20.109(F15): DNA engineering presentation

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20.109(F15): Laboratory Fundamentals of Biological Engineering

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Link back to Module 1.


In addition to the DNA engineering summary, you will complete a mini-presentation that focuses on training in oral communication. Specifically, you will verbally describe your research project and results from Module 1 in an "elevator pitch" or a "flash talk" format.

The ability to present your research orally is important for networking and relaying your work in settings where you do not have access to visual aids. The term "elevator pitch" is used to describe a brief oral presentation of your work; it suggests that you have the time of an elevator ride to explain the importance and results of your research to someone not entirely familiar with your project.

The target audience for this mini-presentation is a scientifically literate listener who is unfamiliar with your specific field. Thus, you can assume rapid comprehension - but not a priori knowledge.


You will complete this assignment individually.

Method of submission

Date of submission: Oct 17th

Your DNA engineering mini-presentation is due by 5 pm on Saturday, Oct 17th.

Formatting and length guidelines

  • Your mini-presentation should be 3 minutes long and include the following:
    • introduction of your project
    • key results from your research (including a statement as to the method(s) used to generate data)
    • take-home message
  • Your submission should be a video of you delivering your mini-presentation.
    • You may use any recording device to which you have access (iPhone, video recorder, etc.). NOTE: If you do not have access to a recording device, you can schedule a meeting with the teaching faculty and we will record your mini-presentation.
    • The video you submit should not be edited together from multiple attempts. The goal is to describe your research as you would do with a live listener.

Content guidelines


The introduction of your mini-presentation should both introduce your research project and convey the importance of your work in the context of the field. You want the listener to understand why your project is important and give them the information they need to understand your data.


Your results should be summarized such that the key finding is clear to your listener. In addition to stating your results, you should include your interpretations of the data you collected.

If it is necessary, you can include the technique used to obtain your data (e.g. Using flow cytometry, we...).


The conclusion should put your project into the context of the larger field of research. How is it that your research advances the field?


Category Approximate worth Elements of a strong presentation
Content 50%
  • Did you introduce your research?
  • Did you include the key findings (and the techniques used to gather these results, if necessary)?
  • Was the importance of your project clear?
Organization 25%
  • Is the presentation logical and easy-to-follow?
  • Are the main points emphasized?
  • Did you include transition statements such that the presentation 'flows' and is easily followed/understood?
Delivery 25%
  • Do you show confidence and enthusiasm?
  • Did you use appropriate language (technical or informal, as appropriate)?
  • Is your speech clear?

The mini-presentation will be graded by Dr. Noreen Lyell, Dr. Leslie McClain, and Dr. Maxine Jonas.