An inquiry-based lab
                  Fall 2017 TR 8:00-11:45am   
Citrus Hall 3219

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, 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 will 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've recently discovered about stress and sleep - a discovery that you will be building on here in FIRE lab!

To read an introductory-level article about our research, or to hear a podcast about it, click here.

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 (sleep!). You will then be tasked with shedding light on this process by identifying genes that contribute to it. This will involve isolating a new sleepless mutant in a genetic screen and then pinpointing the associated gene, using some cool molecular mapping techniques. If this sounds daunting, don't worry - we will gradually get you all the info you need to understand how to do this, as well as the skills you need to carry it out! 

Course Materials: there is no textbook; research articles will be posted under the tabs at the top of the 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.

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