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CBMS330 – Biomolecular Sciences Capstone

2017 – S2 Day

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit Convenor
Louise Brown
Contact via Email
Building E8C Room 305
Tuesday to Friday (9am to 4pm) by appointment
Lecturer
Robert Willows
Credit points Credit points
3
Prerequisites Prerequisites
Corequisites Corequisites
9cp from (CBMS306 or CBMS331 or CBMS332 or CBMS333 or CBMS335 or CBMS336 or CBMS337 or CBMS340 or CBMS341 or CBMS342)
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description
Having mastered some fundamental and practical aspects from the biomolecular science-based subjects, you have started to understand how to integrate your knowledge from these subjects into broader biomolecular areas such as systems biology, proteomics, genomics, computational biology, biotechnology and structural biology. The aim of this unit is to help you further with 'putting it all together' as we aim to provide you with additional skills, tools and preparation for future employment. An important aspect of this unit is a laboratory-based component where you will use your strong foundation in the biomolecular sciences to conduct a research project in synthetic biology. You will also develop skills to aid you in the transition into the workforce or further study.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at http://students.mq.edu.au/student_admin/enrolmentguide/academicdates/

Learning Outcomes

  1. Integrate the knowledge, abilities, and values that you have obtained from your undergraduate experience to define a problem, formulate a hypothesis, and design and plan a research study/investigation.
  2. Demonstrate the need for experiments, experimental design and conducting of experiments when investigating a research problem in the Biomolecular Sciences (synthetic biology).
  3. Design and conduct appropriate experiments to investigate a research problem in synthetic biology.
  4. Successfully utilise a variety of generic techniques used in research laboratories within the Biomolecular Sciences.
  5. Effectively communicate key Biomolecular Science concepts and scientific results in written and oral form to a variety of audiences. This includes presenting your research in the format of a seminar.
  6. Work effectively, responsibly and safely, as a member of a research team.
  7. Relate the major ethical issues posed by advances in synthetic biology.
  8. Develop career networking skills and capabilities that will aid you with either moving into the workforce or further study.

Assessment Tasks

Name Weighting Hurdle Due
Case Study: iGEM report 20% Group A-Wk6; Group B-Wk7
Execution of Research Project 20% Bi-weekly (x 5)
Portfolio Task 20% Week 9
Seminar presentation 20% Group A-Wk12; Group B-Wk13
Final research report 20% Group A-6/11; Group B-13/11

Case Study: iGEM report

Due: Group A-Wk6; Group B-Wk7
Weighting: 20%

Following on from the selection of your BioBrick part(s) with your research lab group, you will pick a team from a recent iGEM competition that has worked with this part. You will submit a short written report (~1,000 words) critiquing your the presentation from this team, focusing on how the part was made and what they did with the part.  

Due date is 10pm on the friday of the above listed week. Submission is via iLearn.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Demonstrate the need for experiments, experimental design and conducting of experiments when investigating a research problem in the Biomolecular Sciences (synthetic biology).

Execution of Research Project

Due: Bi-weekly (x 5)
Weighting: 20%

At the conclusion of each of the 5 lab sessions, you will post a short summary (blog) of your contribution to the project for the week. Include details such as your contribution to the project, project outcomes and future project plans. 

Due date is 10pm on the friday following the completed lab session. Submission is via iLearn.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Integrate the knowledge, abilities, and values that you have obtained from your undergraduate experience to define a problem, formulate a hypothesis, and design and plan a research study/investigation.
  • Demonstrate the need for experiments, experimental design and conducting of experiments when investigating a research problem in the Biomolecular Sciences (synthetic biology).
  • Design and conduct appropriate experiments to investigate a research problem in synthetic biology.
  • Successfully utilise a variety of generic techniques used in research laboratories within the Biomolecular Sciences.
  • Effectively communicate key Biomolecular Science concepts and scientific results in written and oral form to a variety of audiences. This includes presenting your research in the format of a seminar.
  • Work effectively, responsibly and safely, as a member of a research team.

