Navigation Links
Having serious fun in the MBL physiology course
Date:12/27/2012

WOODS HOLE, MASS. -- What happens when graduate students in biology are given the freedom to play, dabble in new fields, launch into the unknowns of genuine research, not worry about getting "good" results?

In the case of the MBL Physiology course, one outcome has beenparadoxicallyan extraordinary level of new knowledge and publications generated by student-and-faculty teams.

In the Dec. 21 issue of Science magazine, several scientists who have directed the Physiology course detail their winning formula for instilling in students the passion for and ability to conduct "real research," as lead author Ron Vale of University of California, San Francisco, describes it.

The article presents the overwhelmingly positive feedback from a poll of Physiology course alumni from 2004 to 2010; and the remarkable list of 23 research papers and 59 meeting abstracts that developed out of Physiology course projects from 2005 to 2012.

Vale and Tim Mitchison of Harvard Medical School co-directed the Physiology course from 2004 to 2009 and revamped it in significant ways: (1) an equal number of students from cell biology and from physical sciences are admitted (2) students go through a "boot camp" to learn research techniques outside their fields and to begin thinking and stretching beyond their comfort zones (3) faculty give students the kernel of a "real" research problem not an exercise and the students develop an experimental plan, reporting back on what they found at the end of 11 intense days (often working 14 hours a day!)

And if they find nothing? Not a problem! "That's most of what is going on!" Vale says. "Learning from failure is a crucial part of being a scientist." The atmosphere the course intentionally creates is "intense, yet low-risk," minimizing "the fear of failure or of appearing ignorant, factors that impede students, as well as senior scientists, from venturing into new fields or learning new approaches," the article states.

Very often, students and faculty become so inspired by a research problem that they continue to work on it after the course ends, at their home institutions. That is how the seven-week Physiology course has generated so many publications.

The positive impact on students is evident from the alumni poll, which includes comments like, "I am now much more likely to try new experiments even though they seem nearly impossible. This attitude has had a very positive influence on the fun I have being a scientist, which is also reflected in the results."

"People have a tremendous amount of fun in the Physiology course, whether their project gets a good result or not," Vale says. "They appreciate the experience of going after a real research problem, of being surrounded by faculty and fellow students who are excited by the thrill of the chase ... We are trying to learn something new, and we don't necessarily know how to get there. That is science!"

The current co-directors of the Physiology course, Dyche Mullins of University of California, San Francisco, and Clare Waterman of the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, have preserved the basic structure and spirit that Vale and Mitchison brought to the course.

Physiology is one of 22 courses the MBL offers for advanced, laboratory-based research training in fields such as cellular physiology, embryology, neurobiology, and microbiology.


'/>"/>

Contact: Diana Kenney
dkenney@mbl.edu
508-289-7139
Marine Biological Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Predicting the age at menopause of women having suffered from childhood cancers
2. US-born Latinas at great risk of having babies with retinoblastoma
3. Fear of not having enough food may lead to obesity
4. Mild thyroid dysfunction in early pregnancy linked to serious complications
5. Study: Seeping Arctic methane has serious implications for Florida coastline
6. Study: Seeking Arctic methane has serious implications for Florida coastline
7. MARC travel awards announced for the AAI 2012 Introductory Course in Immunology
8. MARC travel awards announced for the AAI 2012 Advanced Course in Immunology
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Having serious fun in the MBL physiology course
(Date:2/8/2017)... Report Highlights The global biosurgery market should ... 2016 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of ... An overview of the global market for biosurgery. - ... and 2016, and projections of compound annual growth rates ... the basis of product type, source, application, and region. ...
(Date:2/7/2017)... WARSAW, Ind. , Feb. 7, 2017 ... global leader in musculoskeletal healthcare, will present at the ... Lotte New York Palace Hotel on Wednesday, February 15, ... A live webcast of the presentation can be accessed ... for replay following the conference via Zimmer Biomet,s Investor ...
(Date:2/6/2017)... 2017 According to Acuity Market Intelligence, ... authorities to continue to embrace biometric and digital ... Automated Border Control (ABC) eGates and 1436 Automated ... than 163 ports of entry across the globe. ... a combined CAGR of 37%. APC Kiosks reached ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/24/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Delpor, Inc. (Delpor), a biotechnology company focused on drug delivery, ... Health (NIMH) for the further advancement of the company’s 3-month olanzapine product ( DLP-119 ... to deliver therapeutic levels of olanzapine for a period of 3 months., “We are ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... , Feb. 24, 2017 Provectus ... or the "Company"), a clinical-stage oncology and dermatology ... the deadline to participate in its previously announced ... consisting of shares of common stock and Series ... holders of listed warrants. As ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... , Feb. 24, 2017 Symic Bio, a ... a new category of therapeutics, announced today the completion ... in peripheral artery disease. The trial will evaluate the ... therapeutic, in the reduction of restenosis following angioplasty. ... development milestone for SB-030," said Nathan Bachtell , ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... Blood Corporation (NYSE: CO ) ("CCBC" or ... laboratory testing, hematopoietic stem cell processing and stem cell ... the third quarter and first nine months of fiscal ... Quarter of Fiscal 2017 Highlights Revenues ... 18.6% to RMB200.9 million ($28.9 million). ...
Breaking Biology Technology: