BIOLOGY 340 LABORATORY SCHEDULE
the RBC membrane
Labs 1 & 2 due at start of lab
Transport in the Frog Skin
Lab 3 due at start of lab
CAPs in the Frog Sciatic Nerve
Worksheet for Lab 4 due at start of lab
Questions from Lab 1 due at start of lab
Sensory Coding by APs in the Cockroach Leg
Lab 5 due at start of lab
Contraction of Frog Muscle
Lab 6 due at start of lab
Oct 11 (by 5 PM)
||1 or 2 Data Sheets from Labs 2-4 Due*
7: Microvascular Circulation in the Frog Tongue
Worksheet for Lab 7 due at start of lab
Midterm II (Happy Halloween!)
8: Control of Heartbeat in the Frog
Worksheet for Lab 8 due at start of lab
9: Blood and
Urinary Glucose in Humans
Worksheet for Lab 9 due at start of lab
Nov 15 (by 5 PM)
1 or 2 Data Sheets from
Labs 5-7 Due*
Lab 10: Human
Worksheet for Lab 10 due at
start of lab
NO LAB - THANKSGIVING BREAK
(by 5 PM)
Data Sheets from Labs 8-10 Due*
12/16 Mon 8:30 AM
Lab Final following Class Final
* You will turn in
5 Data Sheets – up to 2 sheets each from
three sets of labs (2-4, 5-7, 8-10). Lab 1 has no data
sheet. Data Sheets are due by 5:00 PM on Friday October 11,
Friday November 15, and Wednesday December 11, as indicated. There
will be a 5 point grade reduction for each sheet turned in late. No written work will be accepted after
5:00 PM on Thursday December 12.
INTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW
laboratory portion of this course is designed to complement the
lecture/discussion part of the course. It will provide you with
hands-on experience in testing some of the physiological
principles which we will be discussing in class, in vivo
(in living organisms), in vitro (in isolated, functioning
tissue), and ‘in silico’ (in computer and electronic
simulations). The study of physiology is manipulative in
nature, and there is no substitute for direct experimentation.
Contrary to what you might have heard or read, there is also no
real substitute for working with real animals.
This laboratory is not
intended to be an exhaustive practicum in physiological methods,
but rather to get you comfortable with some basic physiological
instruments applied to basic physiological questions, as well as
to introduce you to basic physiological reasoning. The
exercises are adaptations of classical physiology experiments,
which lead you through a predetermined sequence of procedures.
You will have the opportunity to practice experimental design
directly at the end of each laboratory exercise, by testing
novel questions of your own.
Completing the laboratory
portion of this course will require a good deal of work and a
good deal of time. Most of you are taking this course as
preparation for postgraduate training and a professional
career. This course will allow you to acquire a base of
knowledge and experience sufficient for you to compete
successfully with any undergraduate student in the country, if
you are willing to put in the necessary effort. Consequently,
the demands made on you in this course are designed to be in
line with the demands made upon physiology students in the best
As is the case in any
laboratory endeavor, the first key to getting the most out of
your experience is to prepare before you to come to the
lab. For each of the laboratory exercises you should read
through the laboratory guide, and through the assigned
readings. Be sure that you understand the rationale for each
experimental approach and for each sequence of experimental
steps. Look over any equations and try to understand how they
are applied and how they were derived. Complete the worksheet
to review your understanding of the lab. Set up your data
collection files and review exactly what data you will need to
collect to successfully complete the Data Sheet. Come see the
instructor with any questions. Do this before each lab
The second key to success
in the lab is meticulous record-keeping. A laboratory
notebook is not strictly required, but is strongly
recommended. The easiest way to make such a notebook is to add
your laboratory notes into the lab manual. As you perform each
experiment, keep a running record of equipment settings,
observations, procedural mistakes and apparent anomalies,
numerical results, preliminary calculations and graphs, etc.
Add these notes to the appropriate section of your notebook,
along with copies of your worksheets and data sheets. Keep your
PowerLab data on a floppy disk with your laboratory notebook.
If you want, you are free to break up this lab manual and
partition it out in your lab notebook. The important thing is
to establish a system that works for you, and then stick to it.
