Academics & Research

UH professor creates asthma research class


The Honors College has developed a research-based course meant to bring together students from every concentration in hopes to create a deeper understanding of the causes of asthma and develop a type of teaching UH has never seen before. The program is set to launch in spring.

Daniel Price, research assistant professor and director of this new open-honors anthropology class called Asthmatic Spaces: Houston, said he sees this class as the right stepping stone on the path for UH to become a flagship university.

“The difference between tier-one and tier-two is that a tier-one institution is going to be creative,” Price said.

“Tier-one classes lead in creating a new framework for teaching, that other schools will want to follow, and that is what this class is going to do.”

Price said he hopes to use this course as a testing ground for a new wave of research practicum.

Instead of asking his students to focus on how to cure the chronic lung disease, Price wants his students to dive deeper into the subject matter; they will use problem-based learning to ask themselves how and why their area of concentration is important in the development of asthma.

With 15 students enrolled in the class, Price and his students are excited for what is in store for them in the months to come.

Junior anthropology and psychology major Erica Fletcher, who works as one of Price’s research assistants, is one of the many students eager to see what this class has to offer.

“I am excited about learning from Dr. Price since he is so well-versed in interdisciplinary work. It is not every day that a philosopher teaches an anthropology class and I look forward to this new experience,” Fletcher said.

Within the first week, Price already had his students contemplating topics and ideas their fields of study would usually not touch.

“This class is already making me rethink some of my research processes. One theme that we have discussed in class is the combination or synergy of qualitative and quantitative research in both the medical and social sciences. Thinking about this topic will definitely help me with my Senior Honors Thesis next year,” Fletcher said.

Price and his students will partner with associate professor at New York’s Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Rice University alumna Kim Fortun.

Fortun has already been developing a collaborative work called the Asthma Files, which is one of the main reasons behind Price’s interest in asthma.

Students participating in the course will be presented internship opportunities with the City of Houston, which will help them incorporate real-life situations into their research.

Price hopes to hold a conference in the fall to show what progress has been made by his students and what plans the class has for the future.

“It ties into what people think about health already. We just want to expand upon that type of teaching and see where that takes us.”


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