Course Announcements
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Needed: 22 volunteers for one more short survey

  • Monday morning's mail brought yet one more survey, this one from the folks that are making WebCT available this semester on a trial basis. They sent me 22 forms, so if I could get 22 volunteers to fill this out and hand it in by the end of our last class, I can help provide them with feedback they need. Thanks to all who volunteer!
May 8, 2000

Survey results; Clearing up rumors

  • Thanks for all the information you provided in the optional web survey. I'm waiting until Tuesday, when the survey expires, before processing the data. However I have begun to read through some of your extensive and helpful feedback, and am very impressed with the wealth of information!
  • Some of your comments revealed a couple of rumors that I should correct:
    1. I will be teaching this course again -- this is one of my regular spring courses, and my favorite course. However, I will be on sabbatic leave during spring 2001, so I will not teach that semester -- I will teach MCB 229 again in spring 2002.
    2. Because of the way WebCT displays text input, many of your lengthy answers to the survey appear truncated when you look at them. The data is not missing, however -- I can download complete text entries.
May 5, 2000

Reception for Graduating Seniors and their Families

  • All seniors graduating with degrees in MCB, EEB, PNB, or Biological Sciences are invited, along with their families, to a reception immediately following graduation ceremonies on Saturday, May 20.
  • Reception will be in Dodd Center Lounge/Foyer area.
  • Food will be served: punch and hors-d'oeuvres
  • Some members of the biology faculty will be there.
  • I will have to miss this event, as I will be in Los Angeles attending a meeting of the American Society for Microbiology. My congratulations to all graduates!
May 5, 2000

Final Exam & Review Session

Date Time Location
Final Exam
Sat. May 13 1 p.m. TLS 154
Review Session
Thurs. May 11 11 a.m. TLS 154
  • Format for the final exam will be identical to Exams 1 & 2: an individual exam for 40 minutes, followed by a group exam.
  • The final exam covers only the final third of course material. The exam is not cumulative for the semester, and there will be no essay questions (contrary to what I announced at the beginning of the semester).
  • If you want to start early, I will be at the exam room at 12:30 p.m. As soon as the room is cleared of its previous exam and we can enter, you may begin the exam. I don't know whether the previous exam will be running late or not, so I can't control exactly when an "early start" is possible.
  • The review session on Thursday will be a Q & A format.
May 4, 2000

No Quiz this Thursday, May 4. Optional Survey instead.

  • There will not be the usual graded quiz this Thursday. Enjoy your Wednesday evening!
  • I will be posting an optional detailed survey. I need lots of feedback about the course, and this will help provide it. Questions will be "graded", and anyone who completes the survey can earn up to 100 points. This grade will be used to offset the lowest of the quiz scores that count towards your quiz grade.
May 2, 2000

Last lab period: updates on quiz, evaluations, reports, etc.

  1. The final, 30 minute lab quiz will comprise 10-15 questions drawn from the two handouts (white & yellow) distributed in lab this week, which review all labs in the course. If you did not pick up both sets of questions, copies are available in lab, or you can download both question sets from the MCB laboratory index page.
  2. Your Student Management Team suggested that it was anticlimactic to have to write yet another "full" laboratory report after the scavenger hunt, and asked if we could possibly reduce that lab report to an "ordinary" report. I discussed this with your TAs and they agreed. Reports for the last labs, including water testing (which was put "on hold" pending conclusion of the food testing lab), food testing, and microbiota labs are to be turned in the normal format. The 5% grade that was to count for the water + food testing report will instead be allocated towards the normal reports.
  3. If you had already done substantial preparation towards a formal report on water + food testing, you may turn in that work for review by your TAs, who may award some extra credit depending on the amount of work you had done.
  4. The last lab period will include two evaluations: (1) a required university evaluation of the course instructor, and (2) an evaluation of the lab portion of this course. provide useful and informed feedback. We thank you for your time!
  5. During the last lab we will award the "Purple Thumb Award" to a student in each section whose laboratory skills and accomplishments are so good that we would, in a hypothetical pinch, entrust this student to performing critical tests on whose outcome the life everyone in the class might hinge. Please acknowledge these individuals as they are identified.
Apr. 28, 2000

Molecular and Cell Biology will be hosting a Career Day for graduate students and MCB Majors

  • Date: Thursday April 27th
  • Time: from 1:00 4:00 p.m.
  • Location: Alumni House (Great Hall)
Details: The format for Career Day will be somewhat casual, offering our graduate students and undergraduate majors an opportunity to speak with representatives from industry about career opportunities in the world of science outside of academia.