Portfolio Task

Due: Week 9
Weighting: 20%

Choose from a list of supplied job ads/job descriptions of work that you may be interested in applying. Or supply a job ad of your choosing. Prepare a cover letter and a short (~2 to 3 page) cv tailored for the job application/work description. Guidance on portfolio development and preparing job applications will be given.

Due date is 10pm on the friday of the above listed week. Submission is via iLearn.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Develop career networking skills and capabilities that will aid you with either moving into the workforce or further study.

Seminar presentation

Due: Group A-Wk12; Group B-Wk13
Weighting: 20%

In your research lab groups (4-5 students), you will present a short research talk on your research project conducted over the semester (15 minute + 5 min question time). 

Presentations will be held during morning lab sessions during weeks 12 & 13.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Design and conduct appropriate experiments to investigate a research problem in synthetic biology.
  • Effectively communicate key Biomolecular Science concepts and scientific results in written and oral form to a variety of audiences. This includes presenting your research in the format of a seminar.
  • Relate the major ethical issues posed by advances in synthetic biology.

Final research report

Due: Group A-6/11; Group B-13/11
Weighting: 20%

A 2,000-2,500 word report on your research project is to be completed at the end of the semester (week 13). The format is formal and in the style of a scientific paper. It will include the following sections: Abstract, Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results and Discussion, References. Report writing skills will be given during the tutorials and via ilearn.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Design and conduct appropriate experiments to investigate a research problem in synthetic biology.
  • Successfully utilise a variety of generic techniques used in research laboratories within the Biomolecular Sciences.
  • Effectively communicate key Biomolecular Science concepts and scientific results in written and oral form to a variety of audiences. This includes presenting your research in the format of a seminar.
  • Relate the major ethical issues posed by advances in synthetic biology.

Delivery and Resources

General: Lab sessions (9-1pm, every second week) are compulsory. Tutorial/lecture sessions will be held from 1-2pm. There is no final exam for this unit.

Tutorials/Seminars: Tutorials/Seminars will be held on Thursdays from 1-2pm (starting week 1). The location is 8 Sir Christopher Ondaatje Ave (E3B) 212 Tute Rm. The list of tutorial topics will be available on iLearn.  This course is NOT taught from standard texts and attendance at tutorials is strongly encouraged.

Laboratory Session (Wet-lab): Laboratory sessions are only held from 9-1pm on Thursdays and will be every second week. Labs will be held in 14 Sir Christopher Ondaatje Ave (E7B) 349 Science Lab. The timetabled hours of 2-6pm are for you to work with your group outside of the scheduled laboratory sessions. There will be two lab groups: Group A and Group B. Group A will commence in week 2 and Group B will commence in week 3. There are FIVE laboratory sessions in total that you MUST attend. Outside these compulsory scheduled hours, you may also find you will need to attend the lab to complete tasks/experiments. This could include removing/incubating samples. You must notify the laboratory teaching staff if you require access outside of scheduled lab time. Further information regarding the laboratory session and the nature of the laboratory component will be given during the tutorial session to be held in week 1. Laboratory sessions are COMPULSORY. If you cannot attend, you must submit a Disruption to Studies request if you wish your absence to be considered. 

Other (Dry-lab): Due to the nature of the research activities in this unit, there are other tasks/activities that you will need to schedule time for both during and beyond the thursday scheduled contact hours (e.g. analysing data, preparing seminars, etc). The ‘write-up’ room (E7B 354) and notebook computers will be available for you to use during the Thursday lab session to help with these tasks (open until 6pm, by request). The laboratory may also be open during the mid-semester break to help you complete these tasks (by request).

Each student is expected to attend all tutorials and laboratory sessions which commence at 9am.  Excessive absence from tutorials and laboratory sessions will be treated as grounds for incomplete work in CBMS330.

The university timetable can be found at http://www.timetables.mq.edu.au/

Required and Recommended Texts and/or Materials

This course is NOT taught from standard texts but will depend on the nature of the weekly activities and thus reading material may be advised by your CBMS academic supervisor. Lists of other suggested reading material will be issued separately. Additional printed notes and other material will be issued as required or made available via the CBMS330 website: learn.mq.edu.au.

