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Yeast and Oxygen: Incorporating Functional Genomics Research into Three Integrated Undergraduate Laboratory Classes Clare OConnor Biology Department Boston.

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Presentation on theme: "Yeast and Oxygen: Incorporating Functional Genomics Research into Three Integrated Undergraduate Laboratory Classes Clare OConnor Biology Department Boston."— Presentation transcript:

1 Yeast and Oxygen: Incorporating Functional Genomics Research into Three Integrated Undergraduate Laboratory Classes Clare OConnor Biology Department Boston College

2 The problem: How can we provide large numbers of undergraduate students the opportunity to participate in original research in biology? Too many undergraduate majors: ~700 Too few faculty research labs: 18 A solution: Reconfigure existing advanced laboratory classes (cell biology, molecular biology, biochemistry) to include original research activities Genome projects with model organisms have provided a wealth of resources that can be used by undergraduate students

3 The science: Yeast and oxygen Yeast are an excellent choice for undergraduate experiments rapid growth, simple culture and storage requirements wealth of information and resources available Oxidative damage is important and interesting to students students are aware of positive effects of antioxidants implications for human disease connections to chemistry Year 3: Focus on yeast methionine sulfoxide reductases

4 Bovine MsrA YER042W N. gonorrhoeae YCL033C E. coli Frmsr YKL069W Orthologs of putative yeast Msrs are structurally divergent enzymes with related functions High-throughput studies show different sets of interactors YER042W is considered by SGD to be functionally characterized YCL033C is an uncharacterized ORF with putative Msr function YKL069W is listed as an ORF with unknown function

5 Course goals Students will learn to construct scientific hypotheses based on existing knowledge. Students will design experiments to test their hypotheses and critically evaluate the results. Students will learn effective time management and cooperation skills by working in teams. Students will communicate their results in scientific publications and oral presentations. Students will appreciate the interdisciplinary aspects of modern science.

6 Typical course schedule Course kick-off - classes meet together First few weeks Students: become familiar with basic techniques are organized into teams use databases and literature to formulate hypotheses ~1 month Students submit and refine proposals Remaining weeks Students work on projects weekly group meetings literature presentations prepare reports in format of scientific publication

7 Coordination: class website with multiple components Publicly available in early 2008 Provides student access 24/7 Easily updated as documents are revised Room to grow

8 Course pages serve multiple functions Syllabi Lectures Class data

9 Protocols are available for student use as needed A long list

10 Tutorials are constructed with Adobe Captivate Output as Flash movies (.swf) Slides - computer screen shots, Power point slides, images Sound - imports sound directly also imports mp3 files constructed in Audacity

11 MsrA

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15 Students present their results Students from the courses meet several times per semester Poster sessions

16 Evaluation: pre- and post-course survey How familiar are you with…..? (1=not; 2=somewhat; 3=fairly; 4=very) Pre-Post-Change Methods used by cell biologists to answer questions Methods used by biochemists to answer questions Online databases containing genetic information for humans or model organisms

17 Evaluation: pre- and post-course survey How confident are you that you can…..? (1=not; 2=somewhat; 3=fairly; 4=very) Pre-Post-Change Construct a testable hypothesis Design an experiment to test hypothesis Identify appropriate controls in an experiment Critically evaluate experimental results Write a scientific paper Organize scientific data into a figure or table for publication Schedule activities involved in an experiment Present results in an oral presentation

18 Lab partners for life? One unanticipated outcome Teams Students prefer groups of three

19 Thanks to: Instructors Arlene Wyman John Wing Michael Piatelli Students! BC Academic Technology Sarah Castricum Bill Porter Beth Clarke Lynch School of Education Michael Barnett Larry Ludlow Katie Trong National Science Foundation


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