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教學大綱


本頁翻譯進度

燈號說明

審定:章彤輝(簡介並寄信)
翻譯:游佩芬(簡介並寄信)
編輯:朱學(簡介並寄信)

研究範圍及背景: 本系統

在2003年秋季的微生物遺傳學專題實驗課程中,各個單獨的研究專題是聚焦於不同品種的Rhodococcus(紅球菌屬)。這個屬中的許多細菌可代謝(分解)環境中的污染物並將之轉化為有用的同分異構鏡射分子(chiral molecules)。這些細菌亦能產生有廣泛用途的分子,包含工業用的化學藥品(為製造業者提供一個「綠色化學」的門徑),與二級代謝物如抗生素。我們邀請學生學生們去發掘基因如何對這些細菌的有用的特性做出貢獻。

綜覽

本課程包含下列三個重要構成要素:實驗工作口頭報告科學寫作。因為溝通是科學研究的基本重要因素,本課程旨在於改進你的寫作及口頭溝通技巧。「實驗桌上」的研究活動會佔據你大部分的時間;然而你有責任於課堂上做口頭報告並以符合出版於國際科學期刊的格式寫下你的研究成果。


實驗

教師於課堂中呈現目前微生物學界所面對的一連串問題。講師與助教們會與你一起設計一個研究策略以回答這些問題。教師會於整個學期間個別地指導你、協助設計個別的實驗、解釋結果並克服技術問題。


口頭報告

為培養良好的溝通技巧,你必須於本學期中做至少兩次的正式口頭報告。報告時,學生們通常使用投影機、Powerpoint軟體來呈現並使用其他視覺輔助等。

報告一:論文研討

第一個報告將以論文研討方式舉行。你將閱讀並報告由最初文獻搜尋所得之文章。為此, 教師們將協助你選出3-4篇與你研究範圍相關的論文。於報告時,你要提供此篇論文的背景資料、描述研究內容並解釋它所探討的問題。你將要描述文章中所提及的一系列實驗並展示如何解釋實驗結果,在當評論論文的優缺點的同時展現作者的結論。我們期望你把那個特別的研究領域最近的演變進行,以說故事方式來呈現這些論文。

報告二:進度報告

第二個正式報告將以進度報告方式進行,你將於課堂中向同學們概略敘述你的研究活動。在這些報告中, 我們要求你描述你研究範圍的背景,了解並非所有同學熟悉彼此的研究專題。接著,你將描述你的實驗以及屆時所得的結果,於進行中解釋你的結果。我們鼓勵你討論於研究中所遭遇的問題以及你對於未來如何進行的想法。

總的來看, 我們鼓勵你於準備時與教師們討論你的想法。若你對你的報告請求建議或回饋教師們也樂意回覆。


寫作需求

數世紀以來,寫作溝通已是傳播科學成就與新知的標準。不管實驗技巧如何,缺乏良好寫作技巧對任何科學家來說是一個嚴重的缺陷。因此,微生物遺傳學實驗課的學生必須參與一些寫作活動,最後於期末報告中描述自己的研究。

為了準備期末報告,你將完成二至三個試驗性的寫作作業,每份作業將著重於磨練你期末報告段落格式與內容中的不同方面。因此,第一個作業很可能著重於介紹的撰寫。接著著重結果或是材料與方法段落之撰寫。在這些活動中,寫作講師及其他的教師們會輔導你。

期末報告是依據世界的微生物學家們用以發表他們的研究之格式而撰寫。每份報告需包含:

  • 一個介紹的段落以描述研究領域的背景與重要性,回顧相關文獻並清楚的描述研究的目的。
  • 接著,你要於「結果」這個段落敘述所進行的實驗以及所得的資料。不過,你將於報告的另一段落「材料與方法」仔細描述實驗流程,而在正式論文中這段落通常置於「結果」之前。
  • 緊接著是具洞察力的討論,在這之中你要解釋結果,提出你觀察所得之模型,並把你的成果與廣大研究社群中的其他科學家之研究工作做關聯。


評分規則

本課程的評分標準是根據你於下幾個範圍中的表現。

雖然在本課程中學生一般是兩人一組,但評分是針對每個學生的。

活動 百分比
研究進度、技巧、努力及研究紀錄 40%
實驗室會議與口頭報告 20%
三次期中寫作作業 5% each
期末報告 25%


評分的主要重點在於你是否展現對存疑的素材的理解及正確的判斷
  • 在實驗室, 你是否了解為何及如何操作每個實驗?
  • 在口頭報告,你是否仔細思考過將被呈現的主題與它的實行方式?
  • 你的期末報告是否不只呈現對於特別研究專題的了解,也呈現它是如何融合於整個科學文獻知識中?


