Course Descriptions


This course fulfills the requirements for 01:694:315 for Molecular Biology and Biochemistry majors or 01:447:315 for Genetics majors.

Offered: Fall 2022- Lecture sections MW5 (Monday/Wednesday 3:50-5:10 PM).  Lab W3/4 (12:10-3:10 PM Wednesdays)

Credits:  4

Prerequisites:  Registration will only be allowed to second or third year Honors MBB or Genetics students. Registraiton is by SPN only.  Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for an SPN providing your RU ID.  

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            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 2022 the course will be given in a "flipped" 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.  

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:

NS e. Understand and apply basic principles and concepts in the physical or biological sciences.
NS f. Explain and be able to assess the relationship among assumptions, method, evidence, arguments, and theory in scientific analysis.
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: 30%
Quizzes: 40%
Assignments: 30%

Exams will be timed asynchronous over a 10 hr period and will account for 30% 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 three 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.

C) Lab Quizzes:  After watching the video and reading the protocol notes on a lab students will take quizzes posted on Canvas on the material. These are mainly used to ensure that students are prepared to conduct the lab procedures.  The purpose it to avoid mistakes and to allow students to complete the lab more efficiently. These will be due before the lab.  These will represent 10% of the grade.

Assignments: 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 primarily for second year Honors students intending to major in the MBB. Non-Honors MBB or Genetics students interested in this course should contact Dr. Vershon for an SPN or should enroll in 694:214 or 694:315, which will be held in the spring semester.

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 in the laboratory section of the class.   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.