Representatives from the Connecticut State Police Forensic Science Laboratory, Bayer Corporation, Pfizer, Law offices of Wiggin & Dana, Andersen Consulting, Ciphergen and Corning will join us for an afternoon beginning with welcoming remarks and brief introductions to careers in industry. Following the introductions, students will assemble into smaller groups and talk with representatives about current activities and future directions in research in the industrial arena.

If you are unable to attend for the duration, please do stop in for a shorter prior and participate in this important event for our students. Apr. 6, 2000

Exam #2 makeup is on Monday, April 17, 3 p.m.

  • The makeup exam is only available to students with special permission. Having two exams in close proximity is not an adequate reason. Normally this is reserved for students who are ill or have had to miss a week or more of classes within one week of the exam.
  • Location will be TLS 203 (lab room) on Monday, April 17, 3 p.m.
Apr. 6, 2000

Exam #2 next Tuesday; Practice exam is posted

  • Our second exam is next Tuesday, April 11
  • The exam includes multiple-choice, True-False, and short answer questions. It is designed to take 30-40 minutes to complete.
  • I've posted an interactive practice exam with questions from previous exams. Spend some time reviewing it.
  • The exam has two parts:
    1. Individual exam -- you take the exam by yourself, from 8-8:40 a.m.
    2. Group exam -- you retake the same exam with your micromates (in previously assigned groups), from 8:45-9:15 a.m. Each group will submit one answer sheet for the group.
  • If you want extra time on the individual exam, you may arrive as early as 7:30 a.m. and begin the exam. Please remain in your seat when you have completed the individual portion, and wait for the group portion.
  • There is a review session on Monday, April 10, 2 p.m., TLS 153. If you have questions but can't attend this review, e-mail me or stop by my office.
Apr. 4, 2000

Exam 1 Grades are posted.

Mar. 5, 2000

Lecture on Autotrophs postponed to Thurs. 3/2

  • The material originally assigned for Thurs. 2/24 on "Autotrophs" will be discussed in lecture on Thurs. 3/2 (after the test)
  • There will be no new quiz on this material, since you've already taken quiz 8. The next required quiz (quiz 9), next study guide (#9), and next "new" material will be for Tuesday 3/7. Study guide 9 will be handed out in lecture on 3/2.
Feb. 22, 2000

Exam next Tuesday; Practice exam is posted

  • Our first exam is next Tuesday, Feb. 29.
  • The exam includes multiple-choice, True-False, and short answer questions. It is designed to take 30-40 minutes to complete.
  • I've posted an interactive practice exam with questions from previous exams. Spend some time reviewing it. Note that this is actually longer than the real exam.
  • The exam has two parts:
    1. Individual exam -- you take the exam by yourself, from 8-8:40 a.m.
    2. Group exam -- you retake the same exam with your micromates (in previously assigned groups), from 8:45-9:15 a.m. Each group will submit one answer sheet for the group.
  • If you want extra time on the individual exam, you may arrive as early as 7:30 a.m. and begin the exam. Please remain in your seat when you have completed the individual portion, and wait for the group portion.
  • There is a review session this Friday, Feb. 25, 1 p.m., TLS 154. If you have questions but can't attend this review, e-mail me or stop by my office.
Feb. 22, 2000

Lab report on "Control of Microbial Growth" due date extended by one week

  • You may want some extra time to study for the exam, so we're extending the due date for the first "formal" lab report by a week.
Feb. 22, 2000

An astonishing autotrophic discovery!!

Tasios Melis, a biologist of the University of California, Berkeley, presented a truly amazing discovery on 2/20 at the national AAAS meeting. Melis works with pond algae, long considered to be strictly aerobic phototrophs that consume CO2 and produce oxygen. Melis discovered that when the algae are deprived of sulfur and forced to live in an anaerobic environment, the plant reverts to an alternate life style and produces free Hydrogen gas.

