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A Multi-Unit Project for Building Scientific Confidence via Authentic Research in Identification of Environmental Bacterial Isolates

    Author: Christa Chatfield1
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    Affiliations: 1: Department of Biological Sciences, SUNY Cortland, Cortland, NY 13045
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Published 15 December 2014
    • Supplemental materials available at http://jmbe.asm.org
    • Corresponding author. Mailing address: PO Box 2000, Bowers 1204, Cortland, NY 13045. Phone: 604-753-2235. Fax: 607-753-5455. E-mail: christa.chatfield@cortland.edu.
    • ©2014 Author(s). Published by the American Society for Microbiology.
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2014 vol. 15 no. 2 325-327. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v15i2.789
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    Abstract:

    This authentic research project is designed to identify environmental isolates by metabolic phenotypes and 16s sequence analysis and with an investigation of biofilm growth is presented as implemented in an upper-level microbiology lab course. Three units were used in the lab: one for basic metabolic identification, one for the 16s rDNA sequencing and a third for biofilm growth analysis. Assessment was by weekly notebook entries detailing the outcomes of each day in lab, providing relatively on-time feedback on student understanding and learning to both the student and the instructor. The intent for these units was for each to increase the uncertainty of the project outcomes and to challenge students to design projects with open-ended results. All student groups have been able to obtain DNA sequence data in the limited 6-7 weeks of the lab project. Students report increased confidence in their abilities and a general excitement about the project methods and results. The data produced by the students can be incorporated into larger research questions posed by the faculty running the course as determined by the source of the unknown bacterial isolates.

Key Concept Ranking

16s rRNA Sequencing
0.5030649
Legionella pneumophila
0.4166667
0.5030649

References & Citations

1. Auchincloss LC, et al 2014 Assessment of course-based undergraduate research experiences: a meeting report CBE Life Sci Educ 13 29 40 24591501 3940459
2. Emmert EA, Biosafety ASMTCoL 2013 Biosafety guidelines for handling microorganisms in the teaching laboratory: development and rationale J Microbiol Biol Educ 14 78 83 10.1128/jmbe.v14i1.531 23858356 3706168 http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/jmbe.v14i1.531
3. Stewart CR, Muthye V, Cianciotto NP 21 November 2012 posting date Legionella pneumophila persists within biofilms formed by Klebsiella pneumoniae, Flavobacterium sp., and Pseudomonas fluorescens under dynamic flow conditions PloS One 7 11 [Online.] http://www.plosone.org/ 10.1371/journal.pone.0050560 http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0050560
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/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v15i2.789
2014-12-15
2017-09-21

Abstract:

This authentic research project is designed to identify environmental isolates by metabolic phenotypes and 16s sequence analysis and with an investigation of biofilm growth is presented as implemented in an upper-level microbiology lab course. Three units were used in the lab: one for basic metabolic identification, one for the 16s rDNA sequencing and a third for biofilm growth analysis. Assessment was by weekly notebook entries detailing the outcomes of each day in lab, providing relatively on-time feedback on student understanding and learning to both the student and the instructor. The intent for these units was for each to increase the uncertainty of the project outcomes and to challenge students to design projects with open-ended results. All student groups have been able to obtain DNA sequence data in the limited 6-7 weeks of the lab project. Students report increased confidence in their abilities and a general excitement about the project methods and results. The data produced by the students can be incorporated into larger research questions posed by the faculty running the course as determined by the source of the unknown bacterial isolates.

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FIGURE 1.

Student responses to post-course survey regarding their own confidence and skill in experimental design after the first semester of the project in 2013. Similar results were obtained from the 2014 lab section.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2014 vol. 15 no. 2 325-327. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v15i2.789
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