進度、技巧、努力與實驗紀錄 (40%)

期末成績有40%取決於你在實驗室的表現。你不必然要完成所指定的研究專題,但你必須展示你的基本能力以及真正的努力去延伸這個研究。並非每個選擇本課程的學生具同程度的實驗室研究經驗。教師了解這點並鼓勵你盡己之所能。你拓展實驗所需知識的能力超過現前所將反映於這部分的評分。

你也需展現良好的「團隊努力」—與你的隊友合作推動專題的進行。每個人需做好自己那份工作

實驗紀錄

此外,你需記錄實驗。實驗紀錄是很重要因為它是良好實驗操作的關鍵。每個人需記好自己的實驗記錄, 因為它將最終構成整個團隊所收集的資料。依此方式每位隊友可獨立思考結果。

要如何使用、記錄以及保存一份有效的實驗記錄請參考實驗記錄指南與建議一節。

值得注意的是教師們是有益於幫助你找出你實驗的錯誤。不能確切地描述你做了什麼會使這個工作更形困難。助教們會閒歇地檢查實驗記錄的完整性。記錄必須是現前的。你需負責在每日將前一天的內容完整記錄。

依照你於研究專題的進度,未來專題實驗室的學生,參與大學部研究機會課程者 (UROPs-Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program),或是研究所學生可能有天會想繼續你所遺留的研究並試著延伸你的發現。或者,未來有研究者會有興趣了解你如何解決某個技術問題,你如何操作某個實驗,或使用什麼方法做某個分析。在任何前述例子中,科學家將需要閱讀你的實驗記錄。為達到這點,你必須計劃於學期末將記錄本(或良好的影本)交給教授。

實驗課與出席

你必須每天出席排定的實驗課(下午一點至五點)。

如果不準時出席你會得到低分。若有急事或生病你必須聯絡講師或助教。

有時你會希望待到五點以後。助教們會待到五點過後以讓學生完成當天的實驗。但助教們不會因為你不準時出席或於課堂時浪費時間而讓你工作較晚些。

你偶而會想於週末到實驗室。在特別時間做實驗是可以的,但僅由助教們自行決定。助教們會通知你何時可到實驗室,當他們其中一人可出席。不論任何狀況,當無教師們在場時你是不能在實驗室工作。


實驗室會議與口頭報告 (20%)

每週一與週五下午我們會有小組會議的課程。在這個實驗室會議我們將討論大家關心的議題,解釋實驗方法與策略,而你將有機會藉由進度報告、論文討論與其他報告磨練你報告的技巧。

準備論文討論時你需閱讀原始論文中相關主題的文章。在這個單元中我們將討論這篇論文所提出的重要議題, 並構想新的實驗以探討問題。

於本學期的初期,針對你的研究專題,你也需進行文獻搜尋。這個練習目的是:

  • 確認你確實了解你的專題之背景,主旨及相關議題。
  • 確認你獲得研究相關論文的搜尋經驗。
  • 激發你對尋求另類策略以達成目標的創造力,或是激發你對每個專題的重要問題發現既新又有趣的研討方法。
  • 讓你於團隊中工作而有機會增進報告技巧。

每組於實驗室會議都有機會與全班討論你的工作。我們將如一組般地討論進度並探討發生的共同問題。

口頭報告的評分將基於你是否展現對存疑的主題有充份的理解、報告的清楚程度及簡報方式 (使用視覺輔助、 演說方式等等) 。


期末報告 (25%)

你必須於期末繳交一篇描述你的實驗進度與結果的報告。

這篇報告應展現於學期中對研究主題的高度理解,且須基於實驗資料。它不必要鉅細靡遺的描述學期中所做過或嘗試的每一件事。

最好的報告通常只討論學期中的兩、三個主要實驗。欲知詳情,參見本課程「寫作需求」一節。報告必須於第64堂課準時繳交。遲交會被扣分。

期末報告的評分將基於你是否展現對存疑的主題有確實的了解、撰寫的清楚程度及簡報方式 (使用圖、 寫作方式、參考資料等等) 。


Research Scope and Background: The Systems

Individual research projects in the Microbial Genetics Project Lab, during the Fall semester of 2003, focused on various species of Rhodococcus. Many bacteria within this genus can metabolize (break down) environmental pollutants and/or convert them to useful chiral molecules. These bacteria can also produce a wide range of useful molecules, including industrial chemicals (providing a "green chemistry" approach to their manufacture), and secondary metabolites such as antibiotics. Students were invited to explore how genes contribute to the useful properties of these bacteria.