Technology Used and Required

You will be using and receive training in modern, state of the art research equipment for conducting your research project. This will be located in the laboratories located in E7B 354 and may include other research laboratories in the Dept CBMS. You will use database search tools including PubMed to acquire relevant literature. You will complete assessment tasks and deliver presentations including an oral talk that will require access to software such as word processing software, graphics software and powerpoint. General use computers will be provided during the laboratory session with internet access.

Unit Web Page

  • The URL of the CBMS330 Blackboard site is: ilearn.mq.edu.au
  • You will be asked for your username (student MQID) and password.
  • For log-in or contact difficulties, contact the University Library Information Technology Help Desk. http://www.lib.mq.edu.au/help/ithelp/

Unit Schedule

The CBMS330 ilearn site contains important information including the details of the weekly tutorial schedule. Weekly tutorials are compulsory and are structured around the five following themes. Tutorials commence in Week 1.

  • Review of the Scaffold of the Biomolecular Science Major: reflecting on the development of your graduate capabilities and how these have been achieved within the degree.
  • The Student Portfolio / Graduate Capabilities: Seminars from the career service and other professional bodies will allow you to take on an active role to reflect and then document on your abilities to demonstrate your capabilities in the area of Biomolecular Sciences.   You will be provided with advice to prepare a portfolio.
  • Research Project Skills: a practical introduction to research methods, effective writing, effective oral communication and presentations, group work, planning and organization will be given. This will be linked to your research project and the assessment tasks associated with your research project.
  • Introduction to Academic and Industry Cultures: Professional preparation of knowledge, skills and values of the profession, occupational health and safety requirements, computer literacy, library competency, software package analysis, analysis of Internet tools/software.
  • Ethical and Substantive Issues and Themes: that affect the world community and broad cross-sections of humanity.

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Below are brief guidelines regarding the synthetic biology research-project you will do in this unit. Further details and updates of project results will be continuously made available on the CBMS330 ilearn.mq website during the semester.

“Which techniques/skills that I have encountered during my undergraduate experience do I wish to further develop in a given practical situation?”

Designing and Building Biological Systems: Your research-project for the capstone unit will be mentored by Prof R Willows, Dr L Brown and other academics in the department.  As a researcher, you will work as part of a small team and be the drivers of your research project.  Your research project will encompass a 'Design, Build and Test' format.

  • For your research project, you will have access to a kit of ‘biological parts’ (supplied from the iGEM Registry of Standard Biological Parts). You will use selected parts from the kit to design & build novel biological systems and operate them in living cells. Such novel biologically engineered systems have the potential to improve our world and push the frontiers of synthetic biology.
  • The CBMS330 research project is a group effort. You may be given or wish to embrace specific tasks in your group project and, as part of the team effort, are expected to communicate/share your findings/results back to your group. You will be assessed individually as per assessment guidelines.
  • Suggestions and training on how best to perform your research-project will be part of the tutorial content. Skills to help you prepare for your presentation and written report will be included. Additionally training on specialized instrumentation etc can be organised, if required for your group project.
  • Thursdays during semester are the official timetabled 'CBMS330' laboratory days. You will spend at least 20 hours of lab time on your project within the laboratory during weeks (Weeks 2 to 10 for Group A; Weeks 3 to 11 for Group B).     

Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central. Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Academic Honesty Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/academic_honesty/policy.html

Assessment Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/assessment/policy_2016.html

Grade Appeal Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/gradeappeal/policy.html

Complaint Management Procedure for Students and Members of the Public http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/complaint_management/procedure.html​

Disruption to Studies Policy (in effect until Dec 4th, 2017): http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/disruption_studies/policy.html

Special Consideration Policy (in effect from Dec 4th, 2017): https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policies/special-consideration

In addition, a number of other policies can be found in the Learning and Teaching Category of Policy Central.

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/support/student_conduct/

Results

Results shown in iLearn, or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit ask.mq.edu.au.

