Biotechnology Research

Course Description 2011-2012


Welcome science researchers! 
                  This class is for students who wish to learn more techniques in biotechnology and want to work independently on a science project involving laboratory research.  The class is designed for students who are resourceful, responsible, curious and patient.  As I am sure you have heard, you will use your time and attention differently in this class than in many classes.  I expect that you will make a significant commitment to your work, and in return I will do my best to support your efforts in designing and performing experiments as well as analyzing and presenting data.
                  In the first semester, you will learn lab techniques in biotechnology, keep a detailed lab notebook, determine a project idea, connect with an outside mentor and do research in the literature.  The second semester will be dedicated to performing independent projects that will be extensions of the techniques and ideas learned during the first semester.  Each student will be matched, individually or in a pair, with a mentor at a Bay Area company or academic laboratory.  Students may perform their experiments on campus or at the mentor’s lab, by agreement between the student and the mentor.  After your lab work is completed, each of you will compile a scientific paper and prepare a formal presentation of your work. 

What You Will Need

Binder-You will need a dedicated 3 ring binder to store your class handouts, notes and articles.  Please keep lined paper in this binder at all times, and keep all your work in order—as in any lab, your protocols and notes may be used by your supervisor and lab-mates, so you must keep materials organized enough for others to understand! This binder MUST be brought to class every day, as you will refer to it regularly.

Lab notebook - Get a bound lab notebook . You will not be allowed to tear pages out of this book.  It will be a permanent record of your work.   You will have an entry for every day that the class meets stating what you did each day.  The lab book should never leave the classroom.  More details about keeping a lab book will follow soon.

Box of gloves - You need to wear gloves when handling chemicals and biologicals.  Please buy yourself a box of latex or nitrile gloves in your size.  They are available at stores like Rite Aid, Longs and Costco for about $5 a box.

Goggles - You are required to wear goggles anytime you or anyone around you is doing lab work.  Please acquire your own pair and label them.  OR, if you prefer, I can order everyone a pair of the ultra-nerdy-cool neon goggles.









                  You will be graded on your class participation, your attitude, your effort in problem solving for your project, your lab techniques including clean up, your daily progress reports in your lab notebook, your written assignments, your written drafts and final scientific paper, and your final presentation.  There will be a strong emphasis on scientific writing in this class, and I expect that you will take the appropriate care with written assignments.  There will also be at least one lab practical exam in the first semester.  Percentages will be given as follows: