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Research Techniques Workbook Modules
These 19 modules from the Hunter College Research Techniques Facility—a practice lab and learning center—contain valuable information on a variety of basic and more advanced laboratory methods. The modules (available in HTML and Microsoft Word formats) provide practical experience with commonly used laboratory equipment and apparatus and offer background information to students before they enter a faculty laboratory. The first 10 modules deal with the basics of laboratory research, such as ensuring lab safety, keeping a lab notebook, using a balance, measuring volumes, making chemical solutions, and using a pH meter. Each module in the “basics” sequence builds upon previous ones; faculty and students are encouraged to use the modules in the order given on the website. The remaining modules—such as using a spectrophotometer, a centrifuge, or a phase contrast microscope, using animals in research, and preparing and running agarose gels—are more specialized in terms of instruments and techniques. They can be used as needed in any order. All modules contain exercises that focus on the use of the equipment or apparatus in typical research lab settings. Background information is provided in the form of written material, charts, and videotapes, but the emphasis is on practical matters and working experience, not on textbook knowledge or theory. Faculty at a given institution can adapt these modules to meet the needs of their students and their own undergraduate research programs.
Program Director: Shirley Raps, Ph.D.
Award Years: 1993, 2000, 2004, 2008
Summary: Hunter College of the City University of New York is a public master’s institution. Its HHMI-funded initiatives include:
- A practice laboratory and learning center—the Undergraduate Research Techniques Facility—that introduces college and advanced high school students to a variety of basic techniques and procedures used in laboratory research, before they enter a faculty member’s research laboratory;
- The expansion of a program—originally targeted to students from minority groups underrepresented in science—that now makes paid research opportunities and career mentoring available to all women and economically disadvantaged juniors and seniors;
- Outreach programs for high school and middle school teachers and their students, including a molecular biology workshop for pre- and in-service teachers and visits to the American Museum of Natural History and Hunter College for both teachers and students, as well as a close collaboration with the Manhattan-Hunter High School of Science; and
- New curricula for interdisciplinary specializations in biophysics and bioinformatics, integrated lab research modules for cell biology, quantitative biology lab modules for core biology courses, and curricula for biology majors interested in high school and middle school science education.