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LISC 390 - Integrated Life Sciences Laboratory I

 Not offered in 2023-2024
 Year 3
 10-11 hours/week
 3 units
On-Campus Course

Using a disease model, students will develop skills in scientific methodology, data acquisition, and results interpretation over multiple life science disciplines. Critical thinking, hypothesis testing, and scientific communication skills are developed through writing a manuscript-style laboratory report and participating in research presentations.


NOTE Priority will be given to students registered in a LISC Specialization Plan.

PHGY 210/6.0 OR PHGY 214/6.0 OR [PHGY 215/3.0 and PHGY 216/3.0]; PHAR 230/3.0 OR PHAR 270/3.0 OR PHAR 340/3.0 OR LISC 391/3.0

BMED 384/3.0

There is mandatory online pre-course preparatory material/module(s) available via BrightSpace (onQ) to be completed prior to each laboratory. The remainder of the course will occur on Queen’s University campus (Kingston, Ontario) in the School of Medicine teaching laboratories.

After completing LISC 390, students will be able to:

  1. Perform laboratory experiments using appropriate technique, with emphasis on efficiency and multitasking
  2. Apply qualitative and quantitative research methodologies to test hypotheses, generate data, and interpret results spanning the fields of biochemistry, anatomy, physiology, immunology, pharmacology, and microbiology.
  3. Justify and support an experimental plan by searching through and scrutinizing the available scientific literature of the topic in question.
  4. Conduct, analyze, and interpret their own research, and discuss the significance of the findings within the context of respective fields.
  5. Navigate human anatomical specimens, identifying different tissues, organs and systems, while discussing links between their structure and function.

Assessment 1 – Laboratory Readiness Assessments (10%)

Prior to starting the day’s experiments, students will have to proceed through online (onQ) modules, followed by a Readiness Assessment Test (RAT) to ensure that they are prepared for the upcoming laboratory. Students will also be provided a flow chart that includes all steps in the experimental protocol, which they must bring with them to the lab.

Assessment 2 – Literature Review (10%)

Students will produce a 3-4 page literature review, which they may later draw from to write the Introduction chapter of their Laboratory Report. The topic chosen will serve as a foundation for experiments conducted in the lab portion of the course. Students will be instructed to begin with a broad introduction of the topic, then focus on the disease model, thereby connecting the text to their experimental results. Students will be expected to cite peer-reviewed literature whenever appropriate. These will be individual submissions.

Assessment 3 – Sample Identification Assignments (15%)

Either during or shortly after completing a laboratory session, students will be presented with unidentified samples. Using their newly acquired knowledge of relevant experiments and data interpretation, groups must correctly identify these samples, providing enough detail to justify their answers. After assignments have been submitted, TA’s will review answers with the class to ensure students can adequately interpret their own data in their Written Laboratory Reports.

Assessment 4 – Gross Anatomy Laboratory: Bell-Ringer Test (15%)

Students will spend supervised time in the human cadaver laboratory as well as the specimen museum, where they will learn about and visualize structures within the body, their functions, and how different organ systems interact. Following laboratory periods, students will be given timed “bell-ringer style” exams, in which they will rotate through pre-assembled stations that present them with an anatomical structure. Students will be asked to identify the structure, as well as answer a related question about that structure (e.g. innervation, function).

Assessment 5 – Histopathology: Group Oral Presentation (20%)

Students will work in their groups to produce a 10-minute presentation (with up to 5 minutes of questions) on a disease with observable histopathology, chosen from a list provided. Cause of the disease may be genetic, pathogenic, drug-induced, or a combination of these. Students must give some general population statistics (incidence/prevalence/mortality) and briefly explain the causes of the disease, and symptoms both on physiology as well as at the cellular level. Students must then display histological sections of normal and diseased tissue, comparing and contrasting cellular morphology and tissue structure to point out any abnormalities. Students will present to their peers, TAs and professors, all of whom will evaluate the presenters.

Assessment 6 – Biochemistry/Microbiology/Immunology/Physiology Labs: Written Laboratory Report (30%)

In the laboratory, students will be given samples from control and experimentally treated groups. Students will perform an array of experiments on these samples to determine the effects of drug treatment on tissue physiology, microbiome, inflammation, and cytokine levels. Using their results, students will write a scientific report formatted in the style of peer-reviewed journals. This will include an abstract, background/introduction, methods, results, discussion, and a list of citations.

Both instructors and TAs will be present in all labs and/or tutorials to facilitate student learning and progression through labs. Informal group and peer discussion will also be offered throughout the course. Together with a TA and/or an instructor, students will participate in a roundtable discussion within their groups. Session leaders will assign some reading to students prior to the session, and students are also expected to contribute their own facts and opinions to the discussion.

3 hours/week in the lab. Students can expect to spend approximately 7 hours/week outside of the lab preparing for upcoming experiments or assignments and engaging in class activities.

LISC 390 pre-course and pre-laboratory modules will be posted online and select readings made available by the instructor.