Training Freshmen in Biomedical Research Skills and Techniques
To help students prepare for research experiences and provide students from under-resourced high schools with additional foundational knowledge and skills practice, we are expanding an existing trial program, the Cross-Disciplinary Laboratory, referred to as the X-Lab. The X-Lab program has three main objectives: (1) increase persistence in STEM by helping students develop a synthetic, cross-disciplinary approach to the natural sciences that enhances their understanding of basic sciences concepts and increases their success in traditional undergraduate science courses; (2) engage students in inquiry-based experiments that model modern, authentic research; and (3) train students in the key theoretical and practical skills necessary to participate meaningfully in research as early undergraduates.
The X-Lab is a two-semester, six-credit laboratory course that integrates biology, chemistry and physics laboratory coursework, replacing the standard two-semester chemistry, physics, and biology labs (but not lectures) that are required of students in most life sciences majors. X-Lab exercises are designed to develop skills in critical thinking, formulating and testing hypotheses, quantitative and analytical reasoning, and making scientific observations, while also training students in key life sciences research techniques. Throughout the two-semester course, all X-Lab exercises and experiments reinforce these skills while merging key concepts from at least two of the traditional disciplines.
Pre-MARC students are encouraged to enroll in the X-Lab courses, which are listed as ISC2400L (X-Lab 1) and ISC2401L (X-Lab 2) in the UF course catalog under Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. More information about the X-Lab program is available at the X-Lab program home page: x-laboratory.org.