Journal Club Course Format and Expectations
1. HHURP students must attend Topics in Contemporary Biology, PhySci M171, for all three quarters. Registration is only necessary for the Winter and Spring quarter as we only have a few classes during the Fall Quarter. PTEs will be provided to all admitted students. The sessions will be held on Fridays from 4:00-7:00 PM. Each Journal Club will have one presenter and each Research Session will have two presenters. Attendance is mandatory. You must work your classes and graduate school or MSTP interviews around this schedule. If there are unavoidable conflicts, please speak with the instructors.
2. Participation is essential. This means everyone must read the journal articles provided and be prepared to discuss them in depth. For journal clubs, a question will be assigned by the presenter to each student beforehand and the student must answer the question during the presentation. For journal clubs and research presentations, there will be group questions that allow us to go deeper into the material. However, participation is not limited to these moments and everybody is required to be an active member of the group at all times.
3. For the journal club, HHURP faculty members will help the presenter choose an appropriate paper from general journals (i.e., Science, Nature, Cell, etc.). The articles will be chosen based on the interests of the students but will be distinct from students' research projects. A link to the paper or a PDF attachment will be provided by the presenter to all participants via email. It is thus imperative that all students have an active email account and check it at least on a daily basis.
4. Each journal club presenter must choose a paper and get it approved by HHURP faculty at least two weeks before the talk. Individual question and group questions will be emailed to all participants no later than Tuesday before the presentation. All HHURP students are responsible for downloading the selected journal club articles, reading them, and bringing printed copies of the articles to class. The use of computers during class usually distracts and is not encouraged except in special cases.
5.The journal club presenter for a given week must schedule a meeting with the assigned faculty to occur no later than Monday preceding his/her seminar. The meeting is meant to help the presenter organize their talk and to clarify issues that might not be obvious. It is recommended that junior (first time) presenters meet with the faculty member two weeks prior to the seminar date to allow sufficient time for modification of the presentation as well as additional background reading. The presenter will bring to the meeting with the faculty member a list of individual and group questions for the class. These questions will be reviewed and may be revised by the faculty. The presenter must have read the paper in detail and prepared a draft of the presentation prior to meeting with HHURP faculty. That means that all figures from the paper to be presented are turned into PowerPoint (or similar) slide format and the introduction is conceptually organized. Students are encouraged to meet with faculty more than once and to engage other sources of input and knowledge, such as members of their research labs. Students are also strongly advised to practice their talk multiple times before the actual presentation.
6. You must invite your research advisor to attend both your journal club and research presentations. Members of your laboratory are also welcome. In many cases it will be useful to identify and invite an "expert faculty" as a guest. This person should be somebody working in a very similar area to be able to give context and additional insight. The presenter is encouraged to initiate the contact after discussing possibilities with the faculty.
7. You will receive a verbal evaluation from the instructor after the seminar to help you improve your presentation skills.
Journal articles, together with presentations at scientific meetings, are the principal means of scientific communication. It is essential that junior scientists, who will one day be writing papers, should first become comfortable reading the scientific literature.
Manuscripts describing research results are submitted to scientific journals for consideration. The journal editor sends the manuscript to one or more anonymous reviewers that critique the work and respond to the journal. The editor may then accept the manuscript for publication, request changes in the text or additional experiments, or reject it outright. Even work that has survived this rigorous examination and has been published in a respected journal may still contain errors or misinterpretations, however. The larger research community (including you!) will continue to examine the results, and inconsistencies or irreproducibilities are sometimes uncovered. Also, our knowledge changes and what might appear as an erroneous interpretation now was in fact quite logical at the time of writing. And while authors know their data best, sometimes a fresh mind can find a novel interpretation for presented results and/or see context that eluded the authors. Questions regarding the work, or requests for reagents described in the paper, should be addressed to the corresponding author indicated on the first page. You may wish to contact the author with relevant questions. Mention that you are an undergraduate student preparing a journal club (most authors are flattered that their paper was chosen!)