BFRI Course Sequence

Semester BFRI Course BMED Course Credit Number of
Credit Hours
Freshman Fall Research Methods
​Independent Research I
(BMED 3121)
1
Freshman Spring Research Techniques
​Independent Research II 
(BMED 3122)
1
Sophomore Fall Research Experience I
Independent Research III
(BMED 3123)
1
Sophomore Spring Research Experience II
Independent Research VI 
(BMED 3124)
1

FRI course sequence: Fall 1 - Research Methods, Spring 1 - Research Techmiques, Fall II Research Experience 1, Spring 2- Research Experience 2. Sorted into research streams for Research Experience courses in their second year
Research Methods 

BFRI begins in first semester of your freshman year (Freshman Fall semester), where you will take a “Research Methods” course. This course consists of classroom lectures and activities geared to teach you the scientific process and the different aspects of research such as:

  • Scientific literature review
  • Formulation of a hypothesis
  • ​​Experimental design
  • Data acquisition and analysis
  • Dissemination of findings 

You will be taught through inquiry-based learning and a large component of the course is the design and execution of three inquiry-based experiments throughout the semester which are completed individually or in a group. Included in these inquiries are a written proposal, a written report and an oral presentation of your findings. During this first semester of BFRI, you will also be taught basic lab techniques and allowed to use the student laboratory for your inquiry experiments. 

Research Techniques 

During the second semester of BFRI (Freshman Spring semester), you will be enrolled in a “Research Techniques” course where you will be trained to perform laboratory techniques that you may apply in biomedical science research such as:

  • PCR and gel electrophoresis
  • Immunoblotting
  • Aseptic cell culture techniques
  • Cell cycle analysis
  • Histology
You will learn how these techniques can be applied in research to obtain answers to different questions. Besides learning the hands on techniques, in this course you will be also trained to keep a complete lab notebook and prepare written lab reports.

Research Experience I 
In the third semester of BFRI (Sophomore Fall semester), you will be divided into research streams in a “Research Experience I” course. The research streams will be overseen by a faculty member (stream faculty mentor) from the Department of Health and Biomedical Sciences or other departments and run by a BFRI instructor. The streams will be based on the research field that is connected to the faculty’s research interest and expertise.  In the stream, you will be conducting independent but parallel research projects that have the potential to lead to publishable work.

In this course, depending on your stream, you will:

  • learn the background of your research project through scientific literature review
  • be trained in the techniques required for your project
  • prepare a written and/or oral proposal for your project
  • perform the experiments required for your project
  • prepare a written and/or oral report on your findings

Depending on the stream that you are in, you may apply techniques learned in the second semester of BFRI (“Research Techniques” course) and also be trained