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Independent Laboratory Research

This course provides experience in all aspects of original laboratory research, including problem definition, experimental design and execution, interpretation of results, and written and oral scientific communication. The research is performed under the direct supervision of a faculty mentor. It is expected that the student will make a substantial intellectual contribution to the goals of part of the mentor's research program. Students are encouraged to participate in original laboratory research for more than one semester.

In the first semester, the mentor will define the initial problem and design the first experiments to be performed by the student. By the end of the first semester, the student should have developed the necessary skills to define a problem independently and to plan and carry out meaningful experiments. In the second semester, the student will be responsible for the conception and execution of the project with minimal input from the mentor. Although independent in activity, the student enrolled in an Independent Studies course has frequent and regular supervision by the sponsoring faculty member. Reading and writing are important ingredients of independent research but this course also provides more opportunities for conceptualizing and demonstrating originality. Each semester culminates in a written presentation in the form of a scientific journal article.

To enroll, the student must first reach out to a BCB faculty member to discuss the possibility of performing research in his/her laboratory. Once a faculty member is identified, the student and mentor work together to identify a project title and short synopsis of the project. The student fills out this form , sends to the faculty mentor, who then forwards it to Michelle Sulikowski, who will evaluate the appropriateness of the project for the BCB program.

For information on the Honors research program, click here.