Recordkeeping, Writing,
& Data Analysis


Microscope studies

Flagella experiment
Laboratory math
Blood fractionation
Gel electrophoresis
Protein gel analysis
Concepts/ 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

Guide to the study

Lab part 1

Lab part 2



Studies Employing the Light Microscope

The compound light microscope proved its worth to biological sciences from the moment of its invention in the late 16th century. The level of sophistication of modern microscopes compared to the earliest models used by the likes of Antonie van Leeuwenhoek and Robert Hooke almost matches the advances in our knowledge of biology since that time. Either scientist would have been thrilled to be able to view specimens in the cheapest modern discount store microscope. Both would have been bowled over by what you can see in our research quality microscopes with their specialized optics. No living thing, not even the smallest bacterium, is invisible to these instruments.


In the laboratory we will conduct a tutorial on using our Nikon Labophot microscopes, including use of dark field and phase contrast optics. You will practice your newly acquired skills by observing living specimens and making measurements.

The study to follow this one will address how cells regulate the assembly of microtubules, structures of universal importance to cell function in eukaryotes. In addition to playing key roles in mitosis, meiosis, and many types of intracellular movements, microtubules form the core structures of cilia and flagella. In teams of 4-6 students you will conduct a very focused experiment using the protist Chlamydomonas reinhardi as an experimental model. C. reinhardi is a unicellular alga that bears a pair of flagella. We will amputate flagella from cells in a culture and determine whether or not they require synthesis of new protein in order to regenerate their flagella.


You have access to a number of web pages and video, audio, and slide presentations on light microscopy and applications of light microscopy. How you use them and which materials you use depend on your current level of experience and how you prefer to learn. There is some redundancy.

  • Light microscopy: instrumentation and principles [Powerpoint slides/text]
  • Using a bright field light microscope [Powerpoint slides/text]
  • Light microscopy: comparison of optics [Powerpoint slides/text]
  • Measuring and counting with a light microscope [Powerpoint slides/text]
  • All of the above microscopy presentations [Video/audio/slides]
  • Microscopy activities – use the NEXT buttons to move through this section
  • Studies on microtubule regulation – use the navigation button Flagella regeneration (side menu) and go through the sequence of pages

Copyright and Intended Use
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Created by David R. Caprette (caprette@rice.edu), Rice University Dates