections on the Use of Study Skills in their Introductory Science Courses." Society for Science College Teachers Conference, New Orleans, LA, March 2009.

K.K. McDonald and K. Kubo. "Explore Your World with Bioinformatics." National Science Teachers Association area conference, Portland, OR, November 2008.

Professional Associations

  • Society for the Advancement of Biology Education Research (SABER)
  • American Association of the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
  • Society of College Science Teachers (SCST)
  • National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)
  • National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT)
  • National Association of Research in Science Teaching (NARST)
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology Society (HAPS)

Eagle Lake

The library quad

bike rider below Guy West Bridge

Guy West Bridge

Summer Biotechnology Institute

Summer Biotechnology Institute

University Union

University Union