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Your written reports may be subjected to analysis by Turnitin. Due dates for assessment tasks are on the ilearn site and assignments must be submitted through the ilearn site, where appropriate.

No extensions will be granted, unless a case for Special Consideration (Disruption to Study) has been made through the University site and approved by the Unit convenor.

Late reports will be penalised by deduction of 10% of total available marks for each 24 hour period delay.  It is your responsibility to ensure all documents submitted on line are correct and readable.

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Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit http://students.mq.edu.au/support/

Learning Skills

Learning Skills (mq.edu.au/learningskills) provides academic writing resources and study strategies to improve your marks and take control of your study.

Student Enquiry Service

For all student enquiries, visit Student Connect at ask.mq.edu.au

Equity Support

Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Service who can provide appropriate help with any issues that arise during their studies.

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit http://www.mq.edu.au/about_us/offices_and_units/information_technology/help/

When using the University's IT, you must adhere to the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy. The policy applies to all who connect to the MQ network including students.

Graduate Capabilities

Discipline Specific Knowledge and Skills

Our graduates will take with them the intellectual development, depth and breadth of knowledge, scholarly understanding, and specific subject content in their chosen fields to make them competent and confident in their subject or profession. They will be able to demonstrate, where relevant, professional technical competence and meet professional standards. They will be able to articulate the structure of knowledge of their discipline, be able to adapt discipline-specific knowledge to novel situations, and be able to contribute from their discipline to inter-disciplinary solutions to problems.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Integrate the knowledge, abilities, and values that you have obtained from your undergraduate experience to define a problem, formulate a hypothesis, and design and plan a research study/investigation.
  • Demonstrate the need for experiments, experimental design and conducting of experiments when investigating a research problem in the Biomolecular Sciences (synthetic biology).
  • Design and conduct appropriate experiments to investigate a research problem in synthetic biology.

Assessment tasks

  • Seminar presentation
  • Final research report

Problem Solving and Research Capability

Our graduates should be capable of researching; of analysing, and interpreting and assessing data and information in various forms; of drawing connections across fields of knowledge; and they should be able to relate their knowledge to complex situations at work or in the world, in order to diagnose and solve problems. We want them to have the confidence to take the initiative in doing so, within an awareness of their own limitations.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Integrate the knowledge, abilities, and values that you have obtained from your undergraduate experience to define a problem, formulate a hypothesis, and design and plan a research study/investigation.
  • Demonstrate the need for experiments, experimental design and conducting of experiments when investigating a research problem in the Biomolecular Sciences (synthetic biology).
  • Successfully utilise a variety of generic techniques used in research laboratories within the Biomolecular Sciences.

Assessment task

  • Final research report

Socially and Environmentally Active and Responsible

We want our graduates to be aware of and have respect for self and others; to be able to work with others as a leader and a team player; to have a sense of connectedness with others and country; and to have a sense of mutual obligation. Our graduates should be informed and active participants in moving society towards sustainability.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Effectively communicate key Biomolecular Science concepts and scientific results in written and oral form to a variety of audiences. This includes presenting your research in the format of a seminar.
  • Work effectively, responsibly and safely, as a member of a research team.
  • Relate the major ethical issues posed by advances in synthetic biology.

Assessment tasks

  • Execution of Research Project
  • Seminar presentation
  • Final research report

Commitment to Continuous Learning

Our graduates will have enquiring minds and a literate curiosity which will lead them to pursue knowledge for its own sake. They will continue to pursue learning in their careers and as they participate in the world. They will be capable of reflecting on their experiences and relationships with others and the environment, learning from them, and growing - personally, professionally and socially.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcome

  • Develop career networking skills and capabilities that will aid you with either moving into the workforce or further study.

