Fraser Lab Lab Courses

The Fraser lab is supportive of learning through research experiences, and has participated in a number of courses for first year graduate students which challenge students with real research challenges in which they conduct experiments and analyze data to answer interesting new questions.

Biophysics: Introduction to Computing for Biophysicists

The Biophysics program draws students from multiple backgrounds. This course is designed to bring all students up to a baseline level of computational fluency. We rely on the fact that students are already familiar with a common language that relates to computation: molecular biology! The course is taught in Python, and covers the basics of programming, parallelization, and data visualization.

Biophysics 204: Macromolecular Methods

Fluency in multiple biophysical methods is often critical for answering mechanistic questions. To train the next generation of biophysicists at UCSF, we have decided to alter the traditional didactic structure by creating a new 6 week “Macromolecular Methods” class that places data collection at the beginning of the course.

Inquiry Immersion - DRUG DESIGN

The goal for Inquiry Immersion and the interprofessional minicourses is to help first year students in the healthcare professions shift their conception of medicine as a series of facts to a vision of medical practice as consistent engagement with an ever-evolving and imperfect body of knowledge. Focused minicourses offer students the chance to take a deep dive into a controversy or dilemma and explore the boundaries of existing research and scholarship with expert researchers.

Why is it so hard to design new small molecule drugs: Structure-based drug design promises to revolutionize drug discovery, yet despite decades of promise, progress remains intermittent. This course will give students an appreciation for the experimental and computational advances that have led to this optimism, while also pointing out the limitations that currently prevent completely unattended design.

Personal Genome Interpretation in the post-AlphaFold world: Alphafold is one of the buzziest breakthroughs of recent years. What does it mean to predict a structure of a protein and how is that useful for: 1) designing new drugs and 2) interpreting genomes?

Peer Review in the Life Sciences

This minicourse will focus on the practice of peer review of scientific manuscripts, which is essential for what is, currently, by far the most widely accepted means of communication of scientific results: publishing papers in scientific journals. The process of peer review plays an important role in refining the body of work prior to final publication. Yet, peer review is rarely taught to students in a formal setting, and is largely dependent on individual labs and mentors, leading to variable standards of peer review. Reflecting the evolution of technology, society and scientific culture, preprints have gained popularity in the life sciences in recent years, resulting in a shift in how progress in the life sciences is communicated, and raising questions of how we, as a scientific community, may work towards optimizing the peer review process in the life sciences. This class will use preprint servers (for example, BioRxiv) as a platform for formally teaching students how to peer review manuscripts in a critical and constructive way. Students will compose reviews that will be posted (either named or anonymously through James Fraser acting as an “editor”) as comments associated with the preprint on BioRxiv.

Previously Taught:

Mechanisms of Antimicrobial Resistance

This minicourse will be a survey of recent and classic papers on antibiotic resistance with an emphasis on evolutionary biology, biochemical mechanisms, and new ideas for chemical matter. Tetrad minicourse.

iPQB Reproducibility and Rigor

Biophysics 205A: Physical Underpinnings of Biological Systems (PUBS)

The PUBS course is a hands-on, project-based course that integrates proteomics, deep mutational profiling Fowler and Fields, 2014, and computational biology.

PUBS is now run by Martin Kampmann and examines alpha synuclein!

PUBS Students in the teaching lab

Engineering Life: A Flipped Classroom with iBiology

How did life evolve? How can understand the principles of biological systems to create new proteins, new chemicals, biological structures, cells and tissues? We will cover these topics in a “flipped course” where you will hear online lectures from scientific leaders in the field, read a paper, and then discuss as a group. Tetrad minicourse.