LMP305Y1 – Pathobiology Research Analysis and Project

Course description

This course is designed to introduce third-year students to biomedical research, and to provide them with the analytical skills required to be a successful scientist.

You will have the opportunity to carry out a full-year research project under the supervision of an LMP faculty member (6-8 hours/week in lab).

You will cover laboratory practice, experimental design, basic logic/argument, statistics, data analysis and scientific communication in lectures. You will use the fundamentals you learn in these lectures to critique and analyze scientific literature.

We recommend this course if you have a general interest in research and if you will conduct additional research projects as part of the LMP summer research program and/or the LMP405Y1 fourth-year research project course.

This course is open to non-Pathobiology Specialist students, but students must carry out a research project under the supervision of an LMP faculty member.

Course coordinators

Dr. Stephen M. Smith

Office address: UHN, 200 Elizabeth St, Room 11E-212
stephen.smith@uhn.ca

Dr. Jeffrey E. Lee

Office address: 1 King’s College Circle, MSB Room 6314
jeff.lee@utoronto.ca

Teaching assistant

TBC

Term

Full year (Fall 2022 and Winter 2023)

Class location and time

Location TBC

2 hour lectures are held every two weeks.

Attendance at lectures is mandatory.

You are expected to carry out research throughout the academic year (6-8 hours/week in the lab)

Office hours

Contact TA or Course Coordinators

Course details

  • Hours: 24L/100P
  • Prerequisite information: You are required to secure a research supervisor. This course is open to non-Pathobiology Specialist students, but students must carry out a research project under the supervision of an LMP faculty member. Projects outside the department are allowed, as long as there is co-supervision by a LMP faculty member.
  • Prerequisite: STA288H1/STA220H1, BCH210H1, BIO230H1 
  • Exclusions: None
  • Recommended preparation: None
  • Distribution requirements: Science
  • Breadth requirement: Living Things and Their Environment (4)          
  • Enrolment limits: None

Securing a supervisor before you enroll

A major component of this course is the research project.

You must secure a supervisor who is a faculty member of LMP (primary or cross-appointed) prior to enrolment into the course. The supervisor will provide you with laboratory space, materials and mentorship. Supervisors are required to provide a research opportunity and mentorship throughout the entire academic year.

It is your responsibility to identify and secure arrangements with a prospective supervisor. We recommend you seek out supervisors in the summer prior to starting your third-year.

A full list of our LMP faculty can be found in our directory. Only faculty marked ‘yes’ under Graduate Faculty will supervise students.

How to enroll

Deadline to enroll into the course for the 2022-2023 academic year is: September 21, 2022

Once you have matched to a supervisor, email lmp.undergrad@utoronto.ca with the following information: 

  1. first and last name of student 
  2. student number 
  3. first and last name of supervisor
  4. location/institution of supervisor
  5. supervisor email address 

The undergraduate office will then reach out to the supervisor to confirm the information and proceed with your enrollment in the course.

If you have found a LMP faculty supervisor but do not meet the prerequisite requirements, contact us at lmp.undergrad@utoronto.ca.

Student evaluation

Final grades will be determined by four components, weighted/scaled as follows:

1. Laboratory performance: 45%

This component will be provided by the laboratory supervisor based upon feedback taken at the conclusion of the course.

A Research Project is needed to complete this course. Serving/working/volunteering in a laboratory as a technician, assistant or analyst without a dedicated project for presentation will be insufficient for the purposes of this course. 

Students should have a well-defined biological research question, hypothesis, and feasible experimental approach/design. Students are expected to work with their research supervisor to define their research plan.

2. Research plan: 15%

Students will write a one-page research plan that outlines their research project. This will include providing an introduction, explaining their research question, hypothesis and experimental approach.  

Due after Lecture 4.

3. Research presentation: 20%

At the conclusion of the course (penultimate and final lectures), students will be required to present their research project undertaken throughout the year in an oral format. Details of the presentation requirements and grading rubric will be provided mid-course. Evaluations from instructors and/or independent faculty members will be aggregated for a final score. 

4. Assignments: 20%

Assignments/practical applications will be issued following lectures 5, 6, 7 and 8. Assignment scores will be equally weighted and scaled to comprise this component of the final mark. 

The purpose of these assignments is to apply ideas and concepts provided in lectures to real-world scenarios. While there is a degree of subjectivity to many of the assignments (e.g. open-ended questions, argument formation), scoring is determined based upon application of principles discussed in lecture as well as structure/strength of arguments and analysis. Some responses may require additional information or reading/independent searching within the biomedical literature to achieve full marks/credit. 

Assignments will be returned to students individually with feedback; sample answers for full credit (grading key) will be provided to students.

Assignments due dates will be provided to students when assignments are distributed. Late assignment submissions will result in a 5% deduction on the final score achieved per day late. 

Attendance

All scheduled lectures are mandatory.

The format of this longitudinal course requires recurrent lectures across a year to supplement the practical component (research component). Given the relative infrequency of lectures, attendance is imperative to ensure the supplemental discussion topics are covered. As such, all scheduled lectures are considered mandatory and are protected from laboratory time. Dates and times of scheduled lectures will be provided in a supplement to this syllabus, issued during the first class. Absences from these lectures will result in a 2% grade reduction per occurrence from the final grade. 

Attendance in the laboratory is inherently flexible for undergraduate students.

The course coordinators/instructors do not monitor laboratory attendance. Laboratory attendance is determined by the student-selected laboratory supervisor(s); requirements will vary by many factors (e.g., type of laboratory, type of experiments, timing of experiments, individual student class schedule, etc.). Given these many factors, the course coordinators/instructors of this course cannot reliably create a fair grading assessment for this aspect of the course. As such, attendance in the laboratory will be evaluated as part of the laboratory performance component of the final grade. Students should discuss research laboratory expectations with their supervisor, but in general students should spend a minimum of 6-8 hours per week in the lab.

Students are advised to complete their laboratory experimental work by the end of March, so that there is sufficient time to prepare their oral presentation.

See information on Academic Integrity

Schedule

Lecture topics are subject to change. We will list finalized lecture topics in the official syllabus

Date

Topic

Instructor

Lecture 1

Course Introduction and Good Laboratory Practice

Dr. Jeffrey Lee

Lecture 2

Introduction to Biomedical Literature – general concepts and understanding a research paper

Dr. Jeffrey Lee

Lecture 3

Research Questions and Hypotheses

Dr. Jeffrey Lee

Lecture 4

Experimental Design

Dr. Jeffrey Lee

Lecture 5

Review of Statistical Analysis as Applied to Biomedical Literature

Dr. Stephen Smith

Lecture 6

Introduction to Logic and Argument Formation

Dr. Stephen Smith

Lecture 7

Deductive and Inductive Reasoning

Dr. Stephen Smith

Lecture 8

Fallacies

Dr. Stephen Smith

Lecture 9

Oral and written scientific communication

Dr. Jeffrey Lee

Lecture 10

Research presentation I

Research presentations are scheduled in April

Dr. Jeffrey Lee

Dr. Stephen Smith

Lecture 11

Research presentation II

Research presentations are scheduled in April

Dr. Jeffrey Lee

Dr. Stephen Smith

Recommended reading or text book

Suggested readings will be provided in advance of each lecture, when applicable. Readings are for supplemental purposes and may be of value in completing assignments. There is no required textbook for this course.