Written Assignment (Due Week 7)

There will be one written assignment for the course. The purpose of the assignment is to practice designing experiments and determining research directions. In Week 5, students will be provided one figure representing the results of a single experiment performed using methods we will have discussed in previous classes. Based on the data, students must design and propose two additional follow-up experiments. The proposal should be two to three pages, double spaced, Times New Roman, 11 point font, and 1 inch page margins.

Midterm Written Assignment (PDF)

Oral Assignment (Due Week 13)

Each student will make one oral presentation. The purpose of the assignment is to apply the skills learned during the course to independently critique a scientific article. Students will select a primary research publication from a provided list. The publications will focus on types of noncoding-RNAs and aspects of RNA regulation that were not covered during the course, including snRNAs, piRNAs, eRNAs, and tssRNAs. After selecting and reading the article, students will prepare a short Powerpoint presentation as a means to share the research findings with the class.

The presentation should contain the following information:

  • Introduction (1 slide). Provide a brief background for the context of the study. What was the state of knowledge in the field, and what question were the authors trying to answer?
  • Methods (1–2 slides). Provide a brief description of the experimental approach in the study.
  • Results (3–5 slides). Identify the key figure(s) or table(s), and present one slide per figure.
  • Identify the key experimental data and control(s) in each figure. You should not present every figure from the paper but rather highlight those you consider most significant to addressing the authors' questions and reaching their conclusions. Point out any weaknesses you find.
  • Conclusions (1 slide). Share the conclusions provided by the authors and discuss whether you agree or disagree.

Each student will be provided 15–20 minutes to present his or her paper to the class.