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Traditional undergraduate science classes often include a laboratory component aimed at enabling the students to experience the classroom topics firsthand. Typically, these experiments are chosen because they have known outcomes that will clearly demonstrate particular aspects of scientific theory. While this approach has its benefits in skill development and concept reinforcement, the lack of novelty inherent in repeating experiments that have been repeated for many years does not accurately convey the feeling of true scientific discovery to the students. In this work, we have designed and implemented a series of experiments into an undergraduate biochemistry curriculum that incorporates the opportunity for scientific discovery, while simultaneously creating an environment for learning routine laboratory techniques. Through this set of experiments, students enrolled in the course were successful in identifying and beginning to characterize an unknown bacterial gene that confers increased tolerance to triclosan on its host.


Justin J Donato, Mikhail A Klimstra, James R Byrnes, Robert J White, Thomas C Marsh. The introduction of metagenomics into an undergraduate biochemistry laboratory course yielded a predicted reductase that decreases triclosan susceptibility in Escherichia coli. DNA and cell biology. 2012 Jun;31(6):968-73

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PMID: 22339268

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