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My Teaching: TAing Experimental Biochemistry - 2001-2002 webpage

I TA one of the labs in the course Experimental Biochemistry (also see the spring semester course description), with the professor for that course being Dr. Theodore Chase, including supervision of students in the laboratory, helping students with lab reports, grading of some lab reports, and helping grade the final exams. Below, you will find:
  1. any information that I need to get to students (or would like to make available to students) right now (e.g., data for the RNA Lab and PCR lab)
  2. any comments about the course that I wish to make
  3. a HTMLized version of the intro sheet that I normally give out at the beginning of each semester.

Information for Current Students

3/29/02: I will be available over the weekend (primarily afternoons and evenings), and to a lesser degree on Monday (except 10:00-11:30 AM and 2:50-4:10PM), Tuesday (not Tuesday evening (or anytime Wednesday)! I'm taking the exam in General Biochemistry too...), Thursday, and Friday, to help people with the Plasmid Lab (which I will be grading); see below for how to get in touch with/locate me (making very sure to read over the information on emailing me carefully so you don't send email to an address where it will get mistaken (by a program) for spam... I have taken precautions against this happening for email from Rutgers computers, but other email accounts are another matter entirely). The lab in question, due to when the 404 exam is, is now due next Friday (4/5/02), if you didn't get that info. If people did not get a copy of the 1 Kb DNA Ladder, the standards, it is available at 1kbLadder.png or 1kbLadder.gif on this server. Note that the 1636 Kb band is likely to be brighter than the bands above and below it.

4/1/02: Also note a couple of pieces of information that I've decided it's necessary to give out:

  1. There is only one enzyme that can cut more than once (a maximum of 2 times; a minimum of none). All the rest will/should cut once and once only.
  2. The plasmid total sizes ranged from 4005 to 6660 bp. However, the standards did not come out very well, so you may have something somewhat outside this range - as long as it's consistent across the lanes (as in adding up the bands and finding they add up to about the same number), use it.

4/2/02: You can take a look at an example plasmid (no, we're not telling you which one it is; if you know, don't tell anyone) on the right-hand whiteboard up in Lipman Hall 202. (The plasmid in the lab manual is not the plasmid you got, or anything close to it. The plasmid that is up on the board, on the other hand, is mostly the same as your plasmid. It's part of your job to figure out what the differences are, and - moreover - to show me that you understand how the example one was worked out (don't just copy from it, in other words - you have to use your own data).) Note that the room in question is occupied by classes 2:50-4:10 Tuesday and Thursday, and that I will be occupying it and distinctly adverse to being disturbed (if you bother me while I am studying for the Biochem exam or am taking it (I need extra time and no distractions due to Attention Deficit Disorder), I am very likely to throw something at you!) Tuesday night and probably much of Wednesday. If you need to ask someone about the plasmid lab during this time period, check with Dr. Chase or with John Campor (, the Wednesday lab TA.

4/3/02: (I am writing this before I fully wake up (I will be studying instead once that happens), so sorry if it isn't as clear as it should be.) Two things:

  1. None of the RNA gels turned out very well - or, actually, for anything other than the standards, with anything at all usable - I'm afraid. (Given the consistency of this, it's pretty clear that this wasn't something you did that caused this (in most cases - some were a bit worse than others). We'll be looking at the procedure for ways to make sure this doesn't happen again - while RNA (as Dr. Zylstra was saying in Gen Biochem) is notoriously difficult to work with, nobody having usable results is not normal, including in comparison with past Experimental Biochemistry RNA labs.) We are therefore going to provide all of you with a picture of a gel of previous results (to be precise, by Rosa, a past student of Dr. Chase's). This picture is available as RNAGel.tif, RNAGel.jpg, RNAGel.png, and RNAGel.gif (in the appropriate file formats for the names; the .tif one is the highest-quality, but is also the largest-size and is not as portable as the other two formats). Going from left to right, the first lane is the standards (the same ones as you got - see rnastd.jpg if you didn't get a copy); the second lane is RNA from another plant; the third lane is how the cabbage leaves you worked with should have turned out; and the fourth lane is from E. Coli RNA. The (unfortunately faint) black rectangles close to the top, with thin bright lines right below them in some cases, are the wells.
  2. From the plasmid labs that I have seen, the blot/nitrocellulose gave a lot more information than the gels. This was because the blot was, as expected, a lot more sensitive than the gels - but, moreover, that sensitivity included to nonspecifically bound DNA (as in not what the probe was to) to a large extent. If this is true for yours - as in you get very confusing results and/or it's very hard to read for the gel - do most of your analysis on the blot, using the gel only to get the standards and the distances of the supercoiled and relaxed DNA. The latter should also show up on the blot, so you can find the relationship between the gel (picture) distances and the blot distances using them, and thus be able to use the gel standards with the blot - in other words, figure out what the distance would be on the gel, then use that distance to figure out the size (the same way as you would for bands on the gel). (This is the equivalent of doing what Dr. Chase asked for (rather unclearly, as he's said himself) in #11 in the lab manual, and will be considered as such in grading. Ask him or (after Wednesday) me if this is unclear, as it probably is.) I have noted that, while the probe was rather nonspecific in what it was showing up - fortunately, as it turned out - one can still figure out where the probe was actually targeted to, by that you have strong blot bands that are (close to) not visible on the gel. These bands should be the fragments that the probe was targeted to. (Again, this may not be very clear - ask Dr. Chase, John, or (after Wednesday) me about this if you are having problems.)

4/4/02: OK, I am now available again (including until quite late). Do keep in mind that there is a class in 202 from 2:50-4:10, so I will not be in there during those hours (try 119 or 325). Contrary to some rumors, I will take labs turned in after Friday - although if there's anyone who hasn't had an exam this week (and doesn't have any other valid excuse), I may be somewhat irked - especially if you make mistakes that I could have helped you with and you don't come and ask me. I will accordingly be available this weekend to help with labs. I'll try to email this out to everyone; if there's anyone I miss, please tell them!

4/5/02: I will (unless overriden by Dr. Chase) be counting labs turned in before midnight Sunday as in on time (although the (two) people who got theirs in on Friday will get some brownie points). In the instructions regarding how to do the lab report:

  1. For the description of the procedure, I am interested in:
    1. What amounts you used, if they are not specified exactly in the lab manual (e.g., if they are "use .6 volumes of your sample", do say how much you used)
    2. The results of any measurements you make
    3. Any deviations from the procedure in the lab manual
    4. Anything you noticed that seemed odd/wrong/whatever
    Everything else, I don't care about - it's standard procedure to simply reference the source of one's methods in papers, and I see no reason for you not to do this also. (I'm also completely uninterested in reading over 200+ pages of paraphrasing of the lab manual...)
  2. For the instructions in #9, ignore the references to lane 8 standards or to digoxigenin-labelled standards
  3. For #11:
    1. Tell me what the equation is that you used to convert from the blot measurements to the gel measurements (I don't advise people to try converting to the physical gel measurements, BTW - that's an additional source of error; just be sure that you convert your blot measurements to the same set of measurements (or estimates of physical gel measurements) as you use for the standards)
    2. Tell me the data points you used to get the conversion equation - note that I am finding this matters quite a bit, and it is preferable that you use points from both sides of the gel if at all possible (to allow for distortions in how the gel ran, such as one side moving faster than the other)
    3. See about figuring out where the probe bound (not to what "sequence" the probe bound to (you don't have the plasmid's sequence (yet))) in relation to your restriction map - note that you will almost certainly be somewhat unsure on this, especially since we are also - by comparing what showed strongly on the blot, and not on the gel (which corresponds to the restriction fragments that the probe bound strongly to), to what showed strongly on the gel, and not on the blot (which is what the probe did not bind strongly to).
  4. The standards are not in kbp (kilo-base-pairs), but in bp (base-pairs) and you should be working in bp; working in kbp is a bit silly with a plasmid of less than 10,000 bp.
  5. If your gel picture is reasonably clear, a photocopy with the bands you used outlined is sufficient to fulfill the requirement for a "drawing" - this isn't an art class. The same is true of the blot. (Just turning in the blot, however, is not sufficient, as Dr. Chase states.)
Incidentally, on the question regarding E. Coli DNA and the number of genes in its genomic DNA, assume that there are 4 million base pairs in its genome.

