CGAB 502 Experimental Strategies for Biological Problems (3 credits)


Prerequisite : CGET 501 Integrated Life Sciences or equivalent

Course Description:


Research progress depends on applying the right technology and experimental approaches to the problem at hand. This course focuses on building up the experimental repertoire of students so that they are poised to maximally benefit from existing and emerging technologies. Students will learn in detail how cutting edge experiments are performed and how data is analyzed, with particular emphasis on controls and statistics. A broad range of techniques will be covered in the areas of molecular biology, biochemistry and genetics. In addition to the primary literature, students will be introduced to key web-based resources for supplies, protocols, experimental design and data interpretation. Students will be empowered to independently create research plans that draw upon appropriate sources of information to assure that the proposed approaches are appropriate, well described, and include foresight into potential problems and pitfalls.

For this course to be effective in propelling students into careers as independent researchers, the science must drive the application of appropriate technology. As such, technology will be taught in the context of important biological problems. Students will read and analyze primary papers in the literature and discuss the benefits and limitations of the techniques therein. Didactic lectures and in-depth discussions of the primary literature will be combined with short student presentations, home-assignments, team-oriented problem solving. As a final assignment, students will exploit their new ‘tool box’ of experimental approaches to independently design research plans to address current pressing biological problems.