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BIOL 3900: Advanced Research in Life Sciences, Fall 2017: Introduction


Welcome to the class page for BIOL 3900 in Fall 2017! The title of the course this semester is "Advanced Research Course in Cell Biology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology."

The faculty and staff for your course are:

Instructor - Dr. Kent Chapman

Graduate Teaching Assistant - Yingqi Cai

Post-Doctoral Teaching Associate - Dr. Ashley Cannon 

Undergraduate Teaching Assistant: Charles Anderson

I'm Erin O'Toole, the subject librarian for the Biological Sciences Department, and I'll be assisting by answering your library-related questions and managing the class page. Have fun and good luck with your research!

BIOL 3900 Class, Fall 2017

Photo of BIOL 3900 students and instructors

Course Objective

The objective of this course is to provide undergraduate students the opportunity to conduct research in the areas of Cell Biology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. The research course will explore a synthetic biology approach to engineer in plant systems to produce high-value terpenes. Approaches will involve the expression of proteins in plant systems, the localization of enzymatic machinery to subcellular compartments, and the evaluation of terpene and lipid production by confocal fluorescence microscopy and biochemical profiling. During the course, students will read the scientific literature, design experiments and evaluate/interpret their own results. Emphasis will be placed on critical thinking, data collection and analysis, and presentation of their scientific findings.

This course is based on real-world experimentation and will provide first-hand knowledge of the process of scientific discovery with its triumphs and frustrations. Students will be part of research teams and responsible for their own experimental results.  It is expected that findings from student research will be of the highest quality and suitable for research publication.

Course Syllabus and Schedule

Open the BIOL 3900 syllabus  by clicking on the link below. You can then choose to view or download the documents.

Subject Librarian

Erin O'Toole's picture
Erin O'Toole
Willis Library, Room 080


Support for this course comes, in part, from a grant by the National Science Foundation- Division of Integrative Organismal Systems to KDC (award # NSF-IOS 1656263).


We are indebted to Yingqi Cai and Zachary High (Lycoming College Summer intern) for diligent work over the summer to prepare molecular tools for this course and test gene constructs for subcellular markers.  And further, to Yingqi Cai for preliminary evidence gathered to support the hypotheses to be tested this semester.  Thanks also to Dr. Joe Chappell’s lab at the University of Kentucky, for sharing materials and analytical procedures.


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