Course: MOL214
Instructor: Heather Thieringer, Daniel Notterman
F 2019

Description of Course Goals and Curriculum

This course focuses on concepts in molecular biology, genetics, biochemistry, and cell biology, which is useful in understanding how these topics can be applied in a research context. The goal of the course is to enable students with the skill set to apply these broader concepts and increase skills in the lab setting. Some themes include gene expression, meiosis, mitosis, CRISPR, etc. The curriculum is demanding but there are many resources students can turn to. This is an important class for students interested in the sciences and/or a premedical path.

Learning From Classroom Instruction

There are two lectures each week where the professor will cover a different topic each time, which the textbook will go into further detail with. There are clicker questions during lecture to ensure that students understand the material (and for attendance). During lab, the TA’s will guide students through the procedure but students are expected to read the procedure ahead of time and have a good understanding of it. They will learn many skills in the lab, and learn how to write a proper lab report. Regarding the lab reports, students will have stricter grading schemes as they get feedback, so there shouldn’t be too much pressure in the beginning. During precept, the preceptor will summarize the topics learned throughout the week and review the problem set for the week, which does a good job of summarizing what you should be able to understand.

Learning For and From Assignments

The weekly problem sets give students an idea of what the main takeaways from lecture should be, and it will test students on their ability to apply the material learned in the context of a question that they may have not seen before. Participation in the class is gathered from completion of the problem sets and attendance at precept. It’s imperative that students show up to precept because that is the time spent to review important topics. There is a midterm for this class, which the professor will give a study guide for and the final is the same case. There are also two minor quizzes online that are worth about 5% each and students are expected to review the material and take these during an allotted time. In this course, it’s important that students keep up to date with the readings and make sure to highlight concepts that they are confused with during precept or office hours. If students pace themselves, they should do well in the class.

External Resources

The professors and TA’s offer office hours where you can review any material with them. Furthermore, review sessions are offered before the midterm and final and it’s very useful for students; it’s formatted as a Q & A so students should come with questions or topics they want to review. McGraw tutoring is also a very helpful resource, as they have group tutoring and individual tutoring and the tutors are very kind and can most definitely help you solve any problem.

What Students Should Know About This Course For Purposes Of Course Selection

Students should have a background in basic biology, either from high school or perhaps from another MOL course offered at the university. However, students are still able to succeed if they take the time to understand the material and do some background reading prior to and throughout the course. The course is very valuable in teaching basic biological concepts and is intensive so students should be ready to dedicate a good portion of their time to this class. The course is a pre-requisite for the Molecular Biology major and is also a pre-medical requirement.
Introduction to Cellular and Molecular Biology

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