Experimental Pathology: Understanding the Molecular Basis of Human Disease

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Two Sections Available to Choose From:

Course DatesLengthMeeting TimesStatusFormatInstructor(s)CRN
June 28, 2021 - August 04, 20216/28 - 8/045 WeeksOn-Campus M-F 8:30A - 11:20A and OnlineOpenHybridLiz Hernandez Borrero
Jennifer Sanders
June 28, 2021 - August 04, 20216/28 - 8/045 WeeksOn-Campus M-F 12:15P-3:05P and OnlineOpenHybridJennifer Sanders

Course Description

This is a Course-based Research Experience (CRE) class that will provide students with the chance to propose, design and conduct their own research projects, working on topics and seeking answers to questions that are currently unknown to science.

Experimental pathology is a highly collaborative discipline that seeks to uncover the fundamental cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie human disease. It uses a variety of scientific techniques including, genetic, biochemical, cellular, structural, and biocomputational to ultimately inform the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of human disease. The goal of this course is to provide you with knowledge and practical and accessible tools that will allow for the design, analysis, and interpretation of biologic experiments while giving you the conceptual background to pursue hands-on bench work and more complex experimental designs in the future. This course provides a rare opportunity for you to experience the scientific process of coming up with a novel question and hypothesis on a topic of your own choice all the way through the final stages of producing a scientific manuscript in a guided, hands-on environment using your own data.

The investigation of real-world medical problems using critical thinking, hypothesis driven experiments, and data analysis requires students to have a strong desire to learn how to conduct independent research, be highly motivated and resilient. The course will explore fundamental concepts in research design using human diseases, such as, cancer and liver disease as examples. Students will work individually or in small teams to select a human disease or biological problem of interest. As this is a hybrid course, students will divide their time in both the virtual space and on-campus. In the first 2 weeks of the course students will work remotely to read scientific articles in order to develop a novel question and hypothesis, design experiments and learn about various scientific techniques that can be used to test the hypothesis. Students will spend the next 3 weeks at Brown performing the experiments in our laboratory facilities. The final week students will transition back to the on-line space to analyze data and prepare a final paper and presentation.

The course will employ a hybrid model & flipped classroom. Concepts will be taught using recorded mini-lectures, video clips, and reading assignments. Small group discussion and individual meetings with the instructors will be conducted on-line to aid in the design of a novel experiment that has the best chance to produce meaningful, defensible data. Students will conduct research in person before returning to the on-line space to analyze data with the aid of the instructors.

As a result of completing this course, students will have learned or be able to:

  1. Critically read and analyze primary scientific literature
  2. Design a novel testable hypothesis
  3. Conceptually understand commonly used experimental techniques
  4. Experience conducting basic research in an undergraduate laboratory
  5. Employ appropriate data visualization and statistical analysis
  6. Prepare a scientific manuscript & flash talk
  7. Illustrate how basic research translates into novel diagnostic, preventive and therapeutic approaches

Prerequisites: Students must be 16 by June 21, 2021 to participate in this course. Coursework in biology/chemistry is required. Additional coursework in Honors or AP biology/chemistry would be useful, but not required. Resiliency, motivation and dedication are a must for this course as students will develop and perform individual or small team novel research experiments.

Course Information

  • Course Code: CEBI1021

Program Information


Brown’s Pre-College Program in the liberal arts and sciences for students completing grades 9-12 by June 2021.

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