Course Descriptions



This course fulfills the requirements for 01:694:315 for Molecular Biology and Biochemistry majors or 01:447:315 for Genetics majors. This course may also be used to fulfill the elective requirements of the Biological Sciences and Cell & Neurobiology majors.

Offered:  Fall 2021- Discussion sections TH3 (Tues/Thurs 1:00-2:20 PM).  Lab 2:30-5:50 PM Tuesdays)

Credits:  4

Prerequisites:  Registration is primarily for first-year students in the SAS Honors Program or Honors College who have placed out of the General Biology courses (01:119:115-116-117) with AP Biology credit. It is helpful but not required to also have the Corequisite: General Chemistry 01:160:161 or 163 or have passed the Chemistry AP exam. Depending on space this course will also be open to non-honors first year students who are interested in performing research andmeet the AP Biology requirement and Chemistry  A limited number of second year Honors students planning to major in MBB may be admitted to the cross listed 694:316 by SPN (contact the course coordinator).

Course Description:  The main goal of this course is to encourage undergraduate students to conduct independent projects in biomedical research laboratories at Rutgers and RWJMS. The course is designed to introduce students to many of the modern techniques used in genetics, molecular biology, and biochemistry that they may use in research by giving them as much "hands on" experience as possible. Students will carry out a research project for which the results are unknown. The topics covered in this course will provide students with a very good foundation for taking upper level genetics and biochemistry courses in subsequent years

Please see here for a video describing the Honors Introduction to Research in MBB course.  

The Project: After some initial training in techniques commonly used in biomedical research labs, students will work on their main research project. The project involves analyzing mutants in a transcriptional regulatory protein in yeast. Students will analyze the data from different assays to determine how the mutations affect transcriptional silencing and repression of genes in yeast. The DNA sequences of the mutants will be determined and the students will derive the predicted change in the protein sequence. Students will then map their mutation on a model of the protein structure and hypothesize how it will affect the protein's activity. There will also be discussions about finding a research lab to do independent research projects as an undergraduate at Rutgers.

Week      Topic

1            Introduction; Why is transcription important for biology and human diseases? Review of the general process of gene expression.

2            Why do we work in yeast? Review of yeast biology and genetics.

3            Eukaryotic chromatin structure and the role of Sir2 in transcriptional silencing

4            Vectors and plasmid DNA purification

5            Analyzing DNA - Restriction enzymes, PCR, and gel electrophoresis

6            DNA sequencing and analysis

7            In Class Exam

8            Genetic and biochemical analysis of transcriptional regulatory sites

9            Genetic and biochemical analysis of transcriptional regulatory proteins

10          Silencing vs repression, PCR Mutagenesis and genetic screens for mutants

11          Principals of protein structure

12          Protein structure modeling using jMo,l Results, problems and interpretations

13          Finding a Lab, Careers in Biomedical Sciences

14          Exam

In Fall 2020 the course will be given in an asynchronous manner.  All of the content will be posted in videos and lecture notes on the course Canvas.  Students will be expected to work through the chapters and take review quizzes on their own.  There will be at least two 80 minute discussion periods each week where we will quickly review the content and then work through problems.  These discussion sections will be recorded.  

Course URL:  All course materials will be posted on the course Canvas site

Learning Goals: This course satisfies learning goals 1, 2, 3, and 4 of the MBB Department.

Core Curriculum Learning Goals met by this course:

IRT y. Employ current technologies to access information, to conduct research, and to communicate findings.
IRT z. Analyze and critically assess information from traditional and emergent technologies.

Exams, Assignments, and Grading Policy

Exams: 40%
Quizzes: 30%
Lab Reports: 15%
Assignments: 15%

Exams will be timed asynchronous over a 10 hr period and will account for 40% of the grade.  The exams will focus on the material covered in the lectures, data analysis, and assigned reading.  There will be a midterm and a final (cumulative)

Quizzes: There will be two forms of quizzes: 

A) Chapter Review Quizzes:  After watching the video or reading the lecture notes on a chapter student will take quizzes posted on Canvas on the material.  These will be used for the students to gauge their basic understanding of the material.  These will be self-paced, but must be completed before the topics are discussed in the on-line meetings. These will represent 10% of the grade.  

B) Analysis Quizzes will be given over a 10 hr period to gauge the understanding of the material that was presented in the lecture notes and videos and then covered in the online discussion sections in the previous week.  These quizzes will account for 20% of your grade.

Assignments & Lab Reports: Assignments and lab reports will be given out through the semester. These are all posted in the Assignments section on Canvas.  These include submitting weekly questions on material that was covered in class and homework assignments such as the Yeast Gene Search and Restriction Mapping Problem set (see Canvas assignments). Lab reports will contain the data (plate and gel figures, sequence alignments and a picture of the structure) that were previously generated during this course and your interpretation of the results. The Assignments & Lab Reports will count for 30% of the grade.

Course Materials:  A laboratory and lecture manual is provided on-line with the class.  All course materials will be posted on the course Canvas site.  

Course Closed?  This course is only for First Year students in the SAS Honors Program or Honors College with AP Biology credit. Second or third year Honors MBB or Genetics students interested in this course should enroll in  694:316 which is cross listed during the fall semester. Non-Honors first year students with the prerequisites may also be admitted depending on space.  

Faculty:  Course Coordinator: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Office Hours: Dr. Vershon’s official hours are 7:00 AM to 10:00 AM (East Coast time) Tuesdays using the meeting software in Canvas.  However, since the best time to ask questions and get help is during the online portions of the class.  Students may also post their questions on the Chat tool on Canvas.  We will regularly monitor this several times a day.  We are available on-line at some points on nights and weekends.  Students may also email or call us to make an appointment if you have problems or questions.

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