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20.109(F20): Laboratory Fundamentals of Biological Engineering

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Fall 2020 schedule        FYI        Assignments        Homework        Communication |        Accessibility

       M1: Genomic instability        M2: Drug discovery        M3: Metabolic 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 similar
  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 Monday, December 7th 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 about 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 the CRISPRi system 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 sgRNA_target sequences to the host genome.
    • Be sure that the target site of each sequence is clear (promoter / coding, template / non-template).
    • Do the sequences overlap with elements in the promoter / coding region?
  • Graph(s) and / or table(s) of ethanol yield data.
    • Include information regarding the validity of the data based on the controls.
    • How do the data support the design of your optimized sgRNA_target sequence?

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?


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%
  • Are suggestions for future experimental changes likely to address any problems encountered?
  • Are high-level suggestions for future work interesting and relevant?

This assignment will be graded by Dr. Noreen Lyell.