Instructor Insights

Instructor Insights

7.341 The Microbiome and Drug Delivery: Cross-species Communication in Health and Disease is an undergraduate seminar course developed by MIT instructors/postdocs under the supervision of Professor Bob Horvitz (MIT Koch Professor and 2002 Nobel Laureate in Medicine). The instructors were responsible for developing the whole course syllabus, homework, midterm, and final evaluations as well as teaching all the class sessions independently.

In the following video, Drs. Ali Beyzavi and Miguel Jimenez describe various aspects of how they taught the course.


An Interview with Ali Beyzavi and Miguel Jimenez on Teaching the Microbiome and Drug Delivery

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Curriculum Information


Requirements Satisfied

Unrestricted elective credits


Advanced Undergraduate Seminars are offered nearly every semester and are on various topics. This was the first time this specific topic was offered.


Grade Breakdown

The course is graded as “pass” or “fail.” A passing grade is given to students who attend the class, participate in discussions, and complete both assignments in a satisfactory manner.

Student Information


Fewer than 10 students

Breakdown by Year

Primarily seniors

Breakdown by Major

Primarily Biology majors

Typical Student Background

The course targeted students not only from the biology department but also from the engineering departments; the goal was to have a class that could read and discuss papers dealing with both drug delivery and the biology of the microbiome and signaling between cells.

How Student Time Was Spent

During an average week, students were expected to spend 6 hours on the course, roughly divided as follows:

In Class

  • Met once per week for 2 hours per session; 14 sessions total; mandatory attendance
  • In the first part of each week’s class, students discussed and evaluated the papers that comprised the readings for the week.
  • At the end of each class, the instructors gave a short introduction to the papers for the following week.

Out of Class

Each week, students read two papers from the primary research literature and critically evaluated these papers focusing on experimental design, control experiments, methods and interpretation of the data.

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2018
Learning Resource Types
Presentation Assignments
Written Assignments
Instructor Insights