The course includes lectures and smaller group discussions as well as seminar, writing and data analysis exercises. The course emphasizes enhancing critical thinking and communication skills in the context of understanding research methodology, experimental design and the scientific process as applied to the field of Molecular Biology. This course is based upon the collaborative student learning model and will therefore endorse active student participation.
Molecular Biology is an extensive and diverse field of endeavour. It is responsible for determining how intricate biological systems work; from the coding potential of DNA through to the regulated activity of proteins and large protein complexes. It is also the key driving force behind sustained biotechnological development. Thus, through many years of refining scientific ingenuity and skill, present-day molecular biologists now have at their disposal an extensive molecular toolbox capable of tackling and answering most biological problems. With this as a backdrop, this course will primarily use cutting-edge original research literature from the Molecular Biology field to promote student understanding of the experimental research process and the art of scientific communication. Students will be able to improve their capacity for critical thinking through a detailed analysis and evaluation of scientific concepts and experimental designs in advanced molecular biological research. Students will also gain an appreciation for past scientific achievements and how they have helped pave the way for present-day scientific discoveries of exceptional merit. Students should also develop an aptitude for formulating suitable questions brought about by a thorough analysis of primary research data where inherent strengths and weaknesses will be identified. Finally, bioethical issues associated with scientific research and discovery will also be discussed.