Introduction to Biotechnology

BME5: Introduction to Biotechnology


Wendy Rothwell, Ph.D. (Rothwell-Lopez)                                                 Spring 2011                                                                                   MWF 12:30-1:40pm

Office Hours: 2:05-3:00pm MW in 405A PSB                                              Classroom Unit I

Office Phone: (831) 459-1623


Course Description

Lecture course providing an introduction to the tools and applications of biotechnology in the fields of medicine, agriculture, the environment and industry.


TA and Discussion Sections

Sections are not mandatory

TA: Chris Brumbaugh


Section      Class #            Day                 Time                           Location

01A           62259              Th                    12:00pm-1:10pm         J Baskin Engr 372

01B           62260              F                      3:30pm-4:40pm           J Baskin Engr 165


Text and other sources

Text: Introduction to Biotechnology second edition, Thieman and Palladino (2009) (available on reserve in the Science and Engineering library)

Companion website (Bookmark this!):

eCommons account: see eCommons Instructions at the end of the syllabus.

National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI):



Grades will be based on performance on 8 homework assignments (lowest score of 9 dropped), 2 exams and one research paper describing a newly developed biotechnology approach or tool. Weighting of each component in the grade is shown below.


assignment      number            points each      total points      % of grade

Homework      8                      10                    80                    40%

Exams             2                      50                    100                  50%

Paper*             1                      20                    20                    10%



* Please refer to the Paper Handout (available on ECommons) for details regarding format, etc.


Homework assignments are due every Monday at the start of class. Note*** add 5 points extra credit if all 9 homework assignments are turned in.


The final exam is not comprehensive and will be given on Monday, 6/06/11 from 4:00-7:00pm in Classroom Unit I


I don’t expect to grade on a curve although I’ll wait until I see the final scores to make that assessment. I will not, however, pass anyone who earns fewer than 60% of the total points.


Course Organization

As I give the lectures I will be filling in lecture outlines that have been previously prepared.

Copies of each of these outlines will be made available on the eCommons course Website prior to each lecture and will be formatted such that students can fill them in with the information as I lecture. Therefore, it will be important for students to have these printed out and ready to fill in at the start of each lecture.


Whenever possible I will use figures from your text in my lectures. However, on many occasions I will be using other sources from the Web and I may also utilize handouts. Links to the Web sources will be provided within the text in each lecture outline. Handouts, if I use them, will be made available on the eCommons course Website.



The format of the exams will include short answer, matching, true-false and multiple choice questions. No scantrons or bluebooks will be needed. Also, no electronic devices (calculators, etc) will be needed or allowed. Bring 2 sharp pencils with erasers. No make-up exams will be provided. Therefore, you may want to give yourself extra time to get to school on exam days (in case something happens on the way to school).


Disability Resource Center (DRC) Accommodations

If you qualify for classroom accommodations because of a disability, please get an Accommodation Authorization from the Disability Resource Center (DRC) and submit it to me in person outside of class (e.g. during office hours) within the first two weeks of the quarter. Contact DRC at 459-2089 (voice), 459-4806 (TTY), or for more information on the requirements and/or process


Academic Integrity

Behaviors considered to constitute academic misconduct (cheating, plagiarism, or aiding others in cheating) will be taken very seriously and will result in anything from a zero score on the assignment to failing the class. The “Official University Policy on Academic Integrity” can be found at


Note that plagiarism means the act of presenting someone else’s words/ideas as your own. This involves not only taking text, word-for-word from another source but also includes moving words around to make a “new” set of sentences based on someone else’s text = paraphrasing. Failing to reference the source of findings described within a publication is another form of plagiarism.


Excellent information regarding plagiarism, what it is and how it can be avoided can be found at: Indiana University Writing Tutorial Services. I urge you all to visit this site.



Tutoring services are available for this class. Please see the link on eCommons for more information.


Lecture Schedule (subject to change with fair notice) Reading assignments for each lecture are noted at the start of each lecture outline (available on the eCommons course website)


3/28 (Mon): The History, Promise and Challenges of Biotechnology (Lecture 1)

3/30 (Wed): Lecture 1 continued

4/01 (Fri): Lecture 1 continued


4/04 (Mon): Genes, Genomes, Chromosomes and Cells (Lecture 2)

4/06 (Wed): Lecture 2 continued

4/08 (Fri): Lecture 2 continued


4/11 (Mon): Recombinant DNA Technology and PCR (Lecture 3)

4/13 (Wed): Lecture 3 continued

4/15 (Fri): Lecture 3 continued


4/18 (Mon): Lecture 3 continued

4/20 (Wed): Producing and Isolating Proteins (Lecture 4)

4/22 (Fri): Lecture 4 continued


4/25 (Mon): Lecture 4 continued

4/27 (Wed): Microbial Biotechnology (Lecture 5)

4/29 (Fri): Lecture 5 continued


5/02 (Mon): Midterm Exam (covers information through 4/29 lecture)

5/04 (Wed): Lecture 5 continued

5/06 (Fri): Lecture 5 continued


5/09 (Mon): Engineering Plants and Animals (Lecture 6)

5/11 (Wed): Lecture 6 continued

5/13 (Fri): Biotechnology and the Environment (Lecture 7)


5/16 (Mon): Aquatic Biotechnology (Lecture 8)

5/18 (Wed): Medical Biotechnology I: Diagnosis and Treatment of Disease (Lecture 9)

5/20 (Fri): Lecture 9 continued


5/23 (Mon): Lecture 9 continued, Research Paper Due

5/25 (Wed): Lecture 9 continued

5/27 (Fri): Medical Biotechnology II: Regenerative Medicine and Bioethics (Lecture 10)

5/30 (Mon): Memorial Day Holiday

6/01 (Wed): Lecture 10 continued

6/03 (Fri): Lecture 10 continued



6/06 (Mon): Final Exam (covers information from 5/04 lecture on) from 4:00-7:00pm in Classroom Unit I


eCommons Login Instructions and Support Resources

(taken from the “startup help for students” link on the eCommons Login page)


Web Browser Compatibility: We recommend using the latest version of Firefox or Internet Explorer to access eCommons.  Safari and Google Chrome are not recommended.  Firefox Javascript add-ons can conflict with eCommons and may need to be disabled.

Logging in to eCommons: To log into eCommons, you must obtain and use a CruzID Gold password.  For more information, and to obtain the password, visit

Once you have your CruzID Gold password, you can log into eCommons by visiting this site:


Support for Students: The best way for students to request support for eCommons is to contact the ITS Help Desk:


Phone: (831) 459-HELP


In-Person: Kerr Hall

Kerr Hall Rm. 54 - M-F 8am to 5pm


60-Minute Inactivity Timeout: After 60 continuous minutes of inactivity, you will be automatically logged out of eCommons.  This means any tasks or changes you were working on will not be saved beyond when you last saved them yourself.  As an example, if you were in the middle of editing your calendar and left the room for 60 minutes without saving your work or logging out of eCommons, your calendar changes would be lost.  The best practice is to save your work and log yourself out of eCommons when you are no longer actively working in it, especially when editing the site or completing coursework.



Instructors and Assistants