RI-INBRE Workforce Development Training (WDT) Summer 2023 Syllabus

Module Title: Basic Laboratory Research Skills

Instructor: Brett Pellock, PhD

Course Overview

This WDT Module is designed to instruct students in basic laboratory concepts and skills broadly used in research labs. Instruction will include both theoretical and practical training. The module includes a review of chemistry basics, including solubility, molarity, and making solutions. Students will receive instruction in use of common laboratory instruments, including micropipettors and spectrophotometers. Participants will learn to titer bacterial cultures and perform agarose gel  electrophoresis of DNA. Students will also receive instruction in reading scientific literature. The module will be completed over 2.5 days and participants who  complete the module will receive an RI-INBRE Certificate of completion.

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand chemistry basics and how to make molar and % solutions.
  • Understand how to perform and apply unit conversions.
  • Become proficient in using micropipettes.
  • Learn to operate a spectrophotometer and generate a standard curve.
  • Learn to work using sterile technique and titer a bacterial culture.
  • Learn how to pour a gel and perform agarose gel electrophoresis of DNA.
  • Learn how to approach reading a scientific paper.

Lab Report

Students will be expected to maintain detailed laboratory notes to include:

  • Chemistry basics and making solutions.
  • Basic lab calculations and the metric system.
  • Use of micropipettors and how to perform a dilution series.
  • Use of a spectrophotometer and generating a standard curve.
  • Pouring and running agarose gels for DNA separations.
  • Strategies for reading scientific papers.

Resources Used in this Module:

  • Slide Decks for Lectures
  • Lab Handouts
  • Various Lab Supplies and Equipment


 Day 1Day 2Day 3
9:00 AM-10:00 AMBasic Chemistry
Review (Lecture)
Measuring Bacterial Culture
Density Using a
Spectrophotometer (Lecture
and Hands-On)
Unit Conversions (Lecture
and Hands-On)
10:00 AM-11:00 AMMaking Molar and %
Solutions (Hands-on)
Sterile Technique and
Working With Bacterial
Cultures (Lecture and
Scoring Titering Plate Results
and Calculating cfu/ml
11:00 AM-12:00 PMMetric System and
Pipetting Basics
(Lecture and Hands-
Using Dilution Series to Titer
Bacterial Cultures (Lecture
and Hands-On)
Reading Scientific Literature
Basics (Discussion)
12:00 - 1:00 PMBreakBreakClosing Group Lunch
1:00 PM-2:00 PMSpectrophotometer
Basics (Lecture)
Electrophoresis Basics;
Pouring and Running an
Agarose Gel (Lecture and
2:00 PM-3:00 PMDilution Series and
Standard Curves:
Lab (Hands-On)
Electrophoresis Basics;
Pouring and Running an
Agarose Gel (Lecture and
3:00 PM-4:00 PMReview, Practice, and
Wrap-up (Discussion
and Hands-On)
Review, Practice, and Wrap-
up (Discussion and Hands-