Recordkeeping, Writing,
& Data Analysis

Microscope studies
Flagella experiment
Laboratory math
Blood fractionation
Protein gel electrophoresis
Protein gel analysis
Concepts and theory

Keeping a lab notebook
Writing research papers
Dimensions & units
Using figures (graphs)
Examples of graphs
Experimental error
Representing error
Applying statistics

Principles of microscopy
Solutions & dilutions
Protein assays
Fractionation & centrifugation
Radioisotopes and detection

Experimental Biosciences Resources

Learning is not compulsory... neither is survival.
W. Edwards Deming (1900 - 1993)

These resources were originally developed for a sophomore-level laboratory course called Introduction to Experimental Biosciences (BIOC 211). We have moved the course website to our course management system, Owl-Space, which now houses all course-specific resources such as schedules, assignments, etc. Because so many colleagues outside of Rice University have requested access to these materials, we continue to make available our guides to laboratory studies, our resources on writing, record keeping, statistics, and methods of analysis, and information on specific methods. These resources might aid an instructor in developing a laboratory course that focuses on the process of science and on writing, quantitative, and other fundamental practical skills, in the context of investigative laboratory studies.

Bioc 211 is a seven week course consisting of a hour lecture each week (all sections) and lab sections meeting for a four hour session one afternoon per week. Students also have significant responsibilities outside of the formal meeting times. They are responsible for pre-lab preparation and for several research papers based upon their laboratory work. A representative course schedule is provided below.

Week one

(lecture)  Course content, organization, expectations; Importance, dynamics, and biology of microtubules; concepts of regulation by feedback inhibition and of steady states; regeneration of flagella in the organism Chlamydomonas
 Introduction to laboratory record keeping; tutorial on using the research light microscope; on your own, find, view, and measure selected microscopic specimens; practice making estimates based upon measurements; fix and observe Chlamydomonas and learn to measure flagella length

Week two

(background material)  Flagella regeneration study; overall question; specific hypothesis; experimental design; experimental controls; experimental error; collection of replicate data; criteria for selecting valid data; graphing; statistical analysis
(lecture) Plan for an introduction to "calibrated peer review (cpr);" we will use cpr to evaluate results sections of your research papers this semester.
(laboratory)  Measurement of flagella regrowth following amputation in Chlamydomonas

Week three

(lecture)  Introduction to "laboratory math" and good bench technique; mixtures, solutions, use of SI units and prefixes, formulas, colorimetric assays, spectrophotometry, and dilutions; hazards and safety considerations
(laboratory)  Prepare solutions, dilutions, standards and samples for protein assay; conduct an assay, determine fraction yields, conduct dilutions

Week four

(lecture)  Structure of blood and origin of blood cells; erythrocyte cytoskeleton and rationale behind the research project; blood and blood cell fractionation, differential cenrifugation, and collecting samples
(laboratory)  Isolate red blood cells from whole blood; Lyse red cells and isolate membranes using differential centrifugation; use a Bradford assay to determine sample protein concentrations; freeze samples for later analysis

Week five

(lecture) Overview of protein structure; denaturing proteins for electrophoresis; polyacrylamide gels; principle of discontinuous gel electrophoresis; band separation and calibration
(laboratory) Prepare samples for electrophoresis; prepare polyacrylamide gels; load and run samples; remove and stain gels

Week six

(lecture)  Analysis of SDS-PAGE, including objectives of the analysis, strategies, calibration of gels, kinds of evidence that we collect, and how we use such evidence; principles and use of a polarographic system for measurement of dissolved oxygen  
(laboratory)  Complete the analysis of protein gels; learn to operate a polarographic system, collect and analyze data

Week seven

(lecture)  Preparation of mitochondria from fresh liver tissue; paths of electrons from specific substrates, proton pumping, oxidative phosphorylation, and respiratory control; expected responses to electron transport inhibitors, uncouplers, and inhibition of ATP synthase
(laboratory)  Dissection of fresh liver; tissue fractionation to isolate mitochondria; polarographic studies on electron transport, respiratory control, electron transport inhibitors, uncoupling agents, and inhibition of oxidative phosphorylation.

Weeks eight and later

Remaining writing assignments will be due at intervals following the scheduled lecture and laboratory meetings.

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Created by David R. Caprette (caprette@rice.edu), Rice University Created 21 Jul 12