4/7/02: I will be here until at least 1 AM Monday morning, although anything that comes in after midnight will be treated as late. On Monday, I will be available in the evening after General Biochemistry, and may be available prior to General Biochemistry (but after 12:00 noon) - email or call to be sure before coming over.

4/10/02: I am still available for consultation; email me to ask about when. Please note that on the RNA labs, you should use the bottom 4 standard bands only - the 9.49 and 7.46 BP bands are not going to work for you, from what I've seen. You may need to use the 2 bands from the E. coli rRNA (in the rightmost lane) along with the info in the introduction to the lab on prokaryotic rRNA sizes to get a sufficiently accurate standards graph. Come and ask if you have any more questions on either the plasmid or the RNA labs - but note that I am not grading the RNA labs, so can't give you as much of an answer on many things as I can on the plasmid labs.

4/12/02: Sorry about people who were looking for me yesterday - I wound up having to spend the afternoon getting my car fixed (muffler problems (that would have made it illegal to drive!) and running low on oil). I should be available for at least part of the afternoon on Friday (try between 4:30PM and 6:00PM - before then, I am either waking up or taking care of what's due Monday, April 15th (taxes)), although there's a dinner Friday night that I will be at, and the rest of the celebration of the department's 175th anniversary on Saturday.

4/13/02: I am available for consultation on plasmid and RNA labs, and should be also tomorrow evening after General Biochemistry. In addition to the above and below regarding the RNA labs, note that you don't need to worry about what the physical distance was on the original gel, just on the picture - I have checked with Dr. Chase on this. He has also said that you can use the end of the picture (away from the wells) as the "dye front".

4/15/02: I am available this evening until 12-1AM or so, and should be tomorrow afternoon after the lab (do allow time for me to take a break after the lab, though!). I've spoken to Dr. Chase regarding the RNA lab again, and he says:

You are supposed to measure and report on the bands in the other plant's RNA, and are expected to discuss them if they correspond with bands from either the Napa Cabbage or the E. coli RNA. The RNA sizes for eukaryotic rRNA (except for the smallest of them) are not given in the lab manual, partially so you aren't adjusting your measurements to fit them! However, you probably do need this info in order to answer the question regarding whether bands are explained by rRNA (at least to answer the implied question of which bands are explained by rRNA...) - I suggest doing a web search, or come to me or Dr. Chase after you've already calculated your band sizes. Also read carefully over the material regarding mitochondrial and chloroplast rRNA. (The origins of mitochondria and chloroplasts, which people normally think of as simply parts of cells, is of definite interest in an evolutionary/genetics sense, BTW, including for my own research.)

4/16/02: RNA lab due date has been pushed back by one day due to confusion on whether people were supposed to measure the other plant's bands (and that Dr. Chase, who will be grading them, is busy grading Proteins and Enzymes take-home exams!). The sequencing labs, which it looks like I will be grading, are due in two weeks also, not the one week that it says in the lab schedule. (We don't actually have a lab two weeks from today (4/30/02, a Tuesday), nor one on that Wednesday (5/1/02), but it's still during the class-time part of the semester, as opposed to the exam-time part.) When the PCR lab (which is a much shorter lab report) is due has not changed, partially because it's already pushed back about as far as we can do so.

4/19/02: I will probably be working on grading the plasmid labs (that I've gotten, that is) this weekend, starting off with revising the grading master that Dr. Chase gave me earlier this week. My availability for helping people with lab reports (plasmid or RNA or other) will therefore be limited - do not disturb me when I am actually doing the grading (other times I may be available), unless you're really not interested in having a high GPA... My need not to be disturbed while grading is aggravated by that I normally use the PC in 118 to do my grading (with a spreadsheet), but those rooms are having power fluctuation problems (making using the computers in them unsafe) and (to me, at least) currently have inadequate air conditioning (likewise due to power problems) - I therefore may be in 214, the PC computer lab on the teaching lab side of Lipman, to do the grading.

4/22/02: OK, I am available this evening (after I wake up, that is - try 6:10 PM or later) for assisting people. I'll be working some more on grading the plasmid labs later this week sometime (plus I have a paper due May 1st in Advanced Cell Biology, a graduate-level course I'm taking over on Busch), however - I did revisions to the grading master and a preliminary pass (through the 26 I've gotten) this past weekend.

