Bio-Expert Presentation, Report, and Participation BISC 220 – Spring 2009 Most aspects of cell biology and physiology strongly affect public health and welfare. As a student of these topics, you will often find yourself in the position of “expert.” You may encounter interesting news stories that relate to subjects you studied. Friends and relatives may ask you to comment on things they have heard or even ask you for medical advice! You will find that the popular press, websites, and advertisements frequently distort, exaggerate, or even fabricate facts that relate to public health issues. Will you be able to explain the issues and spot distortions? This assignment will give you an opportunity to do just this. Starting with an article published in the popular media, you will do an in-depth investigation of the background, validity, and significance of the statements made in the article. By means of a written report and an oral presentation, you will gain practice in communicating your results to others. The steps you should follow are described below. Choosing a Topic Each student should find a newspaper or magazine article from the popular press or an article from an equivalent site on the internet. The article must have been published within the last 12 months, must be at least 500 words in length, and it must concern a specific aspect of cell biology or physiology. Here are some examples found on the internet within a ten minute period on February 11, 2009. From www.msnbc.com: •Genes controlling brain chemicals linked to financial risk-taking behavior •Marijuana may raise risk of testicular cancer •Smell of sweat from sexually aroused men activates female brain From www.cnn.com: •Humidifiers may help fight flu •Young athletes and concussions •Eating his way to six-pack abs with 16 eggs a day From www.weeklyworldnews.com: •Alex Rodriguez admits steroid use •My boyfriend is a zombie •Mr. Peanut arrested in Salmonellaoutbreak case The point is that interesting stories that relate to course topics are easy to find. You may use any news source, from the most prestigious like the New York Timesto the more dubious like the Weekly World News. Do not hesitate to use the shoddier journals. Often, the more outlandish the claims, the more fun the analysis. Many good topics can be found in sources that push a particular health-related agenda, such as Fitness, Men’s Health, Runner’s World, Prevention, and the like. Your topic must be approved in advance by your Teaching Assistant. Bring the original article (a printout in the case of a web article) or email a pdf version of the article to your TA at least 2 weeks before your presentation. See the Timetable below for details. Finding Background ArticlesYou must find at least 3 published articles that provide useful background information about the topic of your primary article. At least one of these articles must be from the primary scientific Bio Expert Presentation 2009 v1.doc Page 1 of 6
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