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20.109(S21): Laboratory Fundamentals of Biological Engineering

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Spring 2021 schedule        FYI        Assignments        Homework        Communication |        Accessibility

       M1: Antibody engineering        M2: Drug discovery        M3: Protein engineering       


The major written assignment for Module 3 is relatively informal. You should continue to strive for clear writing and thorough explanations, but you do not have to provide as much context as you did in the previous written assignments. You can assume your reader is highly familiar with your field of study.

Our purpose in asking you to write this mini-report is three-fold:

  1. to include some accountability for understanding the M3 material
  2. to teach another form of written scientific communication
  3. to give you one more opportunity to practice your construction and communication of a scientific argument


You will complete this assignment in partners.

As you prepare your assignment be sure to review the resources provided on the Communication tab.

Please submit your completed Mini-report on Thursday, May 13th or Friday, May 14th, according to you laboratory section, by 10 pm to Stellar, with filename TeamColor_LabSection_MR.doc (for example, Rainbow_TR_MR.doc).

Formatting and length guidelines

The entire report text should be double-spaced and ~2 pages, 3 pages at the most, not counting the figures. The figures / captions may be submitted in a separate document.

You do not need to write an abstract, but should include a concise and informative title.

You should introduce your investigation in 1-2 paragraphs. You can assume familiarity with IPC functionality on the part of the reader, and thus provide only a brief description of the general approach then immediately "focus in" on the specific question your research addressed and the details of the experiments that were performed. Be sure to cite relevant publications.

For the main text of the assignment, summarize and fully interpret the findings. What was separated as Results and Discussion in the Research article should be combined (as in the Data summary, but with complete sentences). The Methods section will be omitted; however, the figure captions and/or main text should include any methodological details unique to your experiment that are necessary to understand the data shown. Finally, explain the future work.


  • Alignment of the IPC variant mutant sequences to the original sequence.
    • Be sure that type of mutation is clear.
  • Graph(s) and / or table(s) of fluorescence data.
    • Include data from the titration curves and the Kd calculations.
    • Discuss the validity of the data based on the controls.
    • How do the data support the design of your new IPC variant design?

Guiding questions for your discussion:

  • What technical changes might you incorporate into the experiment if you were to repeat it? Is there reason to believe that this change would lead to a different result? Why?
  • What additional experiment / control might you include to further test or confirm the results?
  • How do you hypothesize your new variant will alter either affinity or cooperativity?
  • How might your new variant be useful in exploring calcium concentrations? In what systems / applications might it be used?


This assignment will be graded by Prof. Alan Jasanoff according to the following criteria:

Content Approximate Worth Criteria
Background and Approach 25%
  • Is enough, and only enough, information included to understand the research question and results?
  • Is the hypothesis clearly stated?
Results and Interpretation of Data 50%
  • Is the description of results complete (including only necessary methods details)?
  • Do the figures clearly convey the data?
  • Are your interpretations of data reasonable?
Contextualizing Results and Suggestions for Future Work 25%
  • Is the design of the new variant consistent with / related to the interpretation of the results?
  • Is logic provided for why the new variant is useful in studying systems / developing applications?
  • Are high-level suggestions for future work interesting and relevant?