4/24/02: Sigh... I am getting a considerable amount of feedback that the reason people weren't asking questions of Dr. Zylstra during the sequence lab was that they were completely lost (this may be happening during General Biochemistry lectures at times also...). There seems to be a rather thorough lack of background given people on this - genetics and computers - for biochemistry majors... and this isn't something that Dr. Zylstra - or Dr. Chase and myself (especially when I was talking to people during the lab about what I expected - sorry about that!) - took into account with this lab. I will be grading the sequencing lab, which is due slightly later than earlier announced - see below. What I will be looking for in regard to the analysis (4 and 5 in the lab manual page 8):

BTW, the NCBI BLAST home page is at

PCR Gels, for use by people who can't use theirs for some reason:

  1. Gel 1, 3 views - look at all 3; I have rescaled the third to be equivalent to the other two. Note that one of the two groups got more than one band - this is not an error in this case (it's something very good, actually - we didn't expect to be this successful!). The DNA that was amplified is that coding for ribosomes (not sure offhand whether it was for ribosomal RNA or for the protein component), for which the cells have multiple copies all in a line. Therefore, how many bands one gets will depend on which pairs of equivalent locations the primers attach to and how many copies of the gene are between them.
  2. Gel 2, 1 view
I am not grading the PCR labs, BTW; John is. They are due May 6th, not the April 30th-May 1st date given in the lab manual. However, this is rather an absolute last date that they will be taken, due to John Campor having exams to take also! For part 4 of the PCR lab report, you can compare the 3 PCRs from the above that worked (with yours if it also worked, and the same with the other group that used your gel, if any), to see if there is a correlation between smaller bands (lower size PCR products) and how well the reaction worked (e.g., how diluted it could be and still work - should it work better or worse with smaller bands?). If you're just using the above, you will probably not be able to see such a correlation, I'm afraid - but still, try to figure out what correlation should exist (hint: see question #2). We used the same standards for the PCR gels as we did for the plasmid labs, BTW.

4/26/02: I should have the plasmid labs (which have been turned in - 8 have not been) graded after this weekend. Note that I will not take any (plasmid labs) after next Tuesday/Wednesday, which is when the Sequencing labs are due... and if you get a zero on a lab because you didn't turn it in, you flunk the course.

4/29/02: Due to an electrical power outage, and subsequently waiting for the computer UPSes to recharge (1.5 hours), on Sunday evening, plus disruptions on Saturday due to Ag Field Day, a paper that I have due on Wednesday (in a graduate-level course), etcetera, I am afraid that I don't have the labs quite done yet - I had hoped to have them ready to hand back this morning - but I'm doing my best, and might have them done by this evening. If I am, I will be available for consultation this evening for help with the labs, although I'll need Tuesday evening (at the minimum) for doing the rest of the paper I have due (that we don't have lab tomorrow will help on this, of course).

Update: Sigh... I am not done yet (I wrote the above at about 4AM, and left here for a class on Busch at 9:30AM, went to sleep from noon until 3:30PM or so, then came back here), but am nonetheless available for a couple of hours or so this evening (starting at 6:00PM) for consultation. If it's after 8:00PM, email before coming over.

4/30/02: It's almost 1:00AM when I'm writing this, BTW. I expect to be here working on the labs - don't disturb me! - until I put them in Dr. Chase's office for him to pick up before he goes over to give the ExpBio lecture. Then I'll go home and sleep, but I should be back - and available for assisting people, at least for a few hours (keep in mind the paper I have due Wednesday morning) - by 4:00PM.

