CELL 2115 General Biology Labsyllabus

CELL 2115 General Biology Labsyllabus

CELL 2115 – General Biology LabSyllabus


Location: Percival Stern Hall, Room 3011

Time: TBD

Instructor: Ian Townley, PhD

Office: Stern Hall, Room 4014

Phone: 504-862-8725 (office)


Office hours: By appointment; appointments must be made by e-mail

All questions about grading decisions should be addressed to Dr. Townley, not to the teaching assistant.

Catalog description: Laboratory exercises designed for biology majors that emphasize experimental and molecular techniques used in the field and more advanced labs in the Cell and Molecular department; 1 credit; pre-requisites: CELL 1010, CHEM 1080 and 1085.

CMB BS Program outcomes: Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • apply a broad knowledge of cellular phenomena and molecular mechanisms
  • solve biological problems through experimentation, which includes the collection, analysis and interpretation of data.
  • use fundamental techniques and practices in the field of molecular and cell biology

Specific learning outcomes: Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to ….

  • efficiently perform standard molecular laboratory practices such as micro pipetting, molar calculations, and use of the metric system
  • identify variables when implementing experimental design
  • use modern molecular techniques that include microscopy, spectrophotometry, protein extraction, and nucleic acid extraction.
  • appreciate the complexity of the major life sustaining cellular processes, photosynthesis and respiration, and how they are influenced by their environment.
  • understand the consequences of diffusion and osmosis on cell homeostasis
  • understand the relationship between proteins and enzymes
  • explain protein structure and describe the procedure of its extraction from cells
  • understand the relationship between gene and protein
  • explain DNA structure and describe the procedure of its isolation and use in genetic fingerprinting.

Book:“Exploring Biology in the Laboratory” by Pendarvis and Crawley; EBL2 BIO I (purchase in bookstore)

93.33 / A
90 / A– / 93.33
86.67 / B+ / 90
83.33 / B / 86.67
80 / B– / 83.33
76.67 / C+ / 80
73.33 / C / 76.67
70 / C– / 73.33
66.67 / D+ / 70
63.33 / D / 66.67
60 / D– / 63.33
F / 60


Assessment / Weight
Mid-term Exam / 30%
Final Exam / 30%
Pre-lab Assignment/Participation / 10%
Homework / 25%
Lab Notebook / 5%
Total / 100%


There are two exams during this course, the mid-term and final. Both exams cover all content covered in the lab, the pre-lab, and the homework, up to that point in the class. This means the final exam will cover the content of the entire semester. Both exams will have practical/hands-on assessment built into them as well as standard multiple choice, short and long answer questions.

Pre-Lab and Participation

The pre-lab assignments are to be done prior to class. These will, primarily, consist of readings to help fill in background information related to the lab that week. Most, but not all, of the readings will be from our text book. Participation in the class is vital to success and learning. Most of the time you will be working in groups of 2 to 4. Participation encompasses your attendance to class, engagement in the class (asking and answering questions, as well as staying on task), and ability to work in a group. Finally, lab work creates waste and creates a mess and thus each group is responsible for cleaning up at the end of lab. The TA will access individuals and groups during each lab.


The homework will be an extension of the lab and, unless otherwise noted, will be due within three days of the lab itself before midnight. Most homework will be submitted through Canvas. All late homework will be penalized at 15% per day.

Lab Notebook

To engage in the class you have to answer questions and take notes/data from the lab into your lab notebook. Your notebook will be checked by your TA as you exit the lab each week and checked for completion and effort.

Final Grade

The final grade will be based on the combined total of the points after they are weighted as indicated above. There is no curve associated with this course; although it is possible that everyone may have a grade adjustment based on the performance of the class as a whole.

Attendance policy: Attendance is mandatory and there will be NO MAKEUP LABS. If missing a lab is unavoidable you must notify both the TA and Dr. Townley prior to the lab. If the absence is deemed excused, then you will have a chance to turn in both the pre-lab and homework associated with that lab and will not be penalized for participation. You may have to obtain data from a lab partner and you must indicate from whom you got the data. If the absence is not excused you will get a zero for the pre-lab, participation, and homework associated with that lab. For the exams, only officially excused absences will be allowed. If the absence is unexcused then the student gets a zero on the exam.

Professional Conduct:

General guidelines for proper attire include: no open toes shoes; long hair must be secured at all times; midriff must always be covered; tank tops are not allowed (wear tee shirts); clothes should not be very loose. If a student’s wardrobe is deemed inappropriate, they may be asked to leave and return with more appropriate clothing. It is also an option to purchase a buttoned lab coat.

Students are not to use their cell phones in lab. All phones should be turned off, turned silent, and not seen during lab. If a student has a phone or tablet out and open at any time during an exam, they will receive a zero on that exam.

Food and drink are not allowed into the lab at any time. If a student brings a drink or food it must be left in the hall and consumed outside of the classroom.

It is expected that each student gives their attention and respect to their TA. This includes listening to the weekly presentation, taking notes, and following directions. Students who act in a manner that is disrespectful towards their TA will be warned that their behavior is inappropriate and points will be deducted. If the behavior continues, the student will be dismissed from the lab and receive a zero for participation, lab notebook, and homework for that week. All instances will be reported to Dr. Townley regardless of outcome.

Tentative schedule: This schedule may evolve at any point prior to or during the semester. Proper and sufficient notification will be given if that occurs.

Month / Date / Topic
August / 28-31 / Course Introduction and micro-pipette lab
September / 4-7 / No Lab – Pre-Course Assessment (online)
11-14 / Microscopy
18-21 / Cells – Diffusion and Osmosis
25-28 / Proteins – Extraction and Quantification
October / 2-5 / Proteins – Enzyme activity
9-12 / No Lab – Fall Break
16-19 / Mid-Term Exam
23-26 / Energy - Photosynthesis
November / 30- 2 / Energy - Respiration
6-9 / Mitosis and DNA
13-16 / DNA Extraction and Quantification
20-23 / No Lab - Thanksgiving
27-30 / PTC Genotype and Phenotype
4-7 / Final Lab Exam

Check Canvas for Pre-lab and Homework assignments

Code of Academic Conduct: This Code applies to all undergraduate students, full-time, and part-time, in Tulane University. The full text is available at: http://tulane.edu/college/code.cfm. By accepting admission to Tulane University, each student accepts its regulations and acknowledges the right of the university to take disciplinary action, up to and including expulsion, for conduct judged unsatisfactory or disruptive. The student has the right to be heard at an Honor Board hearing and retains the right to appeal a decision of the Honor Board hearing panel.

Graduate Students are subject to the Unified Code of Graduate Student Academic Conduct. http://www2.tulane.edu/ogps/upload/Unified-Code-of-GS-Academic-Conduct-11-14-07.pdf

Accessibility statement: Any student with disabilities or other special needs is invited to bring these concerns or requests for special accommodations to the Goldman Center for Student Accessibility. Once accommodations are approved by the Goldman Center staff, the student is encouraged to notify the instructor as early in the semester as possible to avoid unnecessarily delaying accommodations. https://www2.tulane.edu/studentaffairs/support/accessibility/index.cfm or (504-8)62-8433

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