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LISC 300 - The Process of Discovery in the Biomedical Sciences

 Fall 2023
 Year 3
 4-5 hours/week
 3 units
On-Campus Course

Teams of students will identify the critical questions that must be answered to resolve major controversies or gaps of knowledge that impede the application of fundamental principles in the Life Sciences to health care. The end product will be a scientific poster or oral presentation that is accessible to a wide audience.


NOTE: Priority is given to students registered in Level 3 of LISC Specialization or Major Plan or Level 3 of BCHM Specialization or Major Plan.

Minimum 3rd year (Level 3) standing and registration in one of (LISC Honours Plan; BCHM Honours Plan; BHSc Program; BIOL Plan; PSYC Plan).

The sheer magnitude of ‘foundational’ knowledge in a multi-disciplinary field like the biomedical sciences means that the task of transmitting this knowledge requires a significant investment of time. It is perhaps not surprising that a large fraction of the courses in the Life Sciences and Biochemistry degrees, especially in the first three years of the programs, are devoted to the delivery of foundational knowledge. The delivery of a good undergraduate degree in the biomedical sciences must i) ensure that all students have a sound grasp of the fundamental principles which form the foundation of the biomedical sciences and ii) empower students to become independent learners equipped with the skills to ask good questions, to seek, judge, and assimilate scientific knowledge, and to craft compelling oral and written arguments. Above all, students should experience the joy of discovery. Satisfying these demands, is not a trivial task. The opportunities to acquire high level skills that are described above and are essential for the process of discovery are therefore limited and fragmented. LISC 300: The Process of Discovery in the Biomedical Sciences is specifically designed to address this problem. By the end of the course, students are expected to be able to:

  • Search for, identify, and critically assess sound scientific manuscripts and sources
  • Work effectively in groups to integrate and present data from various scientific sources
  • Produce written works that synthesize information they have gathered
  • Present their findings in both lay and scientific language in either a scientific poster or oral presentation format.

A major component of LISC300 is teamwork. Thus, a significant portion of each students' final grade is shared between team- and group-mates. All groups and teams are randomly assigned.

Individual Grade:

  • Written critical reviews of scientific papers 20%
  • Oral presentation of a scientific paper 10%

Group Grades:

  • 5-min oral presentation 10%
  • Interim 3-page written report* 20%
  • Final oral or poster presentation* 40%

*Group-/Self-evaluations: As part of this course, you will evaluate the contribution of each member of your team to the final products delivered by allocating 100 points among the group. This is used as a method to reward those who go above and beyond by raising their grade on that assignment by one letter grade (ie. A to A+). Rarely, it is used to penalize those who fail to contribute to the team.

2 x 2 hour seminars per week

The grades for all courses in the Faculty of Arts and Science are:

Percentage                                                                Letter Grade 

90 - 100                                                                    A+
85 – 89.9                                                                   A
80 – 84.9                                                                   A-
77 – 79.9                                                                   B+
73 – 76.9                                                                   B
70 – 72.9                                                                   B-
67 – 69.9                                                                   C+
63 – 66.9                                                                   C
60 – 62.9                                                                   C-
57 - 59.9                                                                    D+
53 – 56.9                                                                   D
50 – 52.9                                                                   D-
0 – 49.9                                                                     F