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Experimental Microbial Genetics
This hands-on research course—part of MIT’s extensive OpenCourseWare offerings—introduces students to the strategies and challenges associated with microbiology research and helps them improve their scientific writing skills. Students take on independent and original research projects designed to help advance a specific field of research in microbiology. In this case, students explored how genes contribute to the useful properties of various species of Rhodococuss bacteria, many of which can break down environmental pollutants and can also produce a wide range of helpful molecules, including industrial chemicals and antibiotics. The “student projects” section includes examples of project and writing assignments, materials (such as literature search terms and project flow charts) that are designed to help students start the research process, feedback on student assignments, and one student's actual final paper. The lab protocols that students used are available in PDF format. A PowerPoint presentation of a writing workshop makes use of students' writing samples to illustrate common problems and mistakes in student work.
Program Director: Graham C. Walker, Ph.D.
Award Years: 1989, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006
Summary: The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Its HHMI-funded initiatives include:
- The development of project-based laboratory courses and undergraduate research opportunity programs that allow students to work on cutting-edge research projects in collaboration with faculty labs;
- The Whitehead Seminar Series for High School Teachers, a monthly lecture series featuring talks by world-class researchers, which provides a framework for teachers to incorporate new ideas into their science classrooms, and
- The Whitehead Spring Lecture Series for High School Students, a program that includes laboratory demonstrations at the Whitehead and field trips to local biotechnology companies.