Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics Graduate Group

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BMB 705 - Candidacy Exam Prep Class

 

CANDIDACY EXAM PREP CLASS (BMB 705) SPRING 2014

Instructors: Ronen Marmorstein, Kristen Lynch and Hillary Nelson

Goals:

The goal of this class is to prepare each student to write and defend a grant proposal, which is a degree requirement. This is a half-credit class and is graded.

Your candidacy exam is designed to prepare you for thinking about and performing cutting edge research. This is the time when you dig into the literature, define a problem of your own, and articulate what you will do, what you will learn and why it’s important. This is a large undertaking and you should expect this process to be:

A major goal of this class is to teach you to think critically about a research problem and to translate this into a compelling research proposal. You will learn to do this by (1) working on the mechanics of writing the proposal, (2) reviewing past submitted fellowship proposals (in a mock study section format) to learn the do’s and don’ts about preparing a compelling proposal and (3) preparing compelling specific aims for your own proposal.

Grading:

You will have three written assignments:

Grades will be based on your paragraph rewrite, written and oral critiques, written and oral presentation of your specific aims and class participation.

Syllabus

Classes will be held on Mondays (1:30-3:30) and Fridays (2:00-4:00) in room AC104.

Monday 1/13 1:30 – 3:30 pm RM, KL, HN

Introduction, Course Organization

Elements of a proposal - For your candidacy exam you need to write a proposal.

Overview: Abstract, Specific Aims, Significance, Innovation, Approach

How do you formulate and address a meaningful hypothesis?

What is the difference between a hypothesis-driven proposal (good), a technology-driven proposal (good), and a “fishing expedition” (bad)?

*** Assignment for 1/17: Read assigned grants for Mock study section I

[Lemmon_4 (Narayan) and Degrado_2 (Reig)]

*** Assignment for 1/24: Reading assigned on technical writing (Gopen & Swan)

Friday 1/17 2:30 – 4:00 pm RM, KL, HN

Mock Study Section - I

*** Assignment: Read, review and score grants that you are assigned for your mock study section.

Group 1: James Townsend, Sam Wein, Michael Woody

Group 2: Evan O'Brien, Emily Schutsky, Sophie Song

Group 3: Kelly Karch, Monica Liu, Robert Magin

Group 4: Gozde Eskici, Meilin Fernandez Garcia, Liz Higbee

Group 5: Ismail Ahmed, Jefffrey Carey, Valentina Dimitrova

Monday 1/20 KLK Holiday – No class

Friday 1/24 2:00 – 4:00 pm HN

Writing 1. Abstracts – All writing has an expected structure

Monday 1/27 1:30 – 3:30 pm HN

Writing 2. Tell a story – Defining actions and characters

Friday 1/31 2:00 – 4:00 pm HN

Writing 3. Sentence structure – Reader’s expectations for clear writing

Monday 2/3 1:30 – 3:30 pm HN

Writing 4. Cohesion and coherence – how to link sentences together to form a paragraph

Friday 2/7 NO CLASS

*** Assignment Due 2/7 by 6 pm: Rewrite a poorly written paragraph.

Monday 2/10 1:30 – 3:30 pm RM, KL, HN

Mock Study Section II (review 3 grants)

You will participate in a study section in which you will present, defend/attack, and

score the proposals you were assigned.

*** Reviewers: Groups 1, 2, and 3. Written critiques emailed by noon 2/10 to RM, KL, HN.

(Black_121013, Lynch_1_121113, Marks_121013)

Friday 2/14 2:00 – 4:00 pm RM, KL, HN

Mock Study Section III (review 3 grants)

You will participate in a study section in which you will present, defend/attack, and

score the proposals you were assigned.

*** Reviewers: Groups 4, 5, and 1. Written critiques emailed by noon 2/14 to RM, KL, HN.

(Marmorstein_1_122013, MSTP_1_121113, Lemmon_Lab_6)

*** Assignment Due 2/14 by 6 pm: Group 1 email their specific aims to RM, KL, and HN for comments.

Monday 2/17 1:30 – 3:30 pm RM, KL, HN

Mock Study Section IV (review 4 grants)

You will participate in a study section in which you will present, defend/attack, and

score the proposals you were assigned.

