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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Alison J Crowe
BIOL 401
Seattle Campus

Advanced Cell Biology

Selected topics in molecular cell biology. Strong emphasis on reading and interpreting primary research literature. Writing intensive course. Prerequisite: BIOL 355.

Class description

This course will focus on selected topics in molecular cell biology including protein trafficking, epigenetic regulation of gene expression, cell differentiation and cell signaling. The focus will be on how we have learned what we know about these processes and what unanswered questions remain. Although students will complete several short writing assignments during the quarter, no "W" credit will be given for this course unless student requests this and completes an additional assignment.

Student learning goals

• Evaluate the relative merit of using a particular molecular technique to address a specific research question

• Interpret cellular and molecular data (e.g. gels, graphs)

• Predict outcomes of future experiments based on existing data

• Develop new hypotheses and design experiments to test those hypotheses

• Understand the scientific process of how hypotheses are developed and tested

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

General method of instruction

Students will work in small groups to analyze data and design new hypotheses and experiments. The focus will be on student-centered learning.

Recommended preparation

A strong background in cell biology and genetics (e.g. Biol 355, Genome 371)

Class assignments and grading

Short writing assignments designed to help students design experiments and analyze scientific papers; midterm and final exam focused on problem-solving.

Tests and Grading Policy The writing assignments and final exam 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. Instead of memorization, we expect you to be able to apply information in a critical way to situations that you may not have thought about yet. To receive a good grade you should attend lecture, study and read the text with the goal of understanding processes. The midterm and final exam will be patterned after the in-class workshops and the discussion sections. You will be asked to interpret data figures (similar to those you have already analyzed in class and in discussion sections), draw conclusions from the data, and communicate your interpretation of the data clearly and concisely. The material covered will include lectures, discussion sections and assigned readings. No make-up exams will be given except in the case of medical emergencies or death in the family. Even then, you should try to talk with us before the exam day. Requests for midterm regrades must be typed, stapled to your exam, and received within 1 week of the day we return the midterms. You may hand them in at lecture or section, but we will NOT accept regrade requests left in our mailboxes. Due to time limitations, no regrades for the final exam will be considered. If you identify mistakes in adding points on the final exam please contact Dr. Crowe as soon as possible.

Your grade will be determined based on your percentage of total possible points. The total possible points will be determined by averaging the top three students’ scores in the class. 90% = 3.5; 80% = 2.5; 70% = 1.5; 60% = 0.7 (lowest passing grade)


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.
Additional Information
Last Update by Alison J Crowe
Date: 04/25/2012