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BMB 650 Dr. George Raiziss Rounds

Faculty:            Ben Black (

                        James Shorter (

TA:                  Sarah Chobot (

Meeting Times:

Mondays:         noon-1:15        Room 255, Anatomy/Chemistry

Thursdays:        noon-1:00        Austrian Auditorium, CRB

                        1:00-2:00         JF Library, Anatomy/Chemistry

Course Description: This is a discussion-based class in which students study, read, and present the published work of the invited Raiziss Rounds seminar speakers. The goal of the class is to develop the students' ability to understand the rationale behind the experiments, critically analyze the work, communicate their thoughts to others, and to engage in focused scientific discourse. The Monday classes will run in a journal club format with students giving presentations of the papers for that week's speaker. Thursday will be the noon seminar by the invited speaker, followed by lunch with the speaker.

Grading will be broken down as follows:

Presentations: 45%

Participation in group discussions: 30%

Attendance: 25%

Presentations: In each Monday class, we will discuss 2-3 papers recommended by the invited speaker for that week. Students will be assigned to prepare presentations on a rotating basis. Presentations should be prepared in powerpoint or similar format. There should be sufficient time allotted for background and introduction at the start of each presentation. Papers should be discussed in detail, with emphasis given to assessing the rationale for each experiment and whether or not the experiment succeeded in testing the hypothesis in question. At the end of each paper, there should be a summary of what the main findings were, what is left unanswered, and a proposal for an experiment to solve the unanswered aspects of the work. Presenters should be prepared for interruptions throughout the talk, since this is a discussion-based class (see below).

Group discussions: During the presentations, all students are expected to take an active role in the discussions. Questions regarding experimental rationale and/or technical details are desired since they lead to more discussion. Providing answers to these questions are important contributions, as well. Comments and opinions regarding the quality, importance, or logic behind the work under examination are also very helpful ways to participate in these discussions.

Attendance: All students are required to attend every class and seminar. A rotation of students having lunch with the seminar speakers will be established, and it is required for each student to attend their assigned lunches. Unexcused absences that are not approved by the TA prior to the class or seminar will negatively affect the final grade, and three such absences will result in a failing grade.