Select an original research article that was published within the last 3 years. The article should relate directly to material that we've covered in the course.

The purpose of the Written Assignment is to extend students’ knowledge beyond the material
delivered in the course. Each student must complete the assignment independently. The form of this
assignment will be to produce a short, one-page news or press release of a recently-published scientific
article. A news release is a short article that you might find in a newspaper (e.g. The Globe and Mail), or
a popular science publication, such as New Scientist. A news release quickly presents new and exciting
details from a recently-published article that is expected to have a major influence on a particular field of
study. For ideas on how to write a news release, please refer to one of these (or any) publications for
inspiration. Below I have indicated the guidelines for successfully completing this assignment.
Article Selection: Select an original research article that was published within the last 3 years. The
article should relate directly to material that we’ve covered in the course. For example, we spend quite a
lot of time studying the cytoskeleton in the course. You might choose an article that reports something
new about actin filaments, or molecular motors etc. There are many possibilities. You can choose any
aspect of the course and find a recent article related to that. The article that you choose should be
interesting to you. You must choose an original research article from a reputable scientific journal. A
research article will have a Methods section and a Results section. Do not choose a review article or
part of a book.
Scientific Journals: There are many good journals to choose from, all of which will have published good
research articles. As examples, you may find new and exciting research published in journals, such as
Cell, Neuron, Nature, Science, the Journal of Cell Biology, Development, Proceedings of the National
Academy of Sciences, the Journal of Physiology, or the Journal of Comparative Neurology. These are
only a few ideas. I also suggest using a database, such as PubMed, to search key words and begin by
screening abstracts for appropriate papers.
What You Should Write About: In your news release, you should write about the article you have
selected in an exciting way. Presumably, the published article will report something new in the field. You
may need to do a little more digging and read other articles to get a better sense of why that article was
so important. I suggest looking at articles found in the reference list of the article you have selected, or
perhaps looking at articles published earlier by one of the authors. Try to minimize use of technical
language, as news releases often do.
Format: You must prepare the assignment using the following format:
• One page maximum. Anything exceeding one page will not be marked.
• Use Times New Roman 12 pt font.
• Text should be single-spaced.
• Margins should be set to 2 cm all around the document.
• At the top of the document, include your name, student number, and a title for your news release.
• At the bottom of the page, include the full citation of the research article that you have selected,
according to the following format. You must include the digital object identifier (doi), e.g.:
Country MW, Campbell BFN, Jonz MG. (2019). Spontaneous action potentials in retinal
horizontal cells of goldfish (Carassius auratus) are dependent upon L-type Ca2+ channels and
ryanodine receptors. J Neurophysiol. 122:2284-2293. doi:10.1152/jn.00240.2019. If there are
more than 5 authors on the paper, abbreviate the list with “et al.”.
• Do not include any other references.
• Do not include any figures, graphics or illustrations.

Marking of the Assignment: The assignment will be worth 15% of your final grade. You will be
evaluated based on the following:
• Selection of an appropriate original research article that reports new findings, published within the
last 3 years, and that relates to the course material in some way (6 marks).
• Your ability to clearly describe what was reported in the research article, and how these findings
have advanced the field of research (6 marks).
• Writing style and proper format (3 marks).
Detailed rubric for grading: Below is a more detailed breakdown of what we will be looking for in your
news release.
Selection of research article (6 marks)
• Was the article published within the last 3 years?
• Is the article citation clearly indicated?
• Is there a strong and obvious link between the selected research article and the lecture material?
For example, a research article that reports something new about microscopy, cell division, or cell
signalling is on the right track, but may not be strong enough. In keeping with these examples,
look for stronger links to the lectures, such as specific types of microscopy (e.g. light, confocal,
TEM), specific examples of how cell division is controlled (e.g. proteins or pathways, survival or
growth factors), or specific cases of signalling pathways (e.g. G-protein-coupled receptors,
intracellular calcium).
Description of how the research article has advanced the field (6 marks)
• Are the main findings of the research article described clearly and succinctly? Are they accurate?
• Is it clear how these findings have advanced the field, and why the selected article is important?
Is this information accurate?
• Is the news release written in an interesting or exciting way?
Style and format (3 marks)
• Does the news release follow the specific formatting guidelines indicated above?
• Is the document free of spelling and grammatical errors?
• Is the document pleasant and easy to read?
Questions about the assignment: Please email your questions to the TA to which your assignment will
be sent for grading (See the News/Announcements section on the Brightspace page).

Leave a Reply