Biology 466    Unsolved Problems Fall 2010

Student Presentations

a) The Clock and Wavefront Theory: Find the original paper that proposed it;
Report on the original paper; compare it to the recent Nature paper by François & others

    1. Ruchita Pillai
    2. Ashley Trudeau
    3. Shalom Cherian

B) Atherosclerosis What accumulates (cholesterol? & what else), where does it accumulate? Why does it accumulate there, when accumulates, why there do similar accumulations occur inside smooth muscles. (the walls of arteries are mostly smooth muscle) Can excess cholesterol in your diet cause this to occur earlier?

    1. Bridget O'Brien
    2. Alicia Ramsaran
    3. Everett Fox
    4. Lauren Bolger

D) Jason Lieb's studies of chromatin structure

    1. Aarti Sarin
    2. Megan Karmalkar
    3. Justin Crowder

E) Neural projections: produced by concentration gradients of ephrin

    1. Paul Dunbar
    2. Jenny Shen
    3. Greg Veintimilla
    4. China Ohadugha

H) "Gene Therapy" for genetic diseases: Can transformation work? Might there be better ways to compensate for genetic defects.

    1. Mallorie Monleith
    2. Chwan Ko
    3. Evan Wells
    4. Maggie Burns

I) "Embryonic" stem cells: Who thinks they can really repair tissues? & Why?
Has debate over morality resulted in not enough thought about practicality?

    1. Afshin Humayun _
    2. Modhu Elun _
    3. Matt Abraham _
    4. Josef Smith
    5. Philip Ikoku

K) Magnetotaxis

    1. Natan Seidel
    2. Eric Katz
    3. Nick Wilkinson
    4. Michael Savage
    5. Michael Segal



Suggested Possible Strategies For Giving Group Reports on Unsolved Problems

One alternative strategy:
    Begin by one member of the group summarizing the problem:
      Maybe how a problem was first noticed; And/or what beliefs were previously held on the subject; Mistaken hypotheses that have been proposed
    Continue by another student reporting on currently the dominant paradigm;
      Including summaries of whatever is now believed, including evidence
    Concluded by the third student explaining why (or what aspects of) this paradigm is/are
      inadequate; if appropriate, describing evidence that seems to contradict the paradigm
      And summarizing any alternative theories that may instead be the true explanation.

    I realize that some groups have more than three members; but they could follow this basic strategy

    by having one member summarize the fundamental problem.
    Then a second member describing historical development of theories & concepts about the problem
    Then a third member describing whatever the current paradigm is
    And a fourth member arguing that this paradigm may be mistaken, & for what reasons
    With a fifth member summarizing a different paradigm, and the evidence supporting it;
    OR with the fifth member listing experiments that need to be done, for the purpose either of confirming or disproving some of the alternative theories/paradigms.

A somewhat different strategy: Stage a debate between members of the group.
    You could start with one member summarizing background information and special vocabulary
    Followed by the second and third members of the group debating between two major theories,
    Alternating from student to the other, and then back again:
    Maybe 10-12 min. intro; then 5 min favoring theory X, followed by 5 min in favor of theory Y, followed by 5 more minutes from the same person who favored X, with counterarguments; and then
    5 more minutes of counter-argument by the person who favored theory Y.
    And if there is a fourth student in this group, then that student could summarize the arguments pro and con, which is more persuasive, and to what extent either solves the problem.
    If there happens to be a fifth member of the group: list and explain experiments that could settle the issue most conclusively ("If we had a special kind of microscope that could see X, then...")

Yet another way of subdividing the presentation
    Maybe there happen to be two major theories; then two students could argue in favor of one theory,
    And the other two students could argue in favor of the other; probably best to alternate
      #1) 10 min. in favor of theory X
      #2) 10 min. in favor of theory Y
      #3) 10 min. in favor of theory X
      #4) 10 min. in favor of theory Y
    General discussion of what methods or experiments are most needed for conclusive proof.

Another way...
    Maybe there happen to be three major theories, and 3 members of the group (or 4)
    Then #1) 12 min. in favor of theory X
    #2) 12 min. in favor of theory Y
    #3) 12 min. in favor of theory Z
    #4th member of the group, if there is one, could have taken 5 minutes at the beginning to summarize the early history of the problem; and then take another 5 minutes at the end to list disagreements and suggest what experiments are most needed, that could really solve the problem.




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