Overview

The course consists of these three key components: lab work, oral presentations, and scientific writing. Since communication is an especially important component of scientific research, this course aims to improve your written and oral communication skills. Research activities "at the bench" occupy the bulk of your time; however, you are also responsible for making oral presentations to the class and for writing up your research results in a format suitable for publication in international scientific journals.


Laboratory

In this course, the teaching staff presents to you a series of questions that currently face the microbiology community. The instructors and teaching assistants then work with you to design a research strategy for answering these questions. Throughout the semester the staff coaches you through your work individually, helping you to design individual experiments, interpret your results, and to overcome technical challenges.


Oral Presentations

To foster the development of strong communication skills, you are required to make at least two formal oral presentations to the class during the semester. Students frequently use overhead projectors, Powerpoint presentations and/or other visual aids for these talks.

Presentation One: Journal Club

The first of these presentations will be in the form of a "journal club." In these presentations, you will read and report on articles from the primary research literature. The teaching staff will help you to identify 3-4 journal articles for this purpose that are relevant to your area of research. During the presentations, you will provide background information on the subject of the paper, providing context for the research to be described and explaining the questions that were addressed in the paper. You will describe the series of experiments described in the papers and show how the data were interpreted, presenting the authors' conclusions while commenting on the strengths and weaknesses of the papers. You are expected to describe the papers in such a way that they "tell the story" of how research in that particular field has evolved recently.

Presentation Two: Progress Report

The second formal presentation will be in the form of a "progress report," during which you will present to your classmates a synopsis of your own research activities. In these presentations, you are asked to describe the background of your research area, keeping in mind that not all of your classmates will be familiar with each other's specific projects. You will then describe your own experiments and whatever data you have collected to that point, interpreting your results as you go. You are also encouraged to discuss problems that you have encountered during your research, as well as your ideas for how to proceed in the future.

As with all aspects of this course, you are encouraged to discuss your ideas with the teaching staff as you prepare for your presentations. The staff also welcomes any requests for comments and feedback on your individual presentations.


Writing Requirements

Written communication has been the standard for disseminating scientific achievements and new knowledge for centuries. A lack of good writing skills would be a severe handicap for any scientist, regardless of skill at the bench. For this reason, students in Microbial Genetics Project Lab are required to take on a number of writing activities, culminating in a final paper that describes your own research.

In preparation for this final paper, you will complete two or three intermediate writing assignments, each of which will focus on the format and content of a specific portion of your final paper. Thus, the first of these assignments will likely focus on writing an Introduction. The next may focus on writing a Results section or a Materials and Methods section. The Writing Instructor and the rest of the teaching staff will coach you through these activities.

The final papers are written in the same format that microbiologists use throughout the world for publishing their own research results. Each paper is expected to contain:

  • An introduction explaining the background and significance of your research area, reviewing the relevant literature and clearly stating the goals of the research to be described.
  • Next, you will describe the experiments that were carried out and the data you collected in a 'Results' section. You will describe many of the procedural details of the experiments, however, in a separate section of the paper, entitled 'Materials and Methods,' which is often placed before the 'Results' section in a formal paper.
  • This will be followed by a (hopefully) insightful discussion, in which you interpret your data, formulate models to explain your observations, and relate your own work to that of other researchers in the broader scientific community.


Grading Policy

Grading in this course is based on your performance in the areas summarized below.

Although students in this course typically work in groups of two, individual students are graded independently.

ACTIVITY PERCENTAGE
Research Progress, Skill, Effort and Notebooks 40%
Lab Meetings and Oral Presentations 20%
Three interim writing assignments 5% each
Final Paper 25%


The most important theme in grading this course is whether you demonstrate an understanding and appreciation of the material in question.
  • In the lab, do you understand why and how each experiment is being carried out?
  • During oral presentations, have you carefully thought about the subject being presented and its implications?
  • Does your final paper demonstrate an understanding of not only the specific research project, but also how it fits into the greater body of knowledge in the scientific literature as a whole?


