Aaron Sholders Associate Professor

Office: AZ E206D

Phone: (970) 491-7916


  • B.S. in Chemistry - University of Northern Colorado
  • M.S. in Biochemistry - Colorado State University
  • Ph.D. in Biochemistry - Colorado State University


My current research is directed at the development of a Biochemistry Concept Learning Inventory.  Concept Learning Inventories are an educational instrument designed to assess whether a student has an accurate understanding/working knowledge of a set of defined and specific concepts within an academic discipline. These instruments are currently being used in biology, physics, and chemistry to evaluate the effectiveness of new teaching methodologies within these disciplines. The purpose of the current research is to develop such a tool in order to:

1. Measure learning gains of students in a single semester biochemistry course.
2. Evaluate whether new and innovative teaching strategies can increase learning gains for students in a single semester biochemistry course.

In addition to this work I am also developing two inquiry-based laboratories.  The first is BC404.  In this course I have developed an inquiry-based project in which students get to clone, mutate, and characterize lactate dehydrogenase (an enzyme they learn about in metabolism, BC403).  Each student is required to come up with their own mutation and a hypothesis for how their mutation will impact enzymatic activity.  They are then given the tools to make that mutation and test their hypothesis.  This second is BC406.  This lab is currently under development and its goal is to allow student to work on research projects and ideas supported by PI's within our department as well as the BASIL (Biochemistry Authentic Scientific Inquiry Lab) project. This lab will give further research exeperience to students at CSU training them to transition from being a student to a scientist. 

My teaching Philosophy consists of three primary elements:

1.     My students need to see me as a human being and to connect with me as a person.  The foundation of a good learning environment is one in which the learner feels connected to and trusts the one instructing them.

2.     My students come from wonderfully diverse educational, cultural, and personal backgrounds.  The truth of this cannot however, change the fact that each student will be placed under the same set of expectations.  Learning objectives cannot, and should not, be tailored to each individual student.  Given this I must provide a multiplicity of resources for the multiplicity of learning styles, preferences, and educational backgrounds found in my students.  I want the truth to be accessible to them all!

3.     My students much be challenged.  They need an environment that exposes previously held misconceptions and encourages them to think and the freedom and forum to ask questions and seek for answers. 


  • Principles of Biochemistry, 2nd Edition Aaron J. Sholders and Brian KaletGreat Rivers Learning, 20199781644961773
  • Distinct Conformations of a Putative Translocation Element in Poliovirus Polymerase.Aaron J. Sholders and Olve B. PeersenJournal of Molecular Biology, 2014
  • A Fluorescence Polarization-based Screening Assay for Nucleic Acid Polymerase Elongation ActivitySantano P. Mesta, Aaron J. Sholders, and Olve B. PeersenAnalytical Biochemistry , 2007
  • Contribution of Buried Lysine Residues to the Oligomerization Specificity and Stability of the Fos Coiled Coil.Kathleen Campbell, Aaron J. Sholders, and Kevin J. LumbBiochemsitry , 2002