Your notebook will not be collected or graded, but it can
provide a simple way to keep your laboratory notes organized.
Who knows? One day you may want to teach a physiology lab and
find yourself frantically searching your notes to figure out
what size microammeter you need for the frog skin experiment.
The third key to success
is time. Three hours is actually a very short period in
which to complete a physiology exercise. Frankly, most of these
labs work better at four hours. Getting your equipment set up
and your physiological "preparation" prepared will take 1 to 1
1/2 hours, assuming that you have studied the instructions, are
reasonably dexterous, and know exactly what you are doing. You
will have to use the remaining time very efficiently in
order to finish "on time". It is not appropriate to leave
without finishing a laboratory exercise. You should, therefore,
get used to the idea that many labs will run past the designated
ending time. This will be the case in many of the upper-level
biology courses at Wesleyan, and in any graduate
laboratory course you take. Late-running labs are simply one of
the costs of being a scientist. I am prepared to stay until you
have finished the laboratory; you should be, too.
Finally, you should be
aware that this laboratory involves a good deal of animal dissection. Read through the labs and make
sure that this prospect does not unduly disturb you. If you are
think that you are going to have problems with this aspect of
the experiments, please talk to me as soon as possible.
30 points (7.5% of the
laboratory portion of the course grade) is reserved for a lab
participation score. This is a purely subjective grade given
you by the instructor. If you reliably show up for labs, work
well with your lab partners, and contribute your fair share, you
will get all 30 points. If you skip labs, don't pull your
weight, sit around and watch others work, whine a lot, and
generally let down your lab partners, you will get less
(substantially less) than the full 30 points. Physiology labs
require cooperation and this is my blunt way of making sure that
you do just that.
You will be required to
hand in a complete set of answers to the questions in the text
of the guide to Lab 1. These answers must be your own, i.e.
written in your own words and substantively different from the
answers of your classmates. This is to insure that you have
completed this instrumentation lab, and understand the PowerLab
system well enough to not be a burden on your lab partners.
This answer set will be worth 10 points (2.5 % of the
laboratory portion of the course) and is due at the start of the
laboratory discussion period on September 14.
You do not have to turn in
answers to the questions imbedded in the remaining labs, but
answering them as you go would be a really good idea. Text
questions from the remaining labs will serve as the basis for
the lab portion of the final exam.
Each of the labs 1 through
10 has a short worksheet associated with it. These worksheets
are included at the end of each laboratory guide. The answers
to the questions on each worksheet can be found in the
laboratory guide, or in the assigned readings for that lab. The
worksheets are designed to make sure that you have read and
grasped the important features of each lab, before you come to
the laboratory session. The questions range from simple to
moderately difficult, and you should be easily able to get a
nearly perfect score.
Each of the 10 worksheets
is worth up to 10 points (2.5% of the laboratory portion of the
course grade), but only the top 8 grades will be recorded.
Each worksheet is due at the start of the lab period. You
will not be allowed to start any lab without turning in the
You will turn in your
results from labs 1 through 10 in the form of Data Sheets. Each
sheet corresponds to the "meat" of a full scale lab write-up,
without any of the "trimmings". It will consist primarily of
properly labeled and annotated graphs, tables, computer
printouts, and calculation results based on the data which you
have gathered during the experiment. Specific instructions for
what to include in each data sheet are provided at the end of
each laboratory guide.
You will turn in a total
of five of these data sheets: a maximum of two data
sheets from each of three sets of labs (1-3, 4-6, 7-10).
Note that labs 0 and 8 have no data sheets associated with them. Each
of the six data sheets is worth up to 36 points (9% of the
laboratory portion of the course grade). Due dates for these
data sheets are indicated in the Laboratory Schedule at the
beginning of this manual. If a data sheet is turned in late, 5
points will be taken off for each week or fraction of a week
elapsed since the due date. No data sheet will be accepted
after Wednesday, December 6 at 5:00 PM.
A single laboratory final
exam will follow the class final exam. At least half of the lab
exam questions will be drawn from the questions included in each
laboratory guide and the questions on the worksheets. The
remainder of the lab exam questions will deal with either
experimental designs or data interpretation related to the
laboratory exercises. The laboratory exam will be worth 100
points (25% of the laboratory portion of the course grade).
