Written Assignment (due Week 7)
In Week 3 we will distribute a 4–5 page research paper in a format comparable to those we have covered in previous classes. The title, three data figures and two paragraphs of the results sections will be omitted. Students are required to suggest an appropriate title and propose written sections and illustrate the missing figures. The data and written results section should support the conclusions described in the paper. Do not look up the original research paper. The purpose of this exercise is to develop your understanding of the different sections of a research paper. Students will practice interpreting results by drawing hypothetical figures and describing hypothetical data. The instructors will be available to meet with students about this exercise as needed.
Oral presentation (due in the final class)
Students will be required to select one paper from the primary literature (to be approved by instructors) and prepare a 15-minute PowerPoint or Keynote presentation (10–15 slides) to be delivered during the last class session. Papers can be about any subject related to the topics discussed in class. Presentations should include a summary of background and techniques (2–3 slides) and a critical analysis of the methods, data, controls, and author’s data interpretation (6–10 slides). Evaluate how the experiments were conducted by focusing on the key figure(s) and / or table(s), and explain if the data warrant the conclusions. Students should also comment about possible future directions for the research (1 slide). The oral presentation should trigger a discussion with the entire group. Be prepared to respond to questions from the other students and the instructors during your presentation. The instructors will be available to meet with students about this exercise as needed. First paper choices must be submitted via email to the instructors by Week 8, and the final selection should be made by Week 9.
Field Trip to the MGH (Week 8)
We will visit the laboratory of Dr. Sam Moskowitz at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Some details about the work Dr. Moskowitz does and the field trip are described in Week 8 of the syllabus.