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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Alison J Crowe
BIOL 400
Seattle Campus

Experiments in Molecular Biology

Integrated reading, writing, and experimentation in molecular biology. Design and implementation of experiments using modern molecular biology techniques to address current questions in biology. Emphasizes reading and evaluating primary research literature. Includes practice in different scientific writing styles. Prerequisite: minimum grade of 2.0 in BIOL 355.

Class description

This laboratory course is designed to provide students with an authentic research experience in molecular biology. Students' projects will be focused on how plants respond to environmental stress at the level of gene expression. Students will read the scientific literature, identify an unanswered question and design an experiment to test their hypothesis.

Student learning goals

Work collaboratively in a 3-4 person team to design and perform well controlled experiments

Evaluate exiting support for a hypothesis

Understand how experimental evidence is developed and the limitations of different approaches

Develop new hypotheses and design experiments to test those hypotheses

Become proficient with molecular biology techniques including DNA isolation, RNA isolation and reverse-transcriptase PCR

Communicate scientific ideas and/or interpretations articulately, both in writing and orally

General method of instruction

Students will work in small groups to develop a hypothesis and design and carry out an experiment to test that hypothesis. The focus will be on student-centered learning.

Recommended preparation

A strong background in cell biology (Biol 200 and Biol 355)

Class assignments and grading

Short writing assignments and presentations culminating in a final written assignment in the format of a scientific abstract containing preliminary data.

Tests and Grading Policy The writing assignments and conference abstract require you to apply the information and principles that you have learned. Consequently, mastery of information alone will not be sufficient to get a good grade in this class.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Alison J Crowe
Date: 04/25/2012