Current Topics in Computational Biology, Fall 2016
Instructor: Tim Lezon (email@example.com; W956 BST; 412.383.8042)
Time: Mondays 12:30-13:25
Place: 3073 BST3 (3rd floor classroom)
The CPCB journal club serves the dual purpose of keeping our students abreast of the recent literature and honing their presentation skills.
Course Requirements and Expectations
- Each student will present one interesting, current and relevant paper from the literature.
- Students are required to read all papers. That's 2 papers per week, on average. Expect to spend a minimum of ninety minutes reading per week.
- Each week, each student must submit three questions about each article discussed. Questions are to be submitted by email to the instructor by noon (in Pittsburgh, PA) on the day of the class. Presenters do not have to submit questions about the article they present, but are still expected to submit questions about the other article presented. (The purpose of these questions is to stimulate discussion. It is a journal club, after all.)
- Grading is pass/fail. Attendance is mandatory, and students are expected to arrive on-time. All classes must be attended to pass, unless prior approval is obtained from the instructor. If you cannot attend a class, you must notify the instructor in writing ahead of time. You are still expected to read the papers and submit questions, even if you are excused from class.
- Please be aware that the presenters are your contemporaries. These are your scientific peers, and the course provides a forum for discussion among scientists. Be professional. Failure to read the paper or to pay attention to the presentation is insulting to the presenter and constitutes unprofessional behavior.
- Presentations should be 20 minutes in length and should explain the general findings of the paper at a level that is accessible to an audience of non-experts. Presenters should be prepared to answer questions pertaining to the paper that are raised by the audience. This includes understanding the supplementary information and supporting files.
- Presentations should be of professional quality and are expected to include slides. Presenters should email their slides in PDF format to the instructor by 9AM (in Pittsburgh, PA) on the day of the presentation. Slides will be uploaded to the website no later than 1 hour before the start of the class.
- The presentation order for the entire semester will be decided at the first class, and the schedule will be available on the course website. Each student should select a paper and submit it to the instructor two weeks before presenting. Pending approval by the instructor, papers will be made available on the course website one week before they are presented.
- Students are encouraged to consult with members of the faculty when preparing their presentations, and to invite faculty members to their presentations to facilitate discussion. Faculty expertise is a valuable resource: Take advantage of it.
Tips for selecting a paper
Here are some things to keep in mind when looking for a paper to present:
- Find a paper that was published in the past 24 months.
- Select an article from outside your field of concentration. This will force you to extend your knowledge base.
- Don't be fooled into thinking that a short page count means an easy paper. Many print journals have strict limits on the number of pages in the main text, forcing the bulk of the content to supporting information.
- Certain journals tend to attract high-impact publications. These include Nature, Science, PNAS and Cell. You don't have to limit yourself to these journals, but they provide a good place to start. As illustrated in this graphic, there are a lot of scientific papers out there. Avoid articles from predatory journals.
- Subscribe to journal RSS feeds or mailing lists to keep up with recent publications. Discover a few science blogs to keep in touch with developments in other disciplines.
- Get on ResearchGate to follow new publications by your favorite authors.