Congratulations to rising senior, Madison Reed '16, for her acceptance into the prestigious Research in the Biological Sciences (RIBS) program at the University of Chicago. This program has many more applicants than spaces available. It is an honor to be selected and a true testament to Madison’s dedication to excellence.
More information on the program can be found at the University of Chicago RIBS website, http://bscd.uchicago.edu/content/ribs.
Research in the Biological Sciences (RIBS) is a four-week intensive training program designed to expose students to a broad range of molecular, microbiological, and cell biological techniques currently used in research laboratories. Students are immersed in the research experience, giving them a taste of "life at the bench". Using a project-based approach, the course progresses from a survey of basic lab techniques to the application of current techniques in cell and molecular biology. Most of a typical RIBS day is spent in lab. We do not have a formal lecture schedule. Instead, lectures will be presented when needed to provide background and to introduce new concepts. Since communication skills are important in science, students will keep lab notebooks and they will make several group presentations. Notebooks are graded weekly to give the students feedback throughout the course. During the first two weeks of the course, students will learn basic lab techniques applicable in many research labs. For example, students will learn how to clone genes, PCR amplify their own DNA, and analyze DNA sequences. In addition, students will learn the basic operation of several types of microscopes, and will learn cell culture and fluorescence staining techniques. Lectures during this period will focus mostly on basic molecular biology - what is the structure of a gene, how are genes regulated, how can you study genes in the lab. We will also read original research articles, learning not just the science but also how scientists present results in written and oral formats. By the end of the second week, students will begin work on "independent" projects. During this phase of the course, students perform experiments mostly of their own design. Students generally base their projects on a suggested lists of experiments but the students are given considerable latitude and, after doing a little research the, often come up with exciting project ideas. The course ends with a research forum in which the students present the results of their projects. Successful completion of the course will give participants the experience and confidence to work in a research laboratory. On a space available basis, several students will be invited back the following year to work in the lab of a University of Chicago research scientist.