MICROBIOLOGY #298 - Seminar (1 cr.; S or U)


Importance of a Seminar Program: Seminar is the one occasion in which all faculty, postdoctoral researchers, and graduate students meet weekly and discuss research findings and new developments in the disciplines of Microbiology and Immunology. It is an important component of a training program for the predoctoral and postdoctoral student and is a special opportunity for the graduate student to demonstrate his/her abilities as a teacher and biomedical scientist, to learn to present and discuss experimental data and to think on his/her feet. A good seminar program in which all researchers in the department participate can be an enjoyable activity that fosters unity and mutual respect among the participants and provides an atmosphere that promotes research and collaboration. 

Policy Statement for Graduate Students: Every graduate student in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology is required to present seminars of two types: 

A) Library Seminars: Minimum of two required for the doctoral student: In a library seminar, the student discusses the current status of an area of research and then presents the findings from one or two recent papers and demonstrates how these recent data further our understanding of the topic. The student is expected to give a lucid background of the topic, to explain the experimental approaches and research findings of the papers selected for presentation, and to evaluate whether the new data contribute to our understanding of the problem. 

Every doctoral student must present at least two library seminars, one in the Spring semester of the first year and one in the Fall semester of the second year. After the second library seminar, the faculty will decide whether the two library seminars were of a quality sufficient to excuse the student from presenting additional library seminars. Only students who present high quality seminars will be excused from the requirement of presenting additional library seminars.

The topic of the library seminars should not be directly related to the student's research in order to allow developments in other areas of microbiology, molecular biology, etc. to be brought to the attention of the faculty and students and to encourage the student to be knowledgeable in several areas of microbiology and related sciences. 

B) Research Report Seminars - One per year, starting in the second year: The student must present at least one seminar each year, starting in the Spring semester of the second year, on his/her research. The first research seminar consists of a statement of the problem, a presentation of data collected to date, and plans for future experiments. 

Additional Requirements for Seminar: The topic for presentation and the date of the seminar must be approved by the faculty member in charge of the seminar (Seminar Coordinator). To have a topic approved for a library seminar, the student must submit to the seminar coordinator the topic and references of at least two key papers that will be presented at the seminar. Students who fail to have topics approved by the deadline will be assigned topics by the Faculty Seminar Coordinator. 

Ten days prior to the seminar, the student must distribute a one page typed Abstract to all faculty, postdoctoral trainees, and graduate students. The Abstract should give the topic, date, time, faculty sponsor, and room location of the seminar, and list the key paper or papers that will be presented. The Abstract should be written in a style and manner that will create interest in the seminar and encourage people from other departments to attend.

It is the responsibility of the student to type the Abstract, to proofread the Abstract, and to arrange for copies to be made. Since copies of the Abstract will be mailed to all departments at LSUHSC-S and to other persons on the Departmental mailing list, the Abstract must be given to the office staff at least ten days in advance of the seminar.

Format of the Seminar: A library seminar should be a presentation of research data from one or several selected papers and should be presented in a critical and informative manner so that an audience of peers can appreciate the scientific value of the research. The student is expected to read a considerable body of literature in a critical manner so that he/she has a good understanding of the field, the techniques, and the experimental approaches being used to address the key questions. The seminar, however, is not a lecture or an overview. It is a highly focused presentation of the experimental data and rationale used to further our knowledge about a specific question.

Ideally, the seminar is 45 to 50 minutes in length and starts with an informative introduction of 10 to 15 minutes to present the questions being asked and to provide background information for the audience. The body of the seminar concerns data presentation and explanation of the experimental rationale and the approach being employed to answer the questions being asked. During the seminar, especially in the concluding remarks section, the student is expected to explain how the paper(s) presented fit(s) into the field of study and to discuss the perceived limitations, strong points, and inconsistencies of the papers.

The student is expected to practice his/her seminar presentation and to prepare audio-visual aids to enhance the exchange of information. Power Point slides should be prepared with care, but the student should not hesitate to use the blackboard to explain a concept or illustrate a point. The seminar should never be read to the audience. The student is encouraged to practice the seminar and to have a senior student or his/her Advisor attend a practice presentation.

It is the student's responsibility to make certain that the projector and other audio-visual equipment required for the seminar are in good working order. The student should check the equipment, make certain that the blackboard is clean and chalk is available, and assure that the room is ready for the audience.