Bio 2289 (formerly 295)

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Meets: Tuesday, 3:30-4:45 in BioPhysics 131

Instructor: Dr. Chuck Smith Office: BioPharm 412

Office Phone: 486-4158 Office Hours: By appointment

Email: (Your emails to me MUST contain the phrase “Bio 2289” in the subject line; email received without that phrase, and especially those with a blank subject line, will be DELETED without being read.)

Science News Summary Questions are now online

Goals of this course:

1. Produce a resume that can be submitted to a perspective employer

2. Provide an opportunity for you to learn about on-going research in the various biological departments on campus

3. Help you focus on specific areas of interest and research opportunities as future undergraduates

4. Familiarize you with faculty and research in many areas of biology – biodiversity, conservation biology, molecular biology, physiology, ecology, and evolution. Learn how researchers ask questions, what resources are available, and how to go about “doing” science.


Assignment Points
Resume 10
Seminar 5-minute papers* 40
Science news summaries 30
Lab paper 1 10
Lab paper 2 10
100 points total

Letter grades will be assigned on a 10-point numerical basis (i.e. 90-100 = A).

Class Schedule:

Date Speaker Topic Check Before Class
Jan 20 Intro Class structure; grading
Jan 27 Dr. Jane O'Donnell Collections tour [[1]]
Feb 3 snow day
Feb 10 Dr. Jennifer Lease Butts / Dr. Jill Deans Office of Undergraduate Research / Office of National Scholarships [[2]][[3]]
Feb 17 Clinton Morse Tour of greenhouses [[4]]
Feb 24 Dr. Daniel Mulkey Topic [[5]]
Mar 3 Dr. Eric Schultz Topic [[6]]
Mar 17 Dr. Chris Simon Undergraduate Research Opportunities in Molecular Systematics and Evolution in the Simon Lab [[7]]
Mar 24 Frank Smith Development and the Evolution of Morphology Link
Mar 31 Dr. Joanne Conover Neural stem cell biology and its application in neurodegenerative disease [[8]]
Apr 7 Tobias Landberg Salamanders and turtles [[9]]
Apr 14 Dr. Marie Cantino Electron Microscopy lab [[10]]
Apr 21 Susan Herrick Acoustic Interactions between bullfrogs and green frogs
Apr 28 Wrap up/Discussion What did you learn? How will you use it?

REQUIRED TEXT: The New York Times, Science Section: Every week I will expect you to come to class having read the previous week's Science Times section of the New York Times newspaper (Science Times is published every Tuesday). If you are an Honors Student living in Honors Housing, a limited number of hard copies of the NYT will be available for free in common areas. If you are not living in Honors Housing, you can obtain a subscription to the NYT at (discounted) student rates at the Coop Newstand in the library. Here's a link to the student subscription form: [11] The Science Times section can also be read (along with most of the rest of the paper) online at


Resume: A resume should provide the target audience with relevant information in a well-organized and easy-to-read format. It shouldn't be a padded list of everything you've ever done! The idea will be to provide information useful to a prospective employer - including mentor/PI in a research lab. Check online for potential formats.

Seminar 5-minute papers (eight at 5 points ea): At the end of class sessions we will take 5 minutes to write SHORT papers summarizing what we learned from that day’s lecture. These will be structured around a set of questions, provided in class by me, that will help you assess each lecture.

Science news summaries (six at 5 points ea): At the end of class sessions we will also take 5 minutes (for a total of 10 minutes) to write SHORT summaries, again structured around set questions provided in class, of science news drawn from the previous Tuesday's New York Times Science Times section. You may use any article from that day that you wish, but it must be drawn from that day's NYT. You may bring your copy of the paper/article to class for reference, but be forewarned that there will not be enough time in class to both read your article, and complete the assignment. If you are finding it challenging to get to class early enough to do your science summary, you can retrieve the form earlier in the day here, print it out, complete it and turn it in NO LATER THAN THE END OF THE CLASS FOR WHICH IT IS DATED. The questions will change week to week; each week's form will be posted no later than noon of the day of the class for which it is dated.

One-page Lab Papers (two at 10 points ea): The goal of this course is to help you find out about research at UCONN. There are many more faculty doing research here, in many departments, than can possibly come give lectures to the class. To encourage you to find out about the diverse research underway around you, there are two one-page "lab papers" due this semester. Each paper should be a (double-spaced, one-page, 12-point font) paper that has the following components:

1. A brief description of a faculty member's research that interests you.

2. A brief description of an idea for a research project you could pursue in that faculty member's lab. This is not to be a thoroughly-thought-out project, but rather an idea you could discuss in a meeting with the faculty member. The idea should make it clear to your prospective mentor that you have looked at his or her web page, absorbed the type of work he or she is doing, and that you have interests that coincide with their work. The faculty member would be even more impressed if it was apparent that you had read one or more of his/her journal articles!

The two papers should focus on faculty in two different departments. Obvious candidate departments are the three biology departments:

1. Physiology and Neurobiology:

2. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology:

3. Molecular and Cell Biology:

Academic Rules/Conduct: All students should be aware of the guidelines for the Student Conduct Code, plagarism, etc. Section VI of the Conduct Code is available at, by clicking on Judicial Affairs, then Student Code, then Part VI: Academic Integrity in Undergraduate Education and Research. Also see the link to Judicial Process FAQ.

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