BMS 715 Syllabus

BMS 715 - Course Syllabus - Spring Semester 2019

Course Description

This is a 3 credit course that consists of 31 lectures and 4 journal club sessions. The course has no formal prerequisites but students should have some background in cell biology and biochemistry.

Course information is posted on SOLE (

Journal Club Sessions:

Students will be assigned to read journal articles to enhance their understanding of the lecture material. Each faculty member will pick a research article approximately one week before the journal club session. PDFs of the journal articles will be posted on the course SOLE site. Students will read the paper and supplementary materials and then develop a critique of the paper. Guidelines for developing this critique are described in a separate document entitled "Guidelines for Writing a Journal Club Paper Critique". One class period will be devoted to discussing the paper in a roundtable format. Prior to the start of class, students will turn in their critiques. Faculty will lead the discussion of the journal article. All students are expected to participate in the group discussion. Students should come to class prepared to discuss all aspects of the paper.


The textbook for the course is Genes XII by Ben Lewin. Readings will be assigned from this text.


There are 4 examinations of 2 hour duration. Examinations will be given during the afternoon of the indicated dates. There will be no class on these dates.


The four examinations will constitute 80% of the final course grade. The number of points per exam will vary depending on the number of classes in each examination period. The number of points per exam is listed below:

Exam 1 – 20 points
Exam 2 – 34 points
Exam 3 – 26 points
Exam 4 – 20 points

Journal club performance will constitute 20% of the final course grade and will be based on the quality of the written critiques and the level and quality of participation in the group discussions. The written critique and group discussion will be graded on a 100 point scale and will constitute 90% and 10% of the journal club grade, respectively.

A grade of A will be at least as low as 90%, a grade of B will be at least as low as 80%, a grade of C will be at least as low as 70%, etc.

Make up exams and extensions for turning in journal club critiques will be given only if the student has a medical excuse or a bonafide emergency. Under such circumstances students should notify the course director immediately by phone or email.

Instructors will be available for questions immediately after each lecture or in their office by arranged appointment.