An inquiry-based lab
                  Fall 2015 TR 8:00-11:45am   
Citrus Hall 3219
    
Pre-req: BIOL380 lecture (not the lab)
    


Welcome to the FIRE website! This is a crash course in becoming a scientist. We will immerse ourselves in all aspects of the scientific process - literature searching, hypothesizing, designing experiments, writing research proposals, performing the research, analyzing the data, and sharing it with others. This is not your cookbook lab! It will require you to start thinking, writing, and talking like a scientist. AND we might make interesting scientific discoveries along the way!

Our research:
 We are using the nematode worm C. elegans to learn about how genes control behaviors we can all relate to: stress and sleep. Why the worm? It is relatively easy to manipulate genes in this organism and therefore determine their function, shedding light onto the function of similar genes in humans. Further, while this worm has only 302 neurons, it displays many complex behaviors such as learning and mate finding, making it well suited to the study of behavior. Listen to this song to find out what we're recently discovered about stress and sleep - a discovery that you will be building on here in FIRE lab!

The research done during this course is novel- that is, the things that we are studying have not yet been characterized. The goal is to provide you with an authentic research experience. During the first part of the course we'll do some readings that will familiarize you with an unsolved problem in biology. You will then be asked to come up with a hypothesis and a set of experiments that will test it. If this sounds daunting, don't worry - we will gradually get you all the info you need to come up with a testable idea, as well as the skills you need to test it. Once you have your idea, you will write a short proposal similar to the type that researchers write to obtain government funding for a project. Once you're 'funded', you are ready to start your research program! 

Course Materials: there is no textbook; research articles will be posted under 'Resources'. You can also access handy information by clicking on the numbered tabs at the top of this page, corresponding to each lecture/lab session. We will be doing some web-based bioinformatics (database searching and candidate gene identification) as well as frequent in-class writing/editing. It is important that you bring either a tablet (android, iPad, anything) or a computer to class.

For our writing assignments we'll be using Peerceptiv, a system that lets you get anonymous peer review from classmates prior to submitting an assignment for a grade. Check out this webpage for some how-to videos. We'll be signing up during class. The cost is ~$7. This is the only fee associated with this course. :)


Hey Fire Labbies from Spring 2013! The work we did in this course has finally been published!!!!! All of your worm-torture has paid off. Not only did we get a great publication in Current Biology (Hill et al., 2014 - check out the acknowledgements at the end!!), but our work was also written up in Nature Neuroscience Reviews and Science Signaling, wooo! Check out the PDFs below. 
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Cheryl Van Buskirk,
Dec 8, 2014, 10:56 AM
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Cheryl Van Buskirk,
Dec 8, 2014, 10:56 AM
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Cheryl Van Buskirk,
Dec 8, 2014, 10:56 AM