Assignment 1: Compose a title and an abstract for a research article (due week #7)

You will be provided with relevant parts of a research paper (materials and methods, figures, and results) minus the title and abstract. Using your knowledge, compose an original title and a 400-500 word abstract to describe the paper. Your abstract should be concise, must summarize the major results of the research paper in a language that non-specialists can understand, and should clearly state the significance and broader impact of the findings. This title and abstract must be your original work, and should not be a copy of the published title and abstract (do not search literature databases for them). The most important component of this assignment is your critical thinking and interpretation of the conclusions that can be drawn from the data/experiments described in the paper.

Assignment 2: Oral presentation of a research article of your choice (paper selection deadline is week #10, presentation is in week #12)

By the end of this course, you should be able to freely browse the primary research literature and critically analyze experiments, results, and conclusions. To cement these skills, you will select an article related to the development of cellulosic biofuels and critically analyze the article in a 15 minute presentation to the class. The presentation must highlight the relevance of the paper to cellulosic biofuels, the rationale of the experiments and approach, the results, and the overall conclusions. It is important that your presentation should communicate your critical assessment (rather than a summary) of the data/figures, the key controls used, and the conclusions of the paper's authors. For example, you should explain why you think that the conclusions of the paper are supported by the data, or if an alternate explanation is possible.