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Sacramento State Faculty

Kelly McDonald

Faculty Portrait

Contact Information

Name: Kelly McDonald

Title: Associate Professor and Assistant Chair, Biological Sciences

Office Location: Humboldt 211C


Office Phone: (916) 278-5836

Mailing Address:

Sacramento State 6000 J Street Sacramento, CA 95819-6043

Office Hours: Wed 1:30-3:30pm, Thurs 1:30-2:30 or by appointment (in Sequoia 339)

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
  • Bio 195T: Teaching Internship - Syllabus
  • LA Pedagogy Course

Research Projects/Interests

I am a science education specialist with research interests focused on:

  • evaluating the effectiveness of specific active learning strategies, assessment techniques and   metacognitive activities on student success
  • examining the impact of undergraduate research and course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs) on student knowledge, skills and attitudes
  • examining the beliefs and attitudes of students preparing for careers in STEM teaching

Select Grants and Awards

NSF Improving Undergraduate STEM Education Award, Sustainable Interdisciplinary Research to Inspire Undergraduate Success (SIRIUS), 2014-2019.

W. M. Keck Foundation Grant, Sustainable Interdisciplinary Research to Inspire Undergraduate Success (SIRIUS), 2015-2016

NSF Robert Noyce Grant, Noyce Sac-MAST: Sacramento Math and Science Teaching Program, 2011-2016.

NSF Robert Noyce Grant, TEMSII: Teaching Excellence in Math and Science Scholars II, 2011-2016.

CSU Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology (CSUPERB) Programmatic Grant, Sustainable Science: Redesign of the Introduction to Cells, Molecules and Genes Laboratory, 2014-2015.

2013-2014 Outstanding Community Service Award, Natural Sciences and Mathematics, California State University, Sacramento


Refereed Journals

G. Andaya, V. Hrabak, S. Parks, R. E. Diaz, K K. McDonald. Examining the Effectiveness of a Post-Exam Review Activity to Promote Self-Regulation in Introductory Biology Students. Journal of College Science Teaching. In press.

K. K. McDonald and S. R. Gnagy. Lights, Camera, Acting Transport! Using Role-play to Teach Membrane Transport. CourseSource. 2015.

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

Select Posters and Presentations

K. McDonald, A. Martin, C. Watters, T. Landerholm. “Design and Impact of a Faculty DevelopmentProgram to Implement Inquiry-Based Curriculum across a Department,” Society for the Advancement of Biology Education and Research Annual Conference, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, Minneapolis, MN, July 14-17, 2016.

T. Landerholm, K. McDonald; “The Sacramento State SIRIUS Project: Sustainable Interdisciplinary Research to Inspire Undergraduate Success,” American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Science Foundation: Envisioning the Future of Undergraduate STEM Education Symposium, Washington, D.C., April 27-29, 2016.

A. R. Martin, K. Ahrens, M. Johnson, T. Landerholm, K. Mulligan, H. Nguyen, A. Rechs, K. K. McDonald. “Impacts of an Introductory Level Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) Exploring Microbial Diversity along the American River. CSUPERB annual conference, Orange County, CA, January 9-11, 2016.

E. J. Chiang, N. V. Dang, H.M. Brown, K.K. McDonald. “Evaluating Metacognitive Awareness and Self-Evaluation Skills in Introductory Molecular Biology Students.” CSUPERB annual conference, Orange County, CA, January 9-11, 2016.

A. R. Martin, C. Watters, M. Johnson, T. Landerholm, K. McDonald. “Evaluation of a Faculty Development Program toDesign Inquiry-Based Curriculum across a Department.” Association of American Colleges and Universities, Transforming STEM Education Conference, Seattle, WA, November 12-14, 2015.

A.R. Martin, C.P. Watters, M.A. Johnson, T.L. Landerholm, and K.K. McDonald. “The Sacramento State Sustainable Interdisciplinary Research to Inspire Undergraduate Success (SIRIUS) Project.” Poster at Gordon Research Conference, Lewiston, ME, July 2015.

G. Andaya, V. Hrabak, S. Parks, R. E. Diaz, and K. K. McDonald. “Measuring the Effectiveness of an Exam Review Activity to Promote Self-Evaluation Skills in Introductory Biology Students.” Society for the Advancement of Biology Education Researchers (SABER) Annual Conference, Minneapolis, MN, July 2014.

K. K. McDonald, R. E. Diaz, and S. Parks. “Transforming Introductory Biology with Pre-assignments, Group Work and Learning Assistants.” 17th Annual CSU Symposium on University Teaching, San Marco, CA, March 2014.

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)
  • American Society of Cell Biology (ASCB)

Nathan Dang at NSM research symposium

Nathan Dang at NSM Research Symposium, 2016

bike rider below Guy West Bridge

Jacob Chiang at NSM Research Symposium, 2016

Summer Biotechnology Institute

Mix Marion Elementary School Science Night

University Union

Collecting samples from the American River