Dr. Brown

James W. Brown

124 David Clark Labs<-Notice new office location (this is the best way to contact me)
(919) 515-8803 (calling this number is futile - use email)
(919) 749-3172 (cell/text - it'd better be urgent)

Office hours by appointment.
Go to:

Teaching Assistants


Hunter Whittington


Jace Natzke

Time & Place


1522 Thomas Hall

Section 001 : Wednesdays 1:30 - 4:15pm
Section 002 : Thursdays 1:30 - 4:15pm
Section 003 : Fridays 1:30 - 4:15pm

Course Description


This lab course is project-oriented. Students perform a series of classical enrichments and isolations, starting from environmental samples collected by the students themselves. Some of these isolations serve as the starting material for a series of modern molecular biology experiments, in which students purify DNA, amplify ribosomal DNA by PCR, and have a portion of this gene sequenced. This sequence information is the starting point for the term project, a detailed molecular phylogenetic analysis of the isolated organisms. Students will be required to provide their own transportation during non- scheduled class time for local field sample collection.

Learning Outcomes


After completing this course, students should be able to:

  1. demonstrate the laboratory skills required of a microbiologist,
  2. keep detailed and informative laboratory notes,
  3. describe and carry out enrichment cultures and pure culture isolations,
  4. research and write succinct and informative descriptions of microbial types, and
  5. perform a phylogenetic analysis of a novel isolate, describe this process in detail, and use the results of the analysis to draw appropriate conclusions and predictions about the organism under investigation.

Course Structure


After the first week of lab, students will organize and carry out their work independently based on their progress with each experiment. Midway through the semester student will begin some molecular biology on the microbes they've isolated so far, the results of which serve as the starting point for the term project.



After the first week of lab, students will schedule their work independently based on their progress with each experiment. Some experiments may be finished very quickly. Some may progress v-e-r-y   s-l-o-w-l-y . Others may fail outright & need to be restarted. As a result, there isn't really a lab schedule, just open lab times.



Jan 10/12 NO LAB  
Jan 17/19 SNOW WEEK!  
Jan 24/26 Introduction, Safety  
Jan 31/Feb 02 Inoculation Day  
Feb 07/09 Microscopy, Open Lab  
Feb 14/16 Open Lab  
Feb 21/23 Open Lab  
Feb 28/Mar 02 Open Lab  
Mar 14/16 Open Lab  
Mar 21/23 Open Lab  
Mar 28/30 Open Lab  
Apr 04/06 Open Lab  
Apr 11/13 Open Lab  
Apr 18/20 Finish up  

Prerequisites & Restrictions


Pre-requisite : MB 412 Medical Microbiology lab
Co-requisite : MB 451 Microbial Diversity

On-line Resources


The course web site is located at

This web site contains a wide variety of information that will be critical for all students throughout the semester.

The course web site contains student exam grades posted by self-assigned PIN.

This course may involve electronic sharing or posting of personally identifiable student work or other information with persons not taking or administering the course. Students will be asked to sign a consent allowing disclosure of their personally identifiable work. No student is required to sign the consent as a condition of taking the course. If a student does not want to sign the consent, he or she has the right to ask the instructor for an alternative, private means of completing the coursework.

Attendance Policy


Attendance every week is strongly encouraged (at least until you're finished with all of your experiments), but attendance will not be recorded or used in determining grades. Keep in mind, however, that your cultures won't stop & wait for some future day, and if you miss very many lab days you may not finish your experiments by the end of the semester. It may be possible to participate in another lab section if it is arranged in advance.

Academic Integrity


Academic Integrity

Students are required to comply with the university policy on academic integrity found in the Code of Student Conduct found at

Academic Honesty

See for a detailed explanation of academic honesty.

Honor Pledge

Your signature on any test or assignment indicates "I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid on this test or assignment."

Student Evaluations


Schedule: Online class evaluations will be available for students to complete during the last 2 weeks of spring term.

Students will receive an email message directing them to a website where they can login using their Unity ID and complete evaluations. All evaluations are confidential; instructors will never know how any one student responded to any question, and students will never know the ratings for any particular instructors.

Evaluation website:
Student help desk:
More information about ClassEval:

Textbooks, Expenses & Materials


Their is no textbook or lab manual for this course.

However, you need to either have access to the course web site or bring a printout of the lab experimental protocols with you to lab each week.

This course requires only the usual materials for taking notes. Routine access to a computer with a modern web browser, word processor, email, and printer is required. A digital camera would useful, but by no means essential, for documenting lab results.

There are no extra fees or expenses for this course.



This course will not require students to provide their own transportation. Non-scheduled class time for field trips or out-of- class activities is NOT required for this class.

GEP Information


This course does not fulfill a General Education Program category or co-requisite.

Safety & Risk Assumptions


Laboratory rules and precautions will be reviewed in the first lab period, each student will sign off on a copy of the Lab Safety Review Sheet, and these practices will be enforced throughout the semester.

Accommodations for Disabilities


Reasonable accommodations will be made for students with verifiable disabilities. In order to take advantage of available accommodations, student must register with the Disability Services Office ( located at 1900 Student Health Center, Campus Box 7509, 515-7653. For more information on NC State's policy on working with students with disabilities, please see the Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities Regulation at

Non–discrimination Policy


NC State University provides equality of opportunity in education and employment for all students and employees. Accordingly, NC State affirms its commitment to maintain a work environment for all employees and an academic environment for all students that is free from all forms of discrimination. Discrimination based on race, color, religion, creed, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, or sexual orientation is a violation of state and federal law and/or NC State University policy and will not be tolerated. Harassment of any person (either in the form of quid pro quo or creation of a hostile environment) based on race, color, religion, creed, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, or sexual orientation also is a violation of state and federal law and/or NC State University policy and will not be tolerated. Retaliation against any person who complains about discrimination is also prohibited. NC State's policies and regulations covering discrimination, harassment, and retaliation may be accessed at or Any person who feels that he or she has been the subject of prohibited discrimination, harassment, or retaliation should contact the Office for Equal Opportunity (OEO) at 515-3148.