The laboratory portion of
the course will count for 40% of the total course grade.
Points for the laboratory portion of the course will be assigned
Pts. lab % course %
Lab 1 Answer
10 2.5% 1%
Worksheets (8 Worksheets @ 10
points each) 80 20% 8%
Data Sheets (5 Data Sheets @ 36
points each) 180 45% 18%
Laboratory Final Examination
100 25% 10%
30 7.5% 3%
400 100% 40%
POWERLAB STATIONS AND COMPUTER ACCESS
PowerLab Stations and
This laboratory centers
physically around four computer-based electrophysiology
recording and analysis systems. Each of these consists of a PC,
a multi-channel MacLab A/D hardware box (retrofit as a PowerLab),
and PowerLab software. The computers are named Christa, Judy,
Ruth, and Sally (in honor of four women who contributed
significantly to scientific exploration). These computers are
here for your use. In general, they will be on virtually
24-hours a day. The only significant downtime will be when they
are being physically moved from room to room. Each computer has
its own color printer and is connected to the web via a wireless
You can use these computers any
time the room is free, and store your data on the hard drives,
as long as you obey the following rules:
1) Please store your files in
an orderly manner, within appropriate and well-labeled folders.
Back up your files on your own floppy or personal computer hard
drive as soon as possible after creating them. Be advised that
any files left on the computer “desktop” may be thrown away at
2) Don't change the desk-top
pattern. I like it the way it is.
3) Don’t change anything about
the system, display, or defaults.
4) Don’t download any files to
5) Don’t use the computer to
check your e-mail.
6) Don't mess with other
people's files, rename the hard drives, or change other setups.
7) Close all files and
applications when you are finished with them.
8) Report any computer
housekeeping or etiquette problems to me as soon as possible.
LABORATORY SAFETY PRECAUTIONS
Laboratory study and
investigation can be both fun and rewarding; however it can
involve a certain amount of risk due to the nature of the
equipment (e. g. glassware, hot plates, scalpels,
high voltage power supplies), specimens (e. g.
Ascaris, bacteria, mammalian blood) and/or chemicals (e.
g. formalin, hydrochloric acid, sodium hydroxide,
neurotoxins) used. In order to minimize the chances of
accidents and injury, the following general precautions must be
followed in all scientific laboratories:
1. NO SMOKING, EATING or DRINKING at any time.
2. Shoes must be worn at all times (sandals are not shoes).
3. Know the location of fire extinguishers, eye-wash stations, fire
blankets, safety showers, first aid stations, and containers for
4. In the case of defective or broken equipment:
-- Do not attempt to
unplug frayed electric cords yourself;
-- Do not attempt to
clean up any broken glassware yourself;
-- Report all
defective equipment to the instructor.
5. Be sure that electrical cords (e. g. of
microscopes and hot plates) are out of the way of traffic. Tuck
them under the desk.
6. Use hot plates with care:
-- Remove beakers
with hot plates using a suitable protective device (e.
-- Do not let
solutions on hot plates boil dry;
-- Turn off and
unplug hot plates after use.
Use all chemicals with care:
-- Read labels
carefully before you open bottle;
-- Do not return
unused reagents to the bottle;
-- Dispose of waste
in proper container;
-- Dispose of
biohazardous materials in autoclavable BIOHAZARD BAG;
-- AVOID GETTING ANY
CHEMICAL ON YOUR SKIN OR CLOTHING;
-- AVOID BREATHING
ANY CHEMICAL FUMES;
-- if chemicals get
into your eyes or on your skin, FLUSH THE AFFECTED AREAS WITH
COPIOUS AMOUNTS OF
COLD WATER IMMEDIATELY
8. Report major chemical spills to the instructor immediately.
-- Do not attempt to
clean up such spills yourself (NOTE: This includes broken
contain toxic mercury).
9. Report immediately all personal injuries to the instructor.
10. Be sure to sign the lab safety sheet and return the signed lab
copy to the lab instructor.