``It is sort of a metabolic switch,'' said Melis. ``It is an alternative way of breathing'' that the plant developed over millions of years to survive where there is no oxygen or sulfur. Those same conditions would kill other plants.

Hydrogen is the cleanest of all fuels. If properly harnessed and genetically enhanced, this autotrophic metabolic system could provide a major alternative to fossil fuels.

Read the news release about this exciting discovery, which is directly relevant to this week's assigned reading and lecture material. Feb. 22, 2000

Student Management Team has been formed

Thanks to all who volunteered! I've selected five students to represent the diversity of talents and interests of this class. They are:
  • Christine Buchek. PNB major, 8th semester
  • Havalee Henry. MCB major, 8th semester
  • Sarah Lipton. Post-bac student.
  • Trung Thieu. Biological Sciences major, 8th semester
  • Trisha Zielinska. Psychology major, 8th semester

Feb. 21, 2000

Groups have been formed. A few students are still not assigned.

Thanks for forming groups and suggesting names. I've posted the current list; check to be sure you're in a group and that you know who your group-mates are. In a few cases I gave you a different name from the one you requested in order to avoid duplication. If you are not yet assigned to a group, see me or e-mail me as soon as possible. Groups will work together on the group section of each exam, starting next Tuesday!
  • Groups sorted by last name (look here to find yourself)
  • Groups sorted by group (look here to see who your micromates are)

    Feb. 21, 2000

    Volunteers needed for Student Management Team

    Volunteers wanted for Student Management Team If you're interested in helping to contribute to the success of this class in the following ways:
    • meeting for 10-15 minutes after each Thursday lecture
    • acting as a representative for other students in the class, so the instructor is quickly and well informed about any problems, difficulties, or sources of confusion that you or other students experience
    • assisting the instructor occcasionally when handouts need to be distributed or forms collected
    • taking turns cleaning the board after class, so the instructor can efficiently deal with students that have questions
    then I invite you apply for one of 4 positions as student team manager for this class. Please send me an e-mail , including:
    • your name, intended major, and class standing (freshman, sophomore, etc.)
    • your gender if it is not obvious from your name (I hope I will have both males and females on the team -- sometimes I can't tell from name alone where you belong!)
    • whether you represent any special interest group (commuter, older returning student, working 20+ hours/week, etc.) -- I like my student management teams to reflect the diversity of the class
    • a short paragraph explaining why you are interested in being on this team
    I will select the team to best reflect the diversity and composition of the class. Thank you for applying, and my apologies in advance to those of you I cannot fit onto the team in case I have more applicants than spaces!
    Feb. 16, 2000

    Extra Credit Topics are posted

    Topics, instructions, and deadlines are now posted. See the extra credit index page.
    Feb. 16, 2000

    Doing undergraduate research? Submit a poster!

    The Frontiers in Undergraduate Research: Arts, Science, and Humanities (FURASH) is now accepting abstracts from undergraduates who are involved in original research and project work. We would like the event to embrace the entire spectrum of activities engaged in by talented undergraduates throughout the University. This is a unique experience for students to present their work on Open House weekend and show the community their efforts. The abstracts for the Poster Display Event are due March 1st, 2000. For details, click here.
    Feb. 16, 2000

    Reiteration of Policy on missed quizzes

    Web technology is not perfect, and I fully expect that some of you will, through no fault of your own, find yourself unable to take or complete one of the required quizzes. I set the grading policy for quizzes with that in mind. I'm only counting 22 out of 25 quizzes, and at least one of those dropped grades I expect to be because there were computer problems. I'm also giving you two attempts, so if something goes wrong once you have another shot at it. Please don't feel like you're being persecuted unfairly if you have a computer problem that denies you one or both attempts at a specific quiz. It is not possible for me to restructure quizzes so they become available to indviduals who miss the deadline, and rather than attempt to deal with a number of individual cases that arise, I have chosen to create a liberal grading policy that allows some room for occasional computer problems without undue penalty to any individual. If there are unexpected glitches that cause problems beyond the anticipated level (e.g., UConn's computer system goes down for a day or two, and nobody can access the Web), then I will make further adjustments as needed. If you are lucky enough to not have computer problems, then consider that second attempt as a lucky event, not a birthright.
    Feb. 14, 2000


