Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 1 session / week, 2 hours / session

Course Format

During the typical class session, we will analyze two papers in a discussion-based format. Everyone should read both papers before class, and each student should be prepared to answer questions. At the beginning of each class, we will have a question and answer period in which the instructor will respond to any specific questions that the students may have thought of while reading the articles. Immediately following, one or two students will present a brief summary of techniques essential to the topic of the papers. Students may volunteer to present the technique(s) of interest during the week prior to the discussion. We will spend the remainder of the class discussing the data presented in the article by analyzing each figure and resulting conclusions. Each class will conclude with a brief outline of the following week's class introduced by the instructor.

Note: The review and response articles have been included as supplemental material. I encourage you to read them to get a feel for the topic background, but they are not required reading and we will not discuss them directly.


Because this course has no graded exams, students are expected to attend every class meeting. The major focus will be on discussion and interpretation of scientific papers, so student attendance and participation is essential. Other than week 1, there will be no formal lectures and students should come to class prepared to participate in a discussion of the assigned papers. Missing a class should occur only in extreme circumstances. If a student knows he/she must miss a class, he/she must contact the instructor in advance and receive permission for the absence. Students who have been allowed an excused absence will be asked to complete a written assignment concerning the papers discussed during the missed class session.


As the goal of this course is to familiarize students with the reading and critical evaluation of the primary literature in the protein folding field, students are expected to have completed 7.03 (Genetics), 7.05 (Biochemistry), 7.06 (Cell Biology) or 7.08 (Molecular Biology). We will be dealing with several topics related to protein structure and design, and so a reasonable knowledge of introductory chemistry or biochemistry will be helpful.


There are no formal exams. The class has a pass/fail grading system.


In addition to the weekly reading assignments, there will be three one to two page written assignments and an oral presentation coinciding with the first written assignment.