The primary assignment in this course is to read two papers each week and formulate two questions per paper to be emailed to the instructors.
Written Assignment (Due Week 9)
There will be one written assignment. In Week 5, students will be given an abstract from a real scientific paper. Students will design a set of experiments that, given what has been learned in the course, could lead to the conclusions of the authors. Students are expected to submit a 2–3 page double-spaced paper describing 5 figures that would lead to the conclusions in the abstract. The text should be written in the form of figure legends from a scientific paper, indicating the experiments that were done and the results observed. Mock data need not be provided. The instructors will distribute a completed example assignment for help in preparing the assignment.
Oral Presentation (During Last Class in Week 13)
There will be one oral presentation assignment. Students will be provided with a list of interesting cancer metabolism and diabetes papers that we did not have time to cover in the class. Each student will select one paper and deliver a 15-minute PowerPoint presentation about the manuscript. The point of this assignment is not to simply provide a summary of the results but rather to critically analyze the paper and discuss the implications of the results. Students are expected to briefly provide background information to explain the question the authors (tried to) address (1–2 slides). Students should then provide an explanation of the methods used, an analysis of the results and discuss if the results justify the conclusion the authors reach. Critically analyzing the experimental design and conclusions of the paper is the primary focus of this assignment. The majority of the slides should focus on this aspect of the presentation. 2–3 slides should be used to describe the experimental methods and 4–5 slides should examine the results of the key experiments, controls, and conclusions that arise. In this section, students should select what they consider to the most significant “linchpin” result in the paper and explain its importance, as well as the controls for that experiment. Lastly, students should conclude with a brief description of the major unanswered questions and propose a simple description of “next step” experiments to address these questions (1–2 slides). The presenting student should answer questions from the rest of the group.