Course Description

This course, aimed at individuals who are new to the bench, provides practice with thinking through the steps of an experiment while exploring when to apply commonly used experimental methods and analyses in molecular biology.  Students will make choices as they work their way through examples of typical experiments, focused on nucleic acid methods, protein methods, and flow cytometry methods. For each topic, students will:

1) gain practice reading and analyzing scientific papers to glean the information needed to perform an experiment;

2) decide what to do next at each step of an experiment based on applying methods from the paper(s);

3) complete an experimental write up with an introduction, materials/methods section, and results and discussion section, explaining what went right, what went wrong, and steps for how the experiment could be done differently next time to get better results.

The goal of this course is to encourage thinking about the different methods you can employ, how you can use these methods to analyze your scientific questions and how to navigate the successes and failures associated with scientific experimentation, using the failures as a chance to understand what went wrong and devise your next steps.

Learner Outcomes

When you complete the course successfully, you will be able to:

  • Determine about which experimental methods to use and when
  • Analyze where experiments went wrong and how to move forward
  • Critically read scientific papers to extract the necessary information
  • Write your methods and analyses in a way that allows you to self-reflect on your experimental process


This course may apply toward the Biomedical Sciences Endeavor digital badge.


BIOL 101 or equivalent

Follow the link to review FAES Tuition Refund Policy.


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