Progress, Skill, Effort, and Lab Notebooks (40%)

40% of the final grade will be based on how you perform in the laboratory. You do not necessarily have to complete your assigned research project, but you do need to demonstrate a basic level of competence and a genuine effort to extend the research as far as possible. Not everyone enters this course with the same level of laboratory research experience. The staff recognizes this and encourages you to "make the most" of your own skills. Your effort to expand your knowledge beyond the immediate need of the experimentation will be reflected favorably in this portion of the grade.

Also, you are expected to demonstrate good "team effort" -- working with your teammates to move the project forward. Everyone is expected to carry his or her share of the burden.

The Lab Notebook

In addition, you must keep a lab notebook. The notebook is very important as it is key to good experimental practice. Each lab partner should keep his or her own notebook, which will eventually contain all the data collected by the whole team. In this way each partner can consider the results independently.

Refer to the Lab Notebook Guidelines and Recommendations for specific information on how to use, keep, and maintain a viable lab notebook.

It is worth noting that the teaching staff is available, in part, to help you debug your experiments. Not being able to describe precisely what was done will make this task very difficult. The TAs will check the notebooks for completeness periodically. They must be current. You are responsible for having your previous day's entries completed every day.

Depending on the progress you make in your research project, future Project Lab students, UROPs, or graduate students may one day wish to pick up where you left off, trying to extend your findings even further. Alternatively, future researchers may be interested to learn how you solved a specific technical problem, how you carried out a certain experiment, or what protocol you used for a given assay. In any of these cases, scientists would need access to your lab notebook. To make this possible, you should plan on turning in your notebook (or a good photocopy of it) to the professor at the end of the semester.

Lab Hours and Attendance

You are expected to attend class every day during regular lab hours, 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.

You will receive a lower grade in this class if you do not show up on time. In the event of an emergency or illness, you must contact the Instructor or one of the TAs.

You may wish to stay after 5 p.m. on occasion. The TAs will stick around for a while after 5 p.m. so that students may complete the day's experiments. However, the TAs will not look favorably upon you if you need to work late because you did not arrive on time or wasted time during the normal hours.

Occasionally you may want come to the lab on weekends. Working in the lab at odd hours can be done, but only at the discretion of the TAs. The TAs will notify you of the hours when one of them will be in the lab. Under no circumstances will you be allowed to work in the lab when no member of the teaching staff is present.


Lab Meetings and Oral Presentations (20%)

On Monday and Friday of every week we will begin class with a group meeting in the afternoon. During this lab meeting we will discuss issues of general concern, explain protocols and strategies, and you will have the opportunity to hone your presentation skills through progress reports, journal clubs and other presentations.

For a journal club you will be asked to read papers from the primary literature that deal with a relevant topic. During the session we will discuss important issues raised by the papers, and come up with new experiments to address the problem.

You will also be asked to carry out a literature search dealing with your specific research projects early in the semester. The purpose of this exercise is:

  • To ensure that you have a firm understanding of the background, principles and issues surrounding your projects
  • To ensure that you gain experience in research-related literature searches
  • To spark your creativity in finding alternate strategies to achieve your goals or to uncover new and interesting approaches to the central questions in each project, and
  • To give you an opportunity to improve your presentation skills while working as part of a team.

Each group will also have ample opportunity to discuss your work with the entire class in lab meetings. We will discuss progress as a group and address common problems that arise.

Grades for the oral presentations will be based on your demonstration of a firm understanding of the subject in question, the clarity of the presentation, and the mechanics of the presentation itself (use of visual aids, speaking style, etc.).


Final Paper (25%)

You must submit a paper by the end of the term, describing the progress and results of your experiments in this course.

This paper should demonstrate a strong level of understanding of the topic researched during the semester, and should be based upon experimental data. It need not be an exhaustive description of everything that was done or attempted during the semester.

The best papers frequently discuss only two or three key experiments that occurred during the semester. For more information, see the description of "Writing Requirement" for this course. The paper must be turned in on time, in ses# 64. Late papers will be marked down.

Grades for the final paper will be based on your demonstration of a firm understanding of the subject in question, the clarity of the writing, and the mechanics of the presentation itself (use of figures, writing style, reference to published research, etc.).


 
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