BIOC 413 Experimental Molecular Biology

Instructors: Time and Location: Classes meet for at 4-5 weeks on Tuesday and Thursday in the 2nd half of spring semester from 1 - 5 p.m. in Biology Basement Teaching Labs; lab begins the week after spring break

Prerequisites: BIOS/BIOC 311: Advanced Experimental Biosciences or permission of instructor.

Registration: You may register on Esther.  Enrollment is limited to 12 students.

General Course Description: This course further advances record keeping and technical communication skills that were emphasized in BIOC 311: Experimental Biosciences. This lab course requires greater independence than BIOC 311 and BIOC 313. You will apply strategies in molecular biology to investigate gene expression and function in Arabidopsis, with an emphasis on experimental design, data analysis, and data interpretation. You will gain experience in preparation of a scientific poster.

Preparation: In preparation for class discussions, everyone is expected to read appropriate background material (articles are available in OWL-Space Resources). Additionally, you must come to lab prepared--this requires you to READ the experimental protocols on the course web site BEFORE coming to lab, not just print a copy of them and bring it with you. Bring only the information you need to perform the experiments. The procedures for each day are available from the Course Schedule page, and you will be given any additional information in the pre-lab meetings.

AIMS of Lab: This capstone laboratory course is a true Project-Based Laboratory (PjBL), as modeled after the labs designed by Ann Saterbak, Ph.D., in the Bioengineering Department at Rice University: our "clients" will be BCB faculty and/or collaborators in the Houston Medical Center. Our clients will provide students with a source of RNA (e.g., cells or tissues) and specify either a new target gene for primer design or an existing target gene that needs troubleshooting. The timeline from target identification to product analysis will be from March to April. Over the course of approximately one month, student teams will isolate total RNA and synthesize cDNA and will attempt to design, validate, and optimize both gene-of-interest and normalizer primer sets for qPCR using strategies that will help the protocol meet Minimum Information to Publish Q-PCR Experiments (MIQE) guidelines. At the end of the semester, deliverables include 1) laboratory notebook detailing primer design and the experimental approaches and 2) poster summarizing findings. Client’s representative will meet with students at the beginning of the project to identify the target sequence specifications and provide cells or tissue for RNA isolation and may also elect to optionally meet with students at time of product delivery.

Scientific Poster: Each team will prepare a scientific poster.

Assignments & Grading: Your final grade will be based on your lab notebook (team), class participation and lab performance (individual), poster (team), poster Q/A (individual), and reflections (individual).

Copyright, Acknowledgements, and Intended Use
Created by B. Beason (bbeason@rice.edu), Rice University, 18 February 2013
Updated 7 March 2015