High School

1302 North Street
Olympia, WA 98501
Phone: (360) 596-7000
Attendance: (360) 596-7003
Fax: (360) 596-7001

Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology             2016-2017


Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology Mr. Edward Bassett                                  ebassett@osd.wednet.edu          (Preferred contact)

Credit: Science, occupational, elective

Lab and Safety protocols:  microbiology_and_biotechnology_lab_safety_contract.doc

Prerequisite: Successful completion of two semesters of Biology.

Objectives: The objectives for this class are to train students in the basic laboratory procedures for;

FALL SEMESTER - The microbiology curriculum will deal with the very common bacteria that can be cultured, allowing for qualitative and quantitative analysis of these bacteria.  Volumes of theoretical understanding of the microbial world exist, and these topics will be covered.  However, the overwhelming majority of microbes cannot be grown in culture, and some cultivation of microbes involves elaborate equipment that we simply do not have.  People tend to have a negative reaction to bacteria, but it is a fact that without them, plants and animals could not exist.  A very small fraction of bacteria cause diseases of plants, animals, and of course, humans.  Thus there is a clinical focus (for example, antibiotics and resistant bacteria), but we will also consider the ecological roles and industrial uses of common bacteria.  You will become very adept at cultivation of bacterial strains, staining and high-power microscopy, and phenotypic tests used to characterize and identify bacteria.  You will prepare a variety of different agar-based media, many of which are selective and differential.  You will become quite fond of bacteria.  They were the first lifeforms on the planet, and continue to keep the biosphere running.  We literally cannot live without them.

SPRING SEMESTER - Biotechnology and molecular genetics represent fields that are advancing so rapidly that many university programs are struggling to stay abreast of new technologies.  We will learn laboratory techniques for molecular biology such as restriction digests, gel electrophoresis, polymerase chain reaction, molecular cloning, and computer-based gene analysis (bioinformatics). Students will also consider the social and ethical considerations associated with advances in biotechnology.  The skill set you acquire in this part of the class will make you very competitive for the highly coveted internships in university research labs.

CTE:  This is a certified career and technical education class.  For students interesting in pursuing a career in any biology-related field, the class has an excellent record for students gaining entry-level employment, especially in university labs.  Lab directors prefer employees who are already trained, and upon completion of this course, students tend to out-compete upper classmen for paid lab positions in college.  You will be learning real world skills that are marketable, and that will enhance your college experience.

General expectations: All students are expected to come to class prepared each day. You are expected to complete individual responsibilities in timely fashion, and to help your colleagues as needed. And of course, we must all demonstrate respect towards others at all times. Exercise safe lab procedures as instructed. NO FOOD OR DRINK.

Electronic Devices:  All cell phones and music players should be put away during class.  If you must make a call, ask.  We sometimes use “smart” phones for quick access to the internet, but you must first get my approval. 

Food and Drink Policy:  WATER ONLY and even then, NO EATING OR DRINKING AT THE LAB STATIONS....EVER.  This is a microbiology lab, after all.

Safety:  You are in contact with bacteria all the time.  We will isolate some of these organisms in pure culture, and under ideal conditions such as we will provide, bacterial populations can grow a billion fold overnight.  Many organisms are capable of causing disease in such high populations, so we will treat each bacterial culture as if it were pathogenic (capable of causing disease).  You will be instructed in the safe handling of pathogenic organisms, and you will WASH YOUR HANDS THOROUGHLY, AND DISINFECT YOUR LAB STATION AT THE THE BEGINNING AND END OF EVERY LAB.  All bacterial cultures (in petri dishes) will be killed/sterilized/autoclaved before leaving the room (the petri plates, that is).  A signed safety contract will be kept on file for each student.  Safety violations will adversely affect your grade.

Structure: Students work together in small groups to successfully perform and analyze laboratory experiments. Everyone will share the responsibility of managing and maintaining the lab.

Grading: Microbiology/Biotechnology is a vocational science class, and as such, you will be graded primarily on work place merits such as demonstrated skills, cooperation, participation, overall competence, attitude, initiative, and attendance. You will not have homework in this class unless you waste the time you are given to complete work. Semester grades will be a reflection of student performance in six main areas (see below).

1. Lab skills: Specific skills relevant to our lab work will be evaluated for each student. If you don’t get something perfect the first time, try it again (and again, etc…).

2. Lab Journal: All lab work should be entered into a lab notebook every day. On days when there is no lab work, your journal entry for that day should indicate the class activity.   Entries should include the date and exactly what you did.  I'll give you a few minutes at the end of class to make journal entries.  CAUTION:  A cavalier disregard for making proper journal entries is THE #1 cause of grade degradation.  I will show you what I want, but you should check with me to see if it's good enough for my standards.

3. Notes and handouts: As there is no text for this class, you must keep a notebook of class notes and handouts. This will serve as your own personal reference manual for use in lab and during tests.  Some documents will be posted on the bottom of this page for you to download.  I will indicate when new documents are posted, but you should check this site weekly to look for them.

4. Lab Management/Employment skills: Students will be evaluated on their cooperation, creativity, resourcefulness, attendance, punctuality, initiative, attitude, behavior, competence, and participation. Remember, I’m the boss!

5. Current Topics: Four article reviews are required per semester. They should cover relevant topics, and the source should be cited. A downloadable cover sheet ("ArticleReviews") can be found below.  Articles about bacteria in the fall, and biotechnology in the spring.

6. Attendance: Students bear the responsibility for making sure absences are cleared, and for making up missed work. Excessive absences (10 or more per semester) will adversely affect your grade in this class.  If you do have excessive absenteeism, you can make up missed days by doing extra work before or after school.