Talk:20.109(F13): Fall 2013 schedule

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Lecture: T/R 11-12 (16-220)
Lab: T/R 1-5 or W/F 1-5 (56-322)
People: Instructor and student web pages may be found at the linked People page.

Welcome to 20.109! For some of you this will be the first time in a research lab and for others it will not; either way, 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 data and your ideas. All of us involved in teaching 20.109 hope you will find it a satisfying challenge and an exciting experience that has lasting value.


You will perform three series of experiments (hereafter “modules”) over the course of the semester. The modules differ in both conceptual and technical content, and in the ways that your learning will be assessed. Links to the experiments and assignments are provided below.

Although your lab work will be done in pairs, most assignments will be submitted individually (as summarized below) and should reflect your personal understanding. Please read the 20.109 statement on collaboration and integrity for more detail about academic honesty in our class. You are encouraged to ask the teaching faculty any questions you have about what constitutes appropriate collaboration.

  • Individual assignments (60% of grade): all lab notebooks, quizzes, and homeworks (unless otherwise noted in directions); Module 1 methods section; Module 2 research article and journal club presentation.
  • Team assignments (40% of grade): Module 1 abstract and data summary (draft and revision), Module 3 data summary, and Module 3 research proposal.

We appreciate that time management can be a difficult skill to develop, and that learning takes place on many time-scales. However, assignments turned in at wildly disparate times create additional logistical burdens for the teaching faculty. Therefore, late work (both daily and culminating assignments) will be penalized 1/3 of a letter grade for each day late and will not be accepted after a week. We strongly recommend that you plan ahead and space out your work when possible. For assignments that may be revised, be sure to read the late policy clarification in the assignment descriptions.

We will endeavor to provide equal access to subject 20.109 for students with disabilities, in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. Please see the teaching faculty as soon as possible regarding needed accommodations.


N/A 0 Thu/Fri Sept 5/6 Orientation
1 1 Tue/Wed Sept 10/11 DNA engineering using PCR
lab practical quiz
1 2 Thu/Fri Sept 12/13 Clean and cut DNA
1 3 Tue/Wed Sept 17/18 Agarose gel electrophoresis
lab quiz
1 3.5 Thu Sept 19 We'll have lecture but no lab.
MIT Break Friday Sept 20
1 4 Tue/Wed Sept 24/25, No lecture today. DNA ligation and bacterial transformation
1 5 Thu/Fri Sept 26/27 Examine candidate clones and tissue culture
1 6 Tue/Wed Oct 1/2 Lipofection and paper discussion
lab quiz
1 7 Thu/Fri Oct 3/4 FACS analysis
Monday Oct 7
M1 Methods Due 5pm
2 1 Tue/Wed Oct 8/9 System Design
2 2 Thu/Fri Oct 10/11 Mutation Analysis
M1 Abstract and Data Summary Draft Due
Columbus Day Break Monday, Tues Oct 14, 15 No lab Tues or Wed
2 3 Thu/Fri Oct 17/18 Analysis & Planning 1
2 4 Tue/Wed Oct 22/23 Phosphotyrosine Western Blot Analysis
lab quiz
2 5 Thu/Fri Oct 24/25 Journal club I
2 6 Tue/Wed Oct 29/30 Analysis & Planning 2
M1 Abstract and Data Summary Revision Due
2 7 Thu/Fri Oct 31/Nov 1 HTS and Analysis
2 8 Tue/Wed Nov 5/6 Journal club II
lab quiz
Veteran's Day Break Monday Nov 11 No lab Thurs or Fri Nov 7/8.
M2 Report Due Monday, Nov 11th 5pm
3 1 Tue/Wed Nov 12/13 Growth of phage materials
3 2 Thu/Fri Nov 14/15 Phage nanowires
lab quiz
3 3 Tue/Wed Nov 19/20 TEM
3 4 Thu/Fri Nov 21/22 Solar cell assembly
Thanksgiving Break Nov 28, 29 Lecture: yes, on Tuesday Nov 26th
Lab: none all week!
M2 Revision due Wednesday, Nov 27th 5pm
3 5 Tue/Wed Dec 3/4 Solar cell testing
lab quiz
3 6 Thu/Fri Dec 5/6 Wrap-up & data summary
M3 Data Summary Due
3 7 Tue/Wed Dec 10/11, No lecture today. Research proposal presentations