Weekly Assignment

Students are expected to read the papers ahead of each session and to submit two questions to the instructor by 5 PM of the day prior to the class session. These questions will be talked through in a round-table discussion.

Midterm Assignment (due in Week #8)

Students will prepare a written proposal for future scientific research. The proposal should not exceed three pages in length (double line spacing) and should suggest one or more future experiments based on one of the papers previously discussed. Emphasis should be put on straightforward experimental design including appropriate controls. Central to the proposal should be a scientific question that directly derives from the given paper’s contents and suggested experiments to solve the problem. Students should discuss potential outcomes, caveats and problems that may arise.

Final Assignment (Week #13)

At the end of the course each participant is expected to give a 10-15 minute Power Point presentation describing a research article including its main findings, the techniques used and the implications of the results. The presentation should begin with an introduction, and should focus on the key experiments and controls. Students should discuss the conclusions made by the authors and whether or not those conclusions are warranted by the scientific data. Students are expected to identify and present key tables and figures from the article and to explain the critical experiments to the rest of the class. Finally, students should voice their opinion and critique the paper with respect to its validity and conclusions. The research article must be directly relevant to the course program and will ideally be a follow-up study of one of the publications discussed. Papers should be chosen by week 12 and be pre-approved by the instructor.