Requirements for Bioc 310 Course Credit

Bioc 310 is an independent program of study for students interested in biological or biomedical research. All students will complete a laboratory-based independent research project under the supervision of a faculty member. There is no formal classroom instruction.

Summary: BIOC 310 students perform research in the laboratory of a faculty member in the Biochemistry and Cell Biology (BCB) Program in the BioSciences Department at Rice University (sections 2 and above) or in off-campus Texas Medical Center laboratories (section 1). Students are required to spend 42 hours/credit/semester in the lab (e.g. 126 hours total for 3 credits). Additional weekly time should be allotted for reading of the scientific literature and writing reports. BIOC 310, taken for at least 3 credits, counts as one required lab course but not as a 300-level elective in Natural Sciences or Engineering. In addition to lab research and record keeping (lab notebook), students will prepare a research proposal, weekly reports and a final project (paper in the style of a research article (Fall and Spring) or a poster presentation at RURS (Spring) for advanced students). The prerequisite is BIOC 112, NSCI 120, BIOC 211, or BIOC 212 and instructor permission is required. To receive credit, a student must participate in a laboratory-based biosciences research project (some types of computational biology will also qualify). Credit cannot be received for physician shadowing.

Finding a lab: Prior to enrolment in Bioc 310, you must secure a position in a laboratory. You can identify candidate labs by reading faculty members' scientific publications and website research summaries. You can then email the faculty member to inquire about the possibility of performing research in their lab. If the faculty member agrees, you and the faculty member can meet and discuss the available projects, the time commitment, and other details.

Registration: Once you have found a lab, you must receive permission to special register from your Biochemistry & Cell Biology research professor or the BIOC 310 Instructor (if you will be researching off campus). If you wish to perform BIOC 310 research off-campus, you must first complete the on-line BIOC 310 Off-Campus application form at least three weeks before the start of classes and have your research professor (PI) contact the BIOC 310 Instructor to confirm your position for the course. Note: For on-campus researchers, the BIOC 310 Instructor serves as a course resource. For off-campus research students, the BIOC 310 Instructor also serves as the on-campus professor and contributes to the assigned grades. All BIOC 310 students should register before the beginning of the semester. Students who begin their research late will be required to make up missed research hours over the course of the semester.

Writing assignments

Research proposal: Prepare a 1-page research project proposal (abstract) that summarizes the basis of the planned project and details your experimental aims for the semester. Please consult the section of the manual on "Preparing your research proposal (abstract)" below for the required format of this document. Develop this proposal in consultation with your professor and submit it to all of your advisors (professor, mentor, and the instructor of your BIOC 310 section) before the end of the second week of classes. Your deadline to submit this document gives your professor a deadline to provide you with input.

Weekly progress reports: Send weekly email progress reports to your professor and your research mentor; off-campus students will copy their reports to the instructor of their BIOC 310 section as well. This weekly email will include: hours in lab that week, experiments conducted, results obtained, conclusions drawn, and plans for the following week. These reports will be due by the end of each week (Saturday, 11:59 pm). Please consult the weekly report section of the manual for the suggested format and examples.

Final project: A research paper will be required in the fall semester. A paper or poster presentation (for experienced students) will be required in the spring semester. On-campus students will turn in their final project to their BioSciences professor and their research mentor; off-campus students will hand in their projects to the instructor of their Bioc 310 section as well as their off-campus professor and research mentor. Submit drafts of papers or posters to these same individuals for comments prior to the final deadline. See the course syllabus for relevant deadlines.

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Bioc 310 is coordinated with Bioc 115 as part of Reading to Research, a project designed to lead students from the scientific literature to participation in laboratory research. The Reading to Research program is funded through an HHMI Professor grant awarded to Bonnie Bartel.

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