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20.109(F09): Laboratory Fundamentals of Biological Engineering


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Fall 2009

Instructors: Angela Belcher, Bevin Engelward, Natalie Kuldell and Agi Stachowiak
Writing Instructor: Neal Lerner, Linda Sutliff
Oral Presentation Instructor: Atissa Banuazizi
Graduate TAs: Tyler DeWitt, Michelle Sukup Jackson, Bridget Wall

Lecture: T/R 11-12 (26-168)
Lab: T/R 1-5 or W/F 1-5 (56-322)
Seminar Room: 16-336

Welcome to 20.109! For many of you this will be the first time in a research lab and for others it will not, but it is our goal to make this class a useful and fun introduction to experiments and techniques in biological engineering. There is not time enough to show you everything you’ll need to know if you go on to do research, but after taking this class you should feel confident and familiar with some fundamental experimental approaches and lab protocols. You will develop good habits at the bench, ones that will increase the likelihood of success in your work and ensure the health and safety of you and those around you. By the end of the semester, you should also be aware of good scientific practice, having had some experience with report writing, notebook keeping and publicly presenting your data. All of us involved in teaching 20.109 hope you will find it a satisfying challenge and an exciting experience that has lasting value.

  • To submit your major assignments, access the Stellar drop-box that's here


  • For some of the first groups, I didn't give you the stats on green cells (which you need). Please post your image, and I will post over you images so that you will have them. I will have them up by noon on Friday. Thanks-MSJ
  • Office hours with NK to discuss the memo assignment on Sunday in lab 3-5...
  • In preparation for the memo assignment, Agi will have office hours on Wednesday, October 14th, from 3:30-5 pm in room 16-336.
  • The sequence information for pCXNNX can be found here (note that there are a lot of similar sounding plasmids, so you will need to choose carefully)
  • In response to a question that's been asked by a couple of folks: for the HR figure in your progress report you can use the figure that's been used in lecture, but you must redraw it and you must also cite a primary journal or text reference for the information (not "Engelward lectures, 2009").
  • Don't forget to read the Rad51 paper and the Statistics paper. For the statistics paper, you are not responsible for knowing material past the double line on page 57 (sec 4-3 on). Be sure to understand the information about t-tests.

Please see the talk page for 10/6 for questions to consider and items to focus on for the in class discussion.

  • Please post the enzymes you used and the bands you expected out of your double digest to the talk page for M1D6
  • Agi's pre-(progress report) office hours will be on Sunday from 4-5:30 pm, in room 16-336. She will also be available on Tuesday from 3-4 pm, in room 16-319. (The latter session will be to address quick conceptual/writing questions only, not for intensive assistance.)
  • NK will have office hours in advance of due date for the Mod 1 Progress Reports--stop by lab from 3-5 on Saturday Oct 3rd if you have questions.
  • The results are in! You can examine the amount of DNA you've recovered from the purification of bkb and insert out of agarose. Gels are posted here.. Thanks Michelle!
  • We'll be staying in 26-168 since it's way better than 66-144.
  • We're still working on finding a better lecture room but for Thursday Sept 17th we'll meet in 26-168.
  • As of the morning on 09.15.09, the registrar's office has not yet given us a different room for lecture so we'll meet in 66-144 once more today.
  • You can find old announcements here