*** Reviewers: Groups 2, 3, 4, and 5. Written critiques emailed by noon 2/17 to RM, KL, HN.

(Radhakrishnan_Lab_1, Wand_Lab_1, Lynch_2_121113, Marmorstein_3_122013)

*** Assignment Due 2/17 by 6 pm: Group 2 email their specific aims to RM, KL and HN for comments.

Friday 2/21 2:00 – 4:00 pm RM, KL

Oral presentation of Specific Aims (Group 1)

Those in Group 1 will give 15 minute presentation of their Specific Aims, with a maximum of two slides, and receive feedback from students, KL, RM, and HN.

*** Assignment Due 2/21 by noon: Group 1 email their specific aims to faculty and students.

*** Assignment Due 2/21 by 6pm: Group 3 email their specific aims to RM, KL, and HN for comments.

Monday 2/24 1:30 – 3:30 pm RM, KL, HN

Oral presentation of Specific Aims (Group 2)

Those in Group 2 will give 15 minute presentation of their Specific Aims, with a maximum of two slides, and receive feedback from students, KL, RM, and HN.

*** Assignment Due 2/24 by noon: Group 2 email their specific aims to faculty and students.

*** Assignment Due 2/24 by 6 pm: Group 4 email their specific aims to RM, KL, and HN for comments.

Friday 2/28 2:00 – 4:00 pm RM, KL, HN

Oral presentation of Specific Aims (Group 3)

Those in Group 3 will give 15 minute presentation of their Specific Aims, with a maximum of two slides, and receive feedback from students, KL, RM, and HN.

*** Assignment Due 2/28 by noon: Group 3 email their specific aims to faculty and students.

*** Assignment Due 2/28 by 6 pm: Group 5 email their specific aims to RM, KL, and HN.

*** Assignment Due 2/28 by 6 pm: Group 1 email revised specific aims to RM, KL and HN if necessary.

Monday 3/3 1:30 – 3:30 pm RM, KL, HN

Oral presentation of Specific Aims (Group 4)

Those in Group 4 will give 15 minute presentation of their Specific Aims, with a maximum of two slides, and receive feedback from students, KL, RM, and HN.

*** Assignment Due 3/3 by noon: Group 4 email their specific aims to faculty and students.

*** Assignment Due 3/3 by 6 pm: Group 2 email revised specific aims to RM, KL and HN if necessary.

Friday 3/7 2:00 – 4:00 pm RM, KL, HN

Oral presentation of Specific Aims (Group 5)

Those in Group 5 will give 15 minute presentation of their Specific Aims, with a maximum of two slides, and receive feedback from students, KL, RM, and HN.

*** Assignment Due 3/7 by noon: Group 5 email their specific aims to faculty and students.

*** Assignment Due 3/7 @ 6 pm: Group 3 email revised specific aims to RM, KL and HN for comments.

Monday 3/10 1:30 – 3:30 pm RM, KL, HN

Additional discussion of specific aims if needed.

*** Assignment Due 3/10 by noon: Presenters email their specific aims to faculty and students.

*** Assignment Due 3/10 by 6 pm: Group 4 email revised specific aims to RM, KL and HN for comments.

Friday 3/14 2:00 – 4:00 pm RM, KL, HN

Additional discussion of specific aims if needed.

*** Assignment Due 3/14 by noon: Presenters email their specific aims to faculty and students.

*** Assignment due 3/14 by 6 pm: Group 5 email revised specific aims to RM, KL and HN for comments.

Monday 3/17 1:30 – 3:30 pm RM, KL, HN

Additional discussion of specific aims if needed.

Candidacy Exam Committees Assigned.

*** Assignment Due 3/17 by noon: Presenters email their specific aims to faculty and students.

*** Assignment: Obtain approval of title and specific aims from committee (Due 3/21)

Additional Important Deadlines:

Friday 3/21 Obtain approval of final title and specific aims from exam committee.

April 7 Distribute written proposal to the committee (at least two weeks before exam)

April 21 – May 2 Oral Exams Take Place

Friday 5/26 Last date to complete any 2nd attempts of either written or oral exams.

Candidacy Exam Advisory Group (preliminary, to be confirmed)

The chair of your committee will be assigned from this group of BMB faculty members

Mark Lemmon

Yale Goldman

Brian Salzberg

Kate Ferguson

Doron Greenbaum

Ronen Marmorstein

Ben Black

Jim Shorter

Heiner Roder

Kim Sharp

Greg Van Duyne

Mike Ostap

Josh Wand

Sergei Vinogradov

Ravi Radhakrishnan

Kristen Lynch

Rahul Kohli