Course Descriptions

Seminar in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry: Research Presentations (01:694:484)

Course is only for Seniors majoring in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry

Offered:  For Spring 2022 Classes will be held in person on W2 (Wed 10:35-11:30 AM) 
First class will meet in Waksman Rm 1001
After the first class, you will meet by section in Waksman Rm 1001, Nelson A237 or Nelson A315 depending on your assigned section instructor.

Credits: 3

Prerequisites: 01:694:408

Course Description:  The course is designed to give students a chance to present their research projects in front of an audience or their peers.

The course will break up into smaller sections each taught and graded by one of the section instructors. These smaller sections will serve as a forum for the oral presentation of student research or literature reports pertinent to the student's research project, regardless of whether the student is following the Laboratory or Non-Laboratory Options in the MBB major. Students will give two 20 minute oral presentation related to their research activities: one in the first half of the semester and one in the second half. Students should also plan for 5 minutes of discussion/ questions for a total of 25 minutes. Note: students should target their presentation for a scientific audience, therefore this is not a "Newsweek Magazine Level" or "New York Times Journalistic Level" type of presentation. Thus the introduction, results, conclusions of the talk should match the level of the audience, which means students should assume everyone has a B.S. degree in molecular biology and biochemistry. One week prior to the talk students must email an abstract (~1 page) to their section instructor. We will critique it and very likely we will ask for students to submit a revised abstract. We will then distribute the revised abstract by email to the students in the section. Students who are presenting are expected to invite their P.I. (or Grad. student or Postdoc) from your lab to sit in on the presentation.

Students will present a poster on their research at the MBB Poster session near the end of the semester.

Course satisfies Learning Goals

1. Students should demonstrate an understanding of the knowledge that is needed to begin biomedical research and that is required for post-graduate exams and studies.

2. Students should demonstrate the ability to find and evaluate information about specific biological systems or problems.

3. Students should demonstrate the ability to design experiments and critically analyze data.

4. Students demonstrate the ability to communicate their research and findings orally through seminar and poster presentations and through written research papers.

Exams, Assignments, and Grading Policy

MBB 484 Guidelines for Grading


strong A





60% presentation






20% participation + discussant


often to sometimes 




20% attendance

<1 point





Explanation of Grading

Presentations are based on several criteria:

1) The instructors' critique sheet (not the students)

2) How well you prepared, your organization, enthusiasm, interest in your subject, understanding and ability to discuss what you are presenting

3) Your timely hand-in of abstracts and revised abstracts

4) Grades will be curved based on end-of-semester distribution

Participation and Discussant:

Your role as a "Discussant" contributes to only part of the "Participation" grade. The remainder of this grade is based on how active you are in asking questions during the other 12 weeks of the course when you are not a participant.

Attendance Point System

Unexcused absence (no prior notification) is minus one point.

Late is minus 0.5 points.

Excused absence (inform us before the class, or provide a doctor’s note for emergency medical absences) no points to minus one point as per instructors’ discretion. But we will still keep track to prevent abuse

Course Materials: All course materials are posted on the course's Canvas site

Course Closed?  If this course is closed please contact the course instructor concerning special permission numbers.


Course Coordinator:
Annika Barber
Rm 238 Waksman Institute
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Participating Faculty:
Kevin Monahan
A128 Nelson lab, 
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Jia Fei
A128 Nelson lab, 
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

** All information is subject to change at the discretion of the course coordinator.