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BPSD Seminars

Autumn Quarter

Winter Quarter

Spring Quarter

Course Information


Instructor: Ning Zheng

Credits: 1 (max 30)

UW General Catalog Course Description: Group conferences on graduate student research. Prerequisite: BPSD graduate student, or permission of instructor. Offered: AWSp.

Recommended Background: Involved in graduate research

Textbooks: None

BPSD 520 is a 1 credit class for credit/no credit. All students enrolled in the BPSD graduate program and all current trainees of the Molecular Biophysics Training Program including Hurd Fellows are required to register for BPSD 520 in Autumn, Winter, and Spring quarters. The course meets up to once a week for 50 minutes, although fewer meetings might be required in some quarters. In each meeting, two students present their original research project for 20 minutes and take questions for 5 minutes. All other students in the class provide written critiques for each speaker, to improve presentation skills.

Learning Objectives

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Discuss a wide range of biophysics research with peers
  • Give a good quality presentation of their research

Topics Covered

  • Molecular Biophysics
  • Biological Physics
  • Biological Structure
  • Biological Design

Assignments and Grading

Critiques and Presentations

Students are graded pass/fail on written critiques providing feedback to each speaker in the seminar series. In addition, based on their program requirements, some students will be required to give one of the research seminars. In this case, the presentation replaces the two critiques for that day. Presenting students should be prepared to speak for 20 minutes, allowing five minutes for questions, and an equal amount of time for the day’s other presenter to speak and answer questions.

“Tips for Talks”

From Bertil Hille From Eddy DeRobertis

In order to receive credit for a critique, students must complete and submit the critique form (available in class) by the end of the class session. To keep student feedback anonymous, we will remove the top portion of the form with the student’s name before we share the critiques with the presenter.  

Students must pass 100% of the critiques to pass the class. A student must notify and obtain permission from the course instructor in advance if he or she cannot attend a session due to health or family emergencies or work-related travels.  All students may miss one class without instructor permission in each quarter. Students who miss more than one class without instructor permission can make up each missed class by doing one of the following: 

  • Attend the BPSD or Biochemistry rotation talks during the finals week and submit critiques for four talks
  • OR attend a research seminar by an outside (non-UW) speaker and prepare a one page report, which describes the presentation, the question(s) asked by the student, and the answer(s) given by the presenter

Access and Accommodations

Your experience in this class is important to us, and if you have concerns about the accessibility of any component of the class, we encourage you to contact You may also wish to contact the Disability Resources for Students (DRS) Office, as described below.

It is the policy and practice of the University of Washington to create inclusive and accessible learning environments consistent with federal and state law. If you experience barriers based on a disability or temporary health condition, please seek a meeting with DRS to discuss and address them. If you have already established accommodations with DRS, please communicate your approved accommodations to your instructor at your earliest convenience so we can discuss your needs in this course.

Disability Resources for Students (DRS) offers resources and coordinates reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities and/or temporary health conditions. Reasonable accommodations are established through an interactive process between you, your instructor(s) and DRS. If you have not yet established services through DRS, but have a temporary health condition or permanent disability that requires accommodations (this can include but is not limited to: mental health, attention-related, learning, vision, hearing, physical or health impacts), you are welcome to contact DRS at 206-543-8924 or or