The need for changing how the natural sciences are taught and the expansion of undergraduate research experiences has been well-documented in the literature. One mechanism to accomplish these changes is the incorporation of course-based undergraduate research experiences. While isolated groups are introducing cell culture techniques into such experiences, there has been no coordinated effort to compile resources and provide training that makes creating customizable cell-culture-based research projects easier to implement at smaller, primarily undergraduate institutions and community colleges where faculty time and resources are limited. The Cell Biology Education Coalition (CBEC) will address these major shortfalls through the creation of a network of faculty, students, and resources that will provide an infrastructure to facilitate the development and implementation of unique student-driven research experiences. By creating projects that align with a curriculum's learning goals and desired student outcomes, these activities will help strengthen critical thinking skills in and beyond the classroom.<br/><br/>The primary activity of CBEC will be the development of "Cell Blocks," modules consisting of written and video protocols and classroom implementation strategies and assessments. Cell Blocks will be developed by faculty and their students at small institutions making it likely that they will be adaptable at similar schools. Because the Cell Blocks will have similar basic components, they will be able to be mixed and matched to answer novel questions. The implementation of multiple Cell Blocks will serve as the basis for semester-long research projects that provide the foundation for independent student research projects. Network faculty will have opportunities for professional development through the creation of new Cell Blocks, access to all Cell Block modules and associated supplies, and networking opportunities. Students will be able to interact within a community of scientists to expand on their experiences and create their own independent research projects, establish a funding record through a voucher system, and participate in professional development experiences. Such activities have the potential to increase the number of students entering STEM research fields at the graduate level and in the workforce. Additionally, because efforts will be made to recruit faculty from minority-serving institutions, the proposed network will have a pronounced effect on undergraduates underrepresented in STEM.<br/><br/> This project is being jointly funded by the Directorate for Biological Sciences, Division of Biological Infrastructure, and the Directorate for Education and Human Resources, Division of Undergraduate Education as part of their efforts to address the challenges posed in Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education: A Call to Action (http://visionandchange/finalreport/). Co-funding was provided by the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR).<br/><br/>This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.