Training programs are tailored to each scholar according to individual career goals and prior experience. In addition to technical training described below, all scholars will be formally trained to 1) navigate scientific literature, 2) search for scientific literature, and 3) propose small research projects. This is done through formal instruction by the PI using cooperative and active learning strategies. Training modules include:

  • 1. Anatomy of a research paper: Identify the parts of the research paper, locate pertinent information in a research paper, construct subsequent research questions resulting from you reading.
  • 2. Find research papers: Find new papers and other sources necessary to answer research questions, find knowledge gaps.
  • 3. Experimental Design: Pose research questions from knowledge gaps, differentiate between dependent and independent variables in literature experiments, differentiate between controls and experimental samples, design your own experiments, assess experiments for safety hazards, propose mitigating controls to address safety hazards.
  • 4. Writing a research proposal: Deconvolute a broad research question into smaller research questions, conduct a literature search, formulate hypotheses, with guidance from PI and lab mentor, propose experiments to answer research question.
  • 5. Notebooking: Write methods and materials sections, write results sections, design data figures and table, write figure captions.

Training in other critical scientific skills including scientific writing and communication, preparation of poster or oral presentations, and other skills occur during a combination of group, sub-group, and individual meetings with the PI.

Technical and safety protocol training is taught by a combination of advanced undergraduate students, graduate students, or post-docs in the lab. Our research focuses on mechanisms and discovery of novel nitrogen biochemistries. Therefore, research projects in NOx Nation afford multidisciplinary training spanning enzymology, natural product biosynthesis, and microbiology. Training in these techniques will vary and will depend on the scholar’s research project. A sample of techniques and equipment available to the lab are listed below:

  • Isolation, site-directed mutagenesis, and cloning of recombinant expression plasmids
  • PCR
  • Sterile technique
  • Protein expression, purification, and characterization
  • UV-vis absorption spectrophotometry
  • Anaerobic work using Schlenk lines or a 4-port Vacuum Atmospheres Genesis glove
  • Rapid-mixing techniques using an Applied Photophysics SX-20 with fluorescence and absorption detection or a KinTek rapid-freeze quench (RFQ) with sequential-mixing function.
  • Electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy (EPR) using a Magnettech MS 5000 EPR spectrometer with liquid nitrogen and liquid helium cryostats and temperature controls.
  • Tecan Plate Reader
  • Agilent LC-TOF-MS