Assessment tasks

  • Case Study: iGEM report
  • Execution of Research Project
  • Portfolio Task

Critical, Analytical and Integrative Thinking

We want our graduates to be capable of reasoning, questioning and analysing, and to integrate and synthesise learning and knowledge from a range of sources and environments; to be able to critique constraints, assumptions and limitations; to be able to think independently and systemically in relation to scholarly activity, in the workplace, and in the world. We want them to have a level of scientific and information technology literacy.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Integrate the knowledge, abilities, and values that you have obtained from your undergraduate experience to define a problem, formulate a hypothesis, and design and plan a research study/investigation.
  • Demonstrate the need for experiments, experimental design and conducting of experiments when investigating a research problem in the Biomolecular Sciences (synthetic biology).
  • Successfully utilise a variety of generic techniques used in research laboratories within the Biomolecular Sciences.

Assessment tasks

  • Seminar presentation
  • Final research report

Creative and Innovative

Our graduates will also be capable of creative thinking and of creating knowledge. They will be imaginative and open to experience and capable of innovation at work and in the community. We want them to be engaged in applying their critical, creative thinking.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Integrate the knowledge, abilities, and values that you have obtained from your undergraduate experience to define a problem, formulate a hypothesis, and design and plan a research study/investigation.
  • Demonstrate the need for experiments, experimental design and conducting of experiments when investigating a research problem in the Biomolecular Sciences (synthetic biology).
  • Successfully utilise a variety of generic techniques used in research laboratories within the Biomolecular Sciences.
  • Effectively communicate key Biomolecular Science concepts and scientific results in written and oral form to a variety of audiences. This includes presenting your research in the format of a seminar.

Assessment task

  • Execution of Research Project

Effective Communication

We want to develop in our students the ability to communicate and convey their views in forms effective with different audiences. We want our graduates to take with them the capability to read, listen, question, gather and evaluate information resources in a variety of formats, assess, write clearly, speak effectively, and to use visual communication and communication technologies as appropriate.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Effectively communicate key Biomolecular Science concepts and scientific results in written and oral form to a variety of audiences. This includes presenting your research in the format of a seminar.
  • Work effectively, responsibly and safely, as a member of a research team.
  • Develop career networking skills and capabilities that will aid you with either moving into the workforce or further study.

Assessment tasks

  • Execution of Research Project
  • Portfolio Task
  • Seminar presentation
  • Final research report

Engaged and Ethical Local and Global citizens

As local citizens our graduates will be aware of indigenous perspectives and of the nation's historical context. They will be engaged with the challenges of contemporary society and with knowledge and ideas. We want our graduates to have respect for diversity, to be open-minded, sensitive to others and inclusive, and to be open to other cultures and perspectives: they should have a level of cultural literacy. Our graduates should be aware of disadvantage and social justice, and be willing to participate to help create a wiser and better society.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Effectively communicate key Biomolecular Science concepts and scientific results in written and oral form to a variety of audiences. This includes presenting your research in the format of a seminar.
  • Relate the major ethical issues posed by advances in synthetic biology.

Assessment tasks

  • Case Study: iGEM report
  • Execution of Research Project
  • Portfolio Task
  • Seminar presentation
  • Final research report

Capable of Professional and Personal Judgement and Initiative

We want our graduates to have emotional intelligence and sound interpersonal skills and to demonstrate discernment and common sense in their professional and personal judgement. They will exercise initiative as needed. They will be capable of risk assessment, and be able to handle ambiguity and complexity, enabling them to be adaptable in diverse and changing environments.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate the need for experiments, experimental design and conducting of experiments when investigating a research problem in the Biomolecular Sciences (synthetic biology).
  • Work effectively, responsibly and safely, as a member of a research team.
  • Develop career networking skills and capabilities that will aid you with either moving into the workforce or further study.

Assessment tasks

  • Execution of Research Project
  • Final research report

Changes from Previous Offering

The weightings of the "Case Study" task has increased from 15% to 20% as additional questions added to the task. The Final report weighting has decreased from 25% to 20% (length of report reduced to 2,000 - 2,500) words. 

Labs will be compulsory to attend every second week from 9-1 pm (not every week). A total of 5 blogs must be submitted for the 5 compulsory lab sessions.

Changes since First Published

Date Description
29/07/2017 Update on assessment task submission dates for Group A and Group B.