Selected topics in molecular cell biology. Strong emphasis on reading and interpreting primary research literature. Writing intensive course. Prerequisite: BIOL 355.
Because there are many students trying to get into this class, you must be present the first day to retain your place in the class.
The subject of Biology 401 during W 2008 will be the regulation of the cell cycle. We will examine check points and other regulatory events from replication to cell division. Both mitosis and meiosis will be included. The course encourages and teaches students to move from rote learning to using and integrating knowledge in solving problems. Biology 401 is a writing course and students will receive extensive feedback from instructors on writing.
Student learning goals
(1) How scientists formulate questions about cell biology.
(2) How to find original research papers on Entrez PubMed.
(3) How to analyzing and interpret research data.
(4) How to integrate information from several sources.
(5) How to express ideas in writing and orally in a clear concise manner.
(6) Areas of cell biology covered vary in Biology 401, but Winter 2009 will be on the regulation of cell division, including cell signaling. Including the regulation of the cell cycle: mitosis and meiosis.
General method of instruction
The general method of instruction will be to ask biological questions and to learn how experiments are designed and carried out to answer these questions. The students will learn how to analyze data from experiments. After analyzing the data (e.g. micrographs, protein gels, graphs) the students will be taught how to present the information and write in a scientific manner. Both include learning how to integrate the knowledge into a discussion of how the cell functions. The lectures will be on materials related to the written assignments and are of the same philosophy. After introducing biological questions and concepts, we will discuss how experiments are designed to answer these questions and how the data is analyzed and interpreted. Areas of cell biology covered vary, but Winter 2009 will be the regulation of cell division, including cell signaling.
Students should have a working knowledge of Biology 200 and Biology 355, That is students should feel comfortable discussing how molecules function in cells. Alternative courses which help prepare students for this course are Genetics 371 or 372 or Biochemistry 405 and406, and Biochemistry 440, 441 and or 442.
Class assignments and grading
The students will work in assigned groups to search the PubMed for literature papers on their particular regulatory mechanism. Each group will give a power point lecture to explain their regulatory mechanism to the class during the last 2 weeks of the quarter. Each individual will also write a 2- to 3-page paper on their particular part of that regulatory mechanism. There will be two exams. A midterm on the lecture material and a final that covers not only the last lectures but also the presentations by the various group. The exams will address how questions in biology are answered by experiments.
The literature search for the oral presentations and the presentation in the section meeting will comprise about 60-70% of the grade. Outlines and weekly reports on the projects will be required in order to keep everyone on schedule. The exams comprise about 40-50% of the grade.