BIOL 264:  Principles of Gene Manipulation

Fall Semester, 2006
Wednesdays 1:10 to 4:00 PM
FSH 204
Dr. Wade H. Powell
FSH 202; PBX 5396

I.  Course overview.

This course introduces students to molecular biology research through a collaborative, semester-long group project.  The planned project is designed to enable students to work independently, competently, and safely in a molecular biology laboratory.

The goal of the project is to clone cDNAs encoding Cytochrome P4501A (CYP1A) enzymes from several vertebrate species.  We will use the sequences of the cDNA clones we obtain to:  (1) construct the phylogenetic history of the protein during vertebrate evolution, and (2) to study of effect of environmental contaminants on the expression of the associated mRNAs.

View an outline of the cloning portion of the project in pdf format.

II. Policies and Expectations.

Attendance is mandatory for all fourteen (14) scheduled laboratory sessions.  Make-up labs will not be possible.  If you know that you will miss more than one Wednesday afternoon lab session (i.e. because of sporting events), see me as soon as possible.  The spring semester offering of BIOL 264 may be better suited for your schedule.

In addition many of the experiments will require additional time than is allotted in the three hour laboratory session.  Students are expected to do the work necessary to complete all the experiments.  When an exercise initiated during a lab period needs to be completed outside of the scheduled class period (before or after), I will be available to assist.

Safety is a prime concern in any molecular biology laboratory.   Information on the hazards and precautions associated with different chemicals and devices will always be provided.  However, you must ultimately be responsible for your own safety.  Work carefully and think before acting. Wear appropriate protective clothing, including eye protection, lab coats, and gloves. Please avoid sandals and other open toe shoes. If you have a question about a safety issue, stop the experiment and ask the instructor.

Proper preparation will be essential for completing the exercises in a safe and timely fashion.  Assigned reading material is to be completed before coming to class.  You should familiarize yourself with the protocols and copy them into your lab notebook before class time.  Handouts and protocols will be made continually available over the course of the semester.

III. Assignments and evaluation.  Each student's work will be evaluated based on written accounts of experimental work as well as laboratory participation and performance.  The final grade will be based on the following components:

Four (4) lab reports (15% each; 60% total).  These reports should demonstrate an understanding of the techniques used in the laboratory.  The understanding and applications of the techniques should be discussed here.  Results should also be included.  Letter grades will be given for each report.  Late reports will lose one degree of a letter grade each day they are late.  The due dates are indicated in the schedule, below.

Final Report (25%).  This report will encompass work done over the entire semester.  Background information, presentation of methods and results, and a discussion of the entire project should be included in a paper written in the editorial style of Molecular and Cellular Biology.  The final lab report is due no later than 4:30 PM Saturday, DEC 16Late reports cannot be accepted.

Lab Notebook (10%).  Purchase a bound, 60-sheet, quad-ruled lab notebook in the textbook or arts section of the bookstore.  This is your written log of experiments and results.  When writing a notebook, it is important to record all procedures and data daily.  You may provide a brief overview of experiments and results, but this is primarily a guide to and log of your daily bench work.  Your notebook should be with you at all times in the lab.  Detailed guidelines for keeping your lab notebook will be provided on a separate handout.  Notebooks will be collected for inspection and comment at various times during the semester (see course schedule).  Notebooks will be submitted for final evaluation and grading at the end of the semester, along with your final report (4:30 PM, Saturday Dec. 16).  Letter grades will be given for the final lab notebook.  Late reports will lose one degree of a letter grade each day they are late.

Class participation/Lab Performance (5%).  You will be evaluated on class participation and the quality of your work at the bench over the entire course.

IV.  Additional Notes

Course Schedule.  In this course we will experience all the uncertainties associated with doing real science.  This schedule may need to be amended.  Announcements of changes will be made in class.  However, dealines for assignments will be consistently observed.  See attached schedule for details.

Academic Honesty.  Kenyon's policy on academic honesty will be strictly observed (see Kenyon College Course of Study, pp. 26 - 29 or on-line).  Explicit guidelines relating to lab reports will be discussed on a separate handout and in class.

Special Needs.  For assistance related to a physical, psychological or learning disability that may impact your ability to participate fully in the course, please speak with me and with Erin Salva, Coordinator of Disabilities Services (PBX5453;  All information and documentation of disability is confidential. Please see the Disabilities Services web site for more information.

Office Hours.  My Fall 2006 office hours are:
M/11am-noon & 1-2pm; T&R/8:45-9:45 am; F/11am-noon.

Proceed to Biol 264 Schedule and Deadlines

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Last Modified August 9, 2006