    Groups will be "officially" formed during class on Feb. 15. If you miss this class or otherwise miss joining a group, see me after class on Thurs. Feb. 17. If for some reason you miss both these opportunities, e-mail or call me (486-4255).
    Feb. 14, 2000

    Review Sessions

    I'm in the process of scheduling two optional 1-hour sessions for any students who want to review anything so far.

    Thurs. Feb. 17
    2 p.m.
    TLS 154
    Fri. Feb. 25
    1 p.m.
    TLS 154

    Feb. 14, 2000

    Performance on Quiz 2

    As of the morning of Feb. 3, 117 students had taken quiz 2.
    Highest Mark: 100.0 Lowest Mark: 12.0
    Mean Mark: 93.3 Median Mark: 100

    Feb. 3, 2000

    Honors students organizational meeting Friday 2/4

    Honors students interested in converting this course to honors credit must meet this Friday to discuss procedures.
    • Date: Friday Feb. 4
    • Time: 3 p.m.
    • Place: TLS 263 (enter through TLS 265 if door is locked)
    Students choosing honors credit will undertake an additional laboratory project, working in pairs. Laboratory projects will be supervised by Dhaval Nanavati, one of our microbiology teaching assistants.

    I've written up some guidelines for the honors projects. Please read this document before the organizational meeting, and keep it to refer to as needed.
    Feb. 2, 2000

    Notetaker needed for MCB 229

    A student with a disability has requested a notetaker. If anyone who takes good notes in this class is interested in making notes available, please contact Jennifer Lucia at 486-2020 or by e-mail at Compensation is available.
    Feb. 2, 2000

    Logging on to WebCT and taking required quizzes

    Most of you managed to log on successfully. As of the morning of Feb. 1, only 23 out of 130 students had not taken quiz 1, and some of these are students who have dropped.
    Marked Out of: 100.0 Number of Records: 107
    Highest Mark: 100.0 Lowest Mark: 40.0
    Mean Mark: 90.4 Median Mark: 90.0

    A few reminders about WebCT that you should note:

    1. If you are working on a public workstation, you should quit the browser once you are done working. Otherwise, the next users of that workstation can access your grades, take your quizzes, and potentially affect your grade. Don't just close the window -- choose "Quit" from the menu, or "X" in the upper right corner for Windows, and make sure the browser is gone.
    2. Quiz #2 is available now, and must be taken before Thursday morning's class.
    3. Study Guide 2 (handed out in class Tuesday Feb. 1) should alert you to the kinds of things to look for in the reading, as well as telling you what you don't need to read in detail.
    4. If you ever miss class, look on the Study Guides page for access to the next study guides.
    5. If you haven't yet logged on to WebCT, don't delay! Remember that the required quizzes count towards your course grade!
    6. If you have questions or feedback, please e-mail me!

    Feb. 1, 2000

    Interested in honors credit? Organizational meeting this Thursday

    Honors students interested in converting this course to honors credit must attend an organizational meeting this Thursday, Feb. 3. Time will be determined after class on Tuesday, Feb. 1, subject to constraints of instructor's and students' time. Location will be set once the time has been fixed, and will be announced on this page.

    • Honors students will work in pairs on a laboratory project that is somewhat more extensive than than regular laboratory exercises in this course. For example, one honors project two years ago was to isolate a number of strains of Staphylococcus aureus and test them for their sensitivity to a wide variety of antibiotics.
    • Projects will be supervised on a weekly basis by Dhaval Nanavati, one of the graduate Teaching Assistants for this course
    • Each pair of honors students will present a poster presentation at the end of the semester

    Feb. 1, 2000

    Early Explorations

    If you reach this page before classes start, you're definitely a "go-getter" and eager to get a jump start on the summer semester. Here are a couple of URLs to explore just for fun, and to get you in the mood for micro.
    Jan. 5, 2000