BIO2289 Spring 2012

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Course Information

Instructor: Dr. Elizabeth Jockusch
Contact information: office BioPharm 305B, phone 486-4452, e-mail elizabeth.jockusch [at]
Meeting time: Wednesdays, 4-4:50 pm
Meeting place: BPB 131


Biology Undergraduate Research Symposium: The symposium is scheduled to run from 12-5:45 (with a break from 3-3:30) on Friday, April 27 in IMS 20. The program is here. Pdficon small.gif

To receive credit for attending the symposium, please submit your write-up of at least four talks by the end of Sunday, April 29. Email me a single file named as LastNameSymposium.doc (substituting your last name for "LastName" and using whatever extension is appropriate for the file format; .doc, .docx and .rtf are acceptable). In your summary for each talk, include the name of the presenter, title of the talk, brief description of the talk, and anything you learned from the questions. I encourage you to ask questions, too!

Frontiers Exhibit Report: To receive credit for attending the Frontiers Poster exhibit, submit your write-up of at least four posters by the beginning of class on April 18. Email me a single file named as LastNameFrontiers.doc (substituting your last name for "LastName" and using whatever extension is appropriate for the file format; .doc, .docx and .rtf are acceptable). In your summary for each poster, include the name of the presenter, title of the poster, brief description of the study, and brief summary of what you discussed with the presenter.

Frontiers in Undergraduate Research: The Frontiers Poster Exhibit of undergraduate research is this Friday, April 13 (3:30-4:30 pm), and Saturday, April 14 (12-3 pm), in the Wilbur Cross Reading Rooms. This is one of two opportunities to attend presentations of undergraduate research in the biological sciences on campus.

Summer research opportunities: here's the list of summer opportunities you compiled. It includes everything from nanoparticles to penguins everywhere from Alaska to Paris!

Submitting CV and research opportunities: Please submit these two assignments as email attachments no later than the beginning of class on Wednesday, March 21. The following file formats are acceptable: doc, docx and rtf. (pdf is not acceptable.) Name the CV as LastNameCV.doc (substituting your last name for "LastName" and using whatever extension is appropriate for the file format) and the research opportunities as LastNameResearch.doc
At the top of the research opportunities, please include a list of the five formatted as described below. This will facilitate my posting a combined list on the web.

[webaddress short descriptive title]

Be sure to enclose each line in a set of square brackets. The web address should begin http://

Feb 29: Class canceled due to weather.

I've created a web page with advice for the C.V. assignment, due March 21.

Please hand your notebook in for feedback this Monday, Feb. 13. I'll leave a box for notebooks outside my office. If you're keeping an electronic notebook, then you can email your summaries (incorporated into a single file) instead. Acceptable formats for electronic submission are the following: doc, docx, rtf and pdf. If you submit electronically, include your last name at the beginning of the file name.


The main goals of this course are to give you an overview of research opportunities available to undergraduates and to help prepare you to obtain a research position. This will be achieved through the following means:

  • Weekly presentations by faculty about on-going research in the three biology departments (EEB, MCB, PNB) on campus
  • Identification of off-campus summer research opportunities
  • Guidance in writing a C.V.
  • Attendance at research presentations by advanced undergraduates

Assignments and Grading

Notebook and participation (100 pts)

I expect everyone to engage with the speakers--these sessions will be more fun and informative if you take advantage of the opportunity to ask questions! Also, maintain a notebook in which you write a brief summary (no more than a page) of each presentation. Each summary must be completed before the next class meeting. Be sure to include the following: speaker's name and affiliation, broader interests in his/her field of research, the main focus for the particular project(s) discussed, and study system. Some evaluation of what aspects you found most interesting or questions the research made you think about is also a good idea. These notebooks will be spot-checked during the semester and handed in for grading at the end of the semester. You must include (and therefore have attended) at least 12 presentations.

Curriculum vitae (15 pts)

In academics, it's customary to submit a C.V. when applying for positions. This document should provide the target audience (e.g., a potential research mentor) with relevant information in a well-organized and easy-to-read format. C.V. due March 21. Please email it to me before the beginning of class. I'll give you recommendations for ways to revise it. See this page for more information.

Off-campus summer research opportunities (15 pts)

There are virtually limitless summer research opportunities aimed at undergraduates. These are offered in many settings (from companies, to universities, to field stations) and may even pay you to travel somewhere exciting. Identify a minimum of five off-campus summer research opportunities that are appealing to you. Aim to find diverse types. Submit a summary of these opportunities by March 21.

  • What/where is the experience?
  • What are the qualifications? Do you satisfy them? If not, what would you have to do to be eligible next summer?
  • Why does this program appeal to you?
  • Are you paid?
  • What's the application process? What's the deadline?
  • Include a link to the program description.

Here are some sites that list opportunities:

Undergraduate research presentations (20 pts)

The final step to doing science is communicating it. The typical result is a publication in a peer-reviewed journal, but a preliminary stage in communicating results is often a meeting presentation. At UConn, undergraduate biology students present their research in two main forums, the Frontiers in Undergraduate Research Poster Exhibition (to be held April 13-14 in Wilbur Cross) and the Annual Undergraduate Biology Research Symposium (Friday, April 27, time TBD, in IMS20). Spend at least an hour at one of these, and provide a summary of a minimum of four posters that you visited (*and took time to talk to the presenter*) or talks. Summaries are due April 18 (for Frontiers) or April 30 (for the Undergraduate Biology Research Symposium).

Presentation Schedule

Date Presenter Topic Web page
Jan. 18 Dr. Elizabeth Jockusch Course overview Jockusch lab
Jan. 25 Dr. Kurt Schwenk, EEB Snake tongues Schwenk lab
Feb. 1 Dr. Ted Taigen, EEB Responsible Conduct of Research (or when science goes bad) Examples
Feb. 8 Dr. Spencer Nyholm, MCB Animal-bacteria symbiosis Nyholm lab
Feb. 15 Dr. Gwen Pearson, OUR UConn Undergraduate Research Support OUR home page
Feb. 22 Dr. Tasso Tzingounis, PNB Ion channels and epilepsy Tzingounis lab
Feb. 29 Dr. Barbara Mellone, MCB Centromeres, getting a grip of chromosomes Mellone lab
Mar. 7 Dr. Andy Moiseff, PNB Firefly flashing Moiseff lab
Mar. 21 Dr. David Goldhamer, MCB Muscle regeneration and disease Goldhamer lab
Mar. 28 Dr. Andy Pask, MCB Sex determination in marsupials Pask lab
Apr. 4 Dr. Robin Chazdon, EEB Regeneration of tropical forests Chazdon lab
Apr. 11 Dr. Chris Simon, EEB The origin, maintenance and spread of biodiversity Simon lab
Apr. 18 Dr. Joanne Conover, PNB Stem cells in adult brains Conover lab
Apr. 25 Dr. Rahul Kanadia, PNB TBA Kanadia lab