5/1/02: Due to that my availability was rather limited yesterday, and may be today until 4:00PM or so (before which I'll be working on the paper I have due today, then getting some sleep!), I have decided to accept plasmid labs for one extra day. This doesn't mean you won't have today counted off on their lateness, of course! To answer a question someone had, this deadline is for the plasmid labs only - not for the sequencing labs. The last date I'll take those is the due date of the PCR labs, May 6th. 8:14 PM: My apologies to anyone who was looking for me this afternoon; I wound up working on my Advanced Cell Biology paper until 11:20, dropped it off, went home and collapsed, then slept rather longer than I had intended - not unsurprising given cumulative sleep debt (average of 4 hours of sleep a night for the past week or so!). Given this, I will be willing to push back the due dates for the plasmid and sequencing labs by a day:

and will ask Dr. Chase to do the same for anyone who was looking for me for help with the RNA lab. I should be here until, well, tomorrow morning sometime (modulo being out for a few minutes to pick up something to eat). Incidentally, in regard to the RNA labs, I am... not particularly happy with Dr. Chase regarding some of his grading decisions, especially in light of what he'd told me and I'd told you above regarding the RNA labs and his expectations for them - it is, however, possible that I misunderstood what he said, and moreover it is likely that his and my standards differ for "how reasonable is this line" (as in whether you should have used a least-squares/best-fit line, or after looking at it gone back and drawn a curve). He does want people to use the prokaryotic rRNA bands (E. coli) as part of the standards, and unless you can persuade a computer to plot a curve to match the data points available - I may take a look at this problem - you will probably need to draw such a curve by hand. Sorry.

5/2/02: I will be here until about 10-11AM, then will need to go home to sleep. I'll be available again this evening (probably around 7-8PM).

8:45PM: OK, I'm here and available, and should be until at least 4-6AM - email to let me know if you are needing to come by after then, and I should be able to be available until 10-11AM (if you don't email me, I might decide to go get something to eat or whatever). On question 2 in the sequencing lab:

On question 3, the part about the poly-A tail is an example of a case in which the primer could bind in more than one place (namely anywhere along the poly-A tail). On question 4, by "what controls how often this random event happens", it's asking about what controls the probability of one random event (versus the other possible random event) happening. (Hint: it's a principle the name of which you were supposed to have learned in General Chemistry. I'm actually not worried about whether you put down the name of it or not, so long as you show you understand its application in this instance.)

5/4/02: I am here and available for helping with labs and/or turning them in, provided people keep in mind that I will be grading both the remaining plasmid labs and what sequencing labs I have received this weekend - probably sometime around 3-4AM Sunday and Monday mornings. (I will post up later when exactly this is - don't disturb me between those times!) See below for how to contact me to get into the building, since the doors are locked. Incidentally, if I took off because you said on the question on the plasmid lab about what the prehybridization does that the prehybridization solution binds to the blot (as opposed to the DNA on the blot, which is what is actually the case), come by and ask - you may have points coming back, depending on why you put that.

5/5/02: It's almost 1:00PM; I've been here since 11:00PM yesterday (helping people with the sequencing and PCR labs, then grading the remaining plasmid labs (all except for a couple that I need to ask Dr. Chase about are now ready to be handed back - I've put them in Dr. Chase's office). I'm going home and going to bed. I should be back sometime around 10-11PM, and plan on grading the sequencing labs (I will try to have them all graded and ready to give back by 8AM Monday morning) starting at about 3AM Monday (again, don't disturb me while I'm doing this). People may wish to come by and take a look at the info I've put up on the boards in 202, BTW, mainly on sequencing - keep in mind that that could be on, say, the General Biochemistry final (Dr. Zylstra did go over it this term). The plasmid lab drawings have been removed; if anyone is curious, the ones on the side whiteboard were the "trial run" that Zaher (Tuesday lab) and I worked out with his data (taking something like 20 hours, including false starts - I was learning about this also!), and the (longest-lasting) ones on the front board were the second group to be worked out (taking somewhat less time), namely that of Henry, Matt, and Amit (also Tuesday lab). I had previously asked people not to reveal this information, but since I won't be accepting any more plasmid labs, I thought it was appropriate to give proper credit to the people who effectively helped everyone else - both with the drawings and with giving me practice in interpreting and explaining restriction mapping!

5/6/02: It's just after midnight, and I am here and available until 3 or 4 AM, when I'll be grading the sequencing labs that I've gotten. Note that on the PCR lab that you were using genomic, not plasmid DNA, for purposes of answering part 3.

3:30 PM: Yes, I'm still here, obviously (I don't have a computer connected up to a phone line at my apartment). I will be available until at least after General Biochemistry to do things like signing labs as being in; while I will do my best to answer questions and give other help, I make no guarantees as to the accuracy of my responses, given how sleep-deprived I am. The plasmid labs are all graded, and almost all are available (see Dr. Chase). I also have graded the sequencing labs that I've gotten and have made up an info sheet on said grading, which I have attached to the labs and will put up on here (for usage in exam study - note that Dr. Chase's webpage now has the spring 1998, 1999, and 2001 exams up with answers (unlike the copies on electronic reserve); he was on sabbatical in 2000 and thus doesn't have that exam up) after the time has passed when I will take sequencing labs (namely midnight tonight, or later if I'm still here (if need be, email to make sure I will be, within reason!)). In regard to whether there will be a restriction mapping question on the final, which there has been some confusion about - including on my part (sorry about that), Dr. Chase has now stated:

[I am] not guaranteeing not to have a restriction map question on the exam - only that, since the digests will be complete and the measurements clean, it will be easier than the actual values they had to deal with!
What people appear to have misinterpreted was his commenting that he'd never give people on an exam (at least for this course and an in-class exam) one with partial digests, uncertain measurements, missing data, etcetera. BTW, I have not curved either the plasmid or the sequencing labs, mainly because I'd need to curve down (unless I include late points and, for the latter, people who haven't turned theirs in (as zeros)).

8:10PM: Do Not Disturb.

5/14/02: I learned yesterday about the extremely sudden and unexpected death (23 years old; died of a cerebral aneurysm within 12 hours of the onset of symptoms Sunday evening) of a very close friend. Do Not Disturb - I am really not feeling like talking to anyone, especially about your grades. Speaking of those, Dr. Chase should have them figured up by tommorrow morning. While I wasn't feeling anything like doing any grading yesterday, to put it mildly (even before I learned of her death, I had an exam in Advanced Cell Biology that afternoon), I managed to pull myself together enough to produce quiz, subjective, and prelab grades for Dr. Chase this evening, plus grade the sequencing problem on the exam of two people who'd taken the exam (due to conflicts) on Monday. He should have the grades for pretty much everyone (modulo a few T grades) tomorrow morning. Bug him about them, not me, or I may ask to retroactively change your subjective grades to a negative number...

5/16/02: The grades are posted outside Dr. Chase's office.

5/24/02: I do hope I'll see people who are graduating today. I'm feeling... somewhat better.


I am not enthused about the idea of prelabs (summaries of the laboratory done before people come in, to be checked by the TA to make sure that people have read over the lab beforehand). For one thing, when I was taking laboratory courses, I had some with prelabs, and I never found them of any use (and frequently forgot to write them even when I had (as I usually had) read over the lab beforehand). I will be counting them in my grading, but will substitute the person's safety quiz average (divided by 100 to get it out of 1) for any lab for which I don't have a prelab from that person.

I am also not enthused about the amount of memorization required for the final exam. (Dr. Chase is not of the opinion that it is that heavy on memorization - but he has an extremely good memory, so perhaps does not fully realize how difficult memorization can be, especially for those of us like me who have a bad memory.) My disapproval of memorization where not absolutely necessary is one reason that I don't give in-class, closed-book quizzes except on safety matters - things that people do need to know things off the tops of their heads, to avoid endangering anyone.

People frequently say that the lab takes more time than a 2.5 credit course should. You are correct; Dr. Chase and I agree with you. Unfortunately, it appears to be University policy, probably due to the various humanities departments lobbying, to not count laboratory hours as much as classroom hours - even if the laboratory in question has, like Experimental Biochemistry, lab reports that require lots of time outside of class. On the other hand, do realize that this is one of the more thorough biochemistry (and related areas) laboratory courses that undergraduates might ever take, and definitely gives people lots of experience - experience that has meant the difference between getting a job and not getting a job for some.

I have suggested to Dr. Chase that the Rutgers Genetics course (as variable in quality as I've heard it is - some report it being better-taught in the summertime, BTW), or some equivalent, be prerequisites or corequisites for the second semester of Experimental Biochemistry - and may suggest this also for the second semester of General Biochemistry - in light of the many people coming to me needing help on what I, as a geneticist, would consider very basic aspects of the plasmid, RNA, sequencing, and PCR labs. While this would take too much wrangling to get through for next year, he is planning on adding a strong recommendation for such a course to the description of Experimental Biochemistry in the course catalog.

Intro Sheet

Tuesday Lab

My background: My primary background is in biology, specifically molecular genetics. I am mainly qualified for this lab due to:

  1. prior lab experience, especially with DNA; and
  2. having TAed it before (this will be my 5th or 6th time for the spring labs).

Getting in touch: The best means of getting in touch with me is to come by Lipman Hall room 202 (the SGI computer lab), then try Lipman Hall 119. (If the building is locked up, try the phone number given below - use the 202 number first in that case.) The second best is to email me (see below for the address), since I check my email several times most days. (Note the points on my tutorials page about not sending me email that's something other than plain text.) The third best is to call me at 932-9255 extension 118 (202 if that doesn't work). (Do not assume that I'll receive voicemail; only use this method if I (or someone else) answers the call.) The fourth best is to put a note in my box; it is on the first floor of Lipman Hall. (By the way, if you are turning in a lab report other than directly to a TA or to Dr. Chase, be sure to get someone - a secretary, professor, graduate student, whoever, just someone other than another undergraduate - to sign and date it so we don't have to count off for lateness (or for any more lateness than you should have been counted off for).) If you are trying to get in touch with me and Lipman Hall is locked up, do not try yanking on the doors to open them. (As should be obvious to anyone with enough brains that they should be allowed into a college, this will damage the doors. I will not accept lab reports from anyone who has done this, much less give them other help, and may well call the cops to have them arrested for vandalism.)

Office Hours: I will not be available on Mondays or Wednesdays unless I specifically tell you otherwise, since I have both a graduate course over on Busch and Biochemistry 403-404 (or, actually, the graduate-level version of the course); I _may_ be contactable after the latter lectures if you're also in that course. (I say "may" because by that point I may be feeling like simply going home (or to the computer lab in Lipman Hall Room 202) and taking a break...) I will try to let you know what times I will be available; the best thing to do is to simply ask whether I will be available at a given time - people who've had me before can tell you that I am willing (unless other obligations, including my own academics, conflict) to work with people at quite odd times and/or for very long hours.

Quizzes: My quizzes have as their primary purpose encouraging you to have read over the lab before you come in and making sure that you know, in particular, safety-related information. I do not expect you to have memorized all of it; my own memory isn't that good, and I will generally consult the lab manual before answering questions - but I will have read over the lab. I expect you to know in general terms what we are supposed to be doing that day and about any safety precautions that you need to take, particularly those which can affect other people. I may - I generally don't unless I get inspired or feel that you aren't reading over things - give you a take-home, open-library quiz (or at least a question or two, if not a full quiz) that is for the next week's lab, again mainly to encourage you to read it over. Except for take-home quizzes and safety quizzes, given the prelabs you are being asked to do, I will not ask for any further quiz-taking.

Subjective Grade: How I do the subjective grade is to note down when you do something good, and when you do something bad. I will fix a particular starting grade, and doing something bad will decrease your subjective grade below this; doing something good will increase it above this. The starting grade and amount up/down will be determined by whatever gives a final mean of 85 and a high of 100. Examples of good and bad things:

I normally find I have more +'s than -'s by the end of a semester. This means that those who do get significant minuses (e.g., a lab group a bit back that left lots of gunk in the pig kidney centrifuge bottles...) will get a rather low subjective grade, and that those who simply don't do much either positive or negative won't get a particularly good one.

Nametags: I have problems remembering people's names (including close friends, BTW!), especially in a class of 18+ people. This sometimes causes problems with assigning subjective grades. Something I'm trying out this year is to have everyone fill out and wear a nametag. These should be left in the lab, to avoid losing them. At least for the fall semester, if you forget to wear it, that will be subjective points off; if you lose yours, that will be even more subjective points off - especially since I bought them with my own money!

Curving: I normally will try to curve to a mean of 85 and a high of 100. On lab reports and quizzes, I'll circle the final grade that you'll get for each of them. Such curving does not include extra credit points or points taken off for lateness.

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