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Biochem Mol Biol Educ. 2009 Jul;37(4):211-9. doi: 10.1002/bmb.20296.

From gene to protein: A 3-week intensive course in molecular biology for physical scientists.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, McGill University, Montréal, Quebec, Canada.


This article describes a 3-week intensive molecular biology methods course based upon fluorescent proteins, which is successfully taught at the McGill University to advanced undergraduates and graduates in physics, chemical engineering, biomedical engineering, and medicine. No previous knowledge of biological terminology or methods is expected, so the material could readily be adapted to earlier undergraduates or students in other fields. The course emphasizes hands-on experience with one half-hour of lecture and 3 and a half hours of laboratory 4 days per week, for a total of 39 hours. The materials are simple and low in cost and all software used is free, making the budget accessible to small universities and community colleges that possess basic teaching wet labs. Conceptual understanding is reinforced with lab reports and an independent final paper on a subject of the student's choice. The final paper describes a possible thesis project, not necessarily the student's own, with assessment based upon grasping of key concepts and methods of molecular biology.

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