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Department of Chemistry, Physics, and Geology

CHEM529: Current Topics in the Biochemical Sciences

Instructor:       Dr. Jason C. Hurlbert
                          Office:  Sims 301B
                          Office hours:  MWF 11-12 and by appointment
                          Phone:  323-4928

Course Goals:

This course is designed to give advanced junior and senior level students the opportunity to select, analyze and critique recent scientific articles of interest.  Participating students will select and distribute an article of their choice from a peer reviewed journal to students and faculty involved in the course and then lead a thirty minute presentation/discussion on the article.  Articles will be selected from leading journals in the fields of molecular biology, biochemistry, biophysics and bioorganic chemistry and must have been published within the past 12 months.

The student-led discussions will require that each presenter give a thorough background of the selected topic, fully explain the methods used to answer the scientific question at hand, explain the data and results obtained as well as justify the conclusions made with those data.  The selected articles must be from within the previous calendar year and be approved with the instructor prior to distribution to the rest of the class.

The course is graded as S/U.

Course Specifics:

The course will meet every Wednesday in Sims 113C from 12:30 - 1:20.

Research articles should be selected from the journals found on the Recommended Journals page (see link on left of this page). Review articles are not eligible for selection. Prior to selection of an article, students are required to consult with Dr. Hurlbert to ensure that the article is a viable choice.

On days when the course is scheduled to meet, the presenter will give a 40 minute presentation on their selected paper and then answer questions from the audience. All non-presenting students will be expected to contribute to the discussion folllowing the presentation. The presentations must address the following:

  • Enough experimental background to frame the goals of the work presented
  • The goals of the research presented
  • The techniques used as well as their theoretical basis
  • Experimental data obtained and interpret the results
  • Conclusions, future work and relevance to the experimental field

It is the responsibility of each presenter to approve their selected paper with the instructor. Papers for discussion will be available for download from the course website at least a week before the date they are to be presented. Non-presenting students are expected to download, read and analyze each paper before each scheduled meeting. The success of the course not only relies on the presentations given for each article, but also the discussions resulting from them. To assist in this effort, non-presenting students should download and complete the Article Discussion Worksheets as they read through the articles to be discussed. These Article Discussion Worksheets will be picked up at the start of each class to ensure that everyone has read the article for the week.

After each presentation, all students are to complete the Presentation Evaluation forms and provide honest, constructive analyses of the presentations given by their peers during the session. These forms will be distilled by the instructor and discussed with each of the students whose presentations were evaluated, thereby ensuring that positive feedback will be provided to each student.

Students with Disabilities

Dr. Jason C. Hurlbert
301-B Sims Building
Rock Hill, SC 29733, USA
803/323-2246 (fax)