October 12, 2016 – Our crowdfunding campaign has launched!!  Please visit, donate, and share!  Every little bit helps!  The more shares we can get, the more likely it is that we will be able to continue to offer this incredible opportunity to our students.


Welcome to The Python Project!

The Python Project is a three-credit research-based laboratory course (MCDB4202) designed to help upper division undergraduate students at University of Colorado at Boulder gain laboratory experience. In the class, students design experiments to examine the molecular mechanisms of organ growth in the Burmese python. To this end, students:

  • Use modern molecular biology and bioinformatic techniques to isolate RNA, synthesize cDNA, design primers, measure expression of candidate molecules of the python genome, and present data in the context of the research project,
  • Generate novel data that will contribute to an ongoing research project in a laboratory in the Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology Department at University of Colorado at Boulder.

The overriding goal of The Python Project is to provide students with sufficient training and guidance to become proficient in a number of molecular biology techniques including gel electrophoresis, isolation of RNA from tissue, cDNA synthesis, designing PCR primers from an unannotated genome, PCR, and quantitative PCR. Unlike laboratory exercises that are designed to reinforce concepts that may accompany lecture topics, there is no certainty that any one particular project will succeed, which mirrors the inherent risks of laboratory research.

The learning goal for students in the course are:

  1. To understand how the research in The Python Project contributes to the research efforts of other laboratories studying the Burmese python and human disease,
  2. To design experiments that address specific scientific questions,
  3. To obtain expertise in PCR and quantitative PCR experiments from beginning to end,
  4. To successfully present a poster describing data in a public poster session.


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