20.109(F13): Biomaterial engineering report

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20.109(F13): Laboratory Fundamentals of Biological Engineering

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The culminating written assignment for Module 3 will be relatively informal. You should continue to strive for clear writing and thorough explanations, but you do not have to provide as much context as you did in previous reports. You can assume a reader highly familiar with your field of study.

Our purpose in asking you to write this mini-report is three-fold: (1) to include some accountability for understanding the M3 material; (2) to keep a concise record of results for future classes; (3) to give you one more shot at practicing your construction and communication of a scientific argument.

Collaboration and Integrity

You will complete this assignment with your partner.


This assignment is due by 5 PM on your final wet lab day, December 5th or 6th depending on lab section. Your data summary should submitted on Stellar, with filename TeamColor _LabSection_Mod3.doc (for example, Rainbow_TR_Mod3.doc), and you should also submit a hardcopy of the report (double-sided, please!) before you leave.

Content and Length Guidelines

The entire report text should be about 2 pages, or perhaps 3 pages at the most, not counting figures. The figures/captions may be submitted separately as usual.

You should introduce your investigation in 1-2 paragraphs. You can assume familiarity with phage display in general on the part of the reader, and thus immediately "zoom in" on the type of phage that you used and the question(s) you were trying to address. Do cite relevant publications. For the remainder of the paper, summarize and interpret the class-wide findings and briefly suggest future work. What we usually call Results and Discussion should be combined. The Methods section may be omitted; however, the figure captions and/or main text should include any methodological details unique to your experiment. Finally, you needn't write an abstract, but do include a concise and informative title.

We suggest that you prepare the following figures:

  • Schematic(s) depicting experimental approach
    • You may build off of the phage and solar cell figures from the wiki, but should modify them to make clear the specific efficiency-enhancing conditions compared. Be sure to show in the figure caption and/or main text that you understand each strategy.
    • This schematic will likely be referenced in your Introduction for this particular report (while in some other formats it would potentially open the Results section).
  • Phage recovery (own sample)
  • TEM image (own condition at a minimum)
    • You may include additional TEM images from other groups, or simply describe any interesting differences in text
    • Specify what method was used in each image, and please include EDX if available
  • Solar testing chart (own)
  • Solar testing table (class-wide – probably not directly from wiki/in that format)

A few guiding questions for discussion:

  • What comparative statements can you confidently make about different conditions? (How much variation is there between conditions versus between same-condition devices? Do you have enough data to make any statistical comparisons?)
  • By what mechanisms might these differences arise?
  • What technical changes would you want to make to sample preparation and/or assays that could improve data quality (troubleshooting ideas) or simply be more informative?
  • What bigger picture changes or additions would you want to make to this investigation, if you could continue it?


Content Approximate Worth (%) Criteria
Background and Approach 15
  • Is each strategy for enhancing solar cell efficiency clearly described?
  • Is it clear what specific comparisons will be made?
Results and Interpretation of Data 75
  • Is the description of results complete (including necessary methods details)?
  • Do the figures clearly convey the data?
  • Are interpretations of each piece of data reasonable?
Contextualizing Results and Suggestions for Future Work 10
  • Are minor suggestions for future experimental changes likely to address any problems encountered?
  • Are high-level suggestions for future work interesting and relevant?
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