The broad objective of BSCI 280 is for the student to be familiar with the principal current projects and publications of a research laboratory (in the case of a large laboratory, the focus may be on a part of the laboratory). In order to do this, the student will need to become familiar with the most important current literature that is significant for the work in the laboratory, and perhaps take part in a research project in the laboratory.
The emphasis of the course will be on scientific reading and obtaining sufficient practical experience to comprehend the process of development of scientific ideas, as well as the problems and difficulties involved in research. This usually entails reading primary literature papers from the lab and from other labs doing very similar research. The student should learn about the aims and projects of the lab, the organism being studied, the significance and importance of the research, how it fits with other research in the field, what methods and techniques are used to address the questions being examined, and the current status of what is known and what is unknown in the field. By the end of the semester, the student should be able to describe the work of the laboratory in terms readily comprehensible to scientists in related but different fields.
Students may also participate in a limited and highly directed project, such as assisting other workers in the lab. This might focus on learning particular methodologies and techniques that will be used in the student's research project in BSCI 283 and 286.
BSCI 280 is considered an entry course to Directed Research (BSCI 283) and subsequent courses (Independent Research (BSCI 286), Honors Research (BSCI 296) ), or it may be a self-contained research experience.
Prerequisite: BSCI 110A. Prerequisite or Corequisite: 110B.
c) Selection of a research mentor
The student will select a mentor from the faculty of the Department of Biological Sciences.Faculty from departments other than Biological Sciences are not eligible to serve as research mentors unless they play an active role in the teaching of Biological Sciences majors or they agree to serve along with a comentor from the Biological Sciences faculty. It is recommended that students interview several faculty members before making a selection. The research interests and recent publications of the Biological Sciences faculty may be found at the Department web site.
If the faculty mentor is not in the BSCI department, the course coordinator (email@example.com) should be notified of whom the mentor and co-mentor will be prior to completing and turning in the application. The mentor must read the criteria we have for both the mentor and the student and agree to abide by these. For all students, an application must be filled out as described below. It is highly recommended that interviews, arrangements, and notification of the course coordinator be completed prior to the beginning of the registration period.
d) Application / Registration
Read the course requirements (below)
Select a research mentor. (above)
Download and complete the application form
e-mail the completed application form to your research mentor.
Your research mentor should then forward the entire e-mail, including the attachment, to Nikki Moore (firstname.lastname@example.org). This process assures the department that the research advisor has seen and approved the application. Assuming you meet all of the requirements and have taken the appropriate prerequisites, you will be registered. Please note that you cannot register for this course through YES; you must send in the application and be registered by the departmental administrator.The application process should be completed during the registration period and certainly prior to the beginning of the semester.
Research effort. The goal of the research component of this course is not research achievement. Rather, the student will use the time to become familiar with the research process and the work being done in the lab. Reading and understanding the relevant research literature and discussions with the mentor and other members of the laboratory are important components of the course.
Final report. This is an 6 to 10 page report, due on the last day of classes. There is no particular format that is required. The student should consult with the mentor as to how the paper should be written and generally what it should contain. One suggested format is the form of a literature review that reviews the work being carried out in the lab, based on the various papers that were read during the semester. It might contain background information, a description of current projects, the significance of the research, a section in which future directions of research are discussed, and a reference list of the papers that were read. References should be given in the text by author (use the form "et al." for references with more than two authors), and listed alphabetically at the end of the report in the style of Journal of Molecular Biology, Journal of Cell Biology, or similar. The reference list should include titles, and beginning and ending page numbers. Figures and tables are permitted but not required. The page length includes figure legends, but not figures, tables, or the reference list.
It is fine to have the mentor comment on an initial draft before finalizing the paper. A copy of the final paper should be given to the mentor and sent to email@example.com prior to 4 pm on the last day of classes.
The course coordinator, in consultation with the research mentor, will determine the student's final grade in the course based primarily on the performance during the semester and on the final paper.