Readings in Molecular Pathology and Immunology:

4 credits - Summer and Fall semesters
Course Director - Grant Gallagher and Kathryn T. Iacono

This course prepares the student for reading, analysing, criticising and summarizing the scientific literature, and prepares them to write their own. Students will participate in group discussion reviews of scientific publications, and prepare a written critique of one paper. Students will prepare and present one paper for group discussion. Students will review carefully the scientific literature on a topic of their choosing related to one of their laboratory rotations and prepare a small series of relevant research questions, describe their biomedical significance and provide an appropriate description of the background to these research questions. Upon completion of the course, students will have gained experience in reviewing the scientific literature, analyzing research communications, to formulate and justify research questions. Optimally, work on this course will be conducted in parallel with laboratory research.

Course Outline:

Summer Semester
Week Topic

Introduction. How to read a scientific paper. Format of Journal Club.

2 - 11

Journal Club and scientific discussion, paper presentation.

12 - 13

Written critique of one of the Journal Club papers (three pages)

Course Outline:

Fall Semester
Week Topic
1 - 3

Introduction. Literature sources and their use. How to credit other workers. Balanced use of scientific literature. What is an “author”? What is an “idea”?. What is a “question”? How are “questions” linked together? The NIH grant review process.

4 - 9

Literature review and mentor discussion

10 - 13

Written questions, biomedical significance and related literature review (six pages)

Students are expected to attend and participate in all classes. Grades will be based upon completion of all projects as follows:
Written critique   15%

Paper presentation


Class participation

Mentor discussion 20%
Written research questions 40%