718617 Scientific working exemplified by classical microbiological experiments

winter semester 2015/2016 | Last update: 26.08.2015 Place course on memo list
Scientific working exemplified by classical microbiological experiments
UE 4

The students are able to analyze a scientific problem including original literature, to develop hypotheses based on their analyses, to plan experiments for testing the hypotheses, and to evaluate critically the used methods and the gained results

To master the scientific method is the main competence which should be acquired during master studies. In this module we aim to provide an open, error-friendly setting, keen to debate, within which it is possible to practice this ability in an individual speed and manner. We as supervisors act mainly as discussion partners and learning attendants. Accordingly the work is less oriented towards results but rather process oriented. Speaking sloppy: (almost) all is possible, if (i) it is well-founded and (ii) practicable.

The overall theme of this module is the induction and the detection of beta-galactosidase in Escherichia coli, i. e. the lac operon. The concept of the lac operon – formulated by Jacques Monod und Francois Jacob – is among the most important paradigmata of molecular biology and marks the starting point of molecular biology as a discipline of its own. After more than fifty years of research, articles are still published which reveal novel aspects of the regulation of the lac operon.

The participants should center their attention to the scientific method. Therefore, we use methods, which appear simple – at least at first sight. To carry out these methods exactly and reproducibly poses, however, questions, which promote the ability of scrutinizing what one is doing. Additional important components within this course are the reading of original literature, as well as the autonomous planning, realization, analysis and interpretation of experiments.

The seminar and the practical course are closely connected. Within the seminar the background of the overall theme, the lac operon, is highlighted. Additionally, hypotheses are developed and experiments devised. In the practical course it is tried to realize the planned experiments.

The students get „hypothesis sheets“ to formulate their hypotheses in a written form. They must then plan, realize and analyze experiments autonomously with consideration of the original literature.

We evaluate the individual activity during the course, a individually written protocol, a review of another anonymized protocol, and the hypothesis sheets. In addition, the number of autonomously planned and realized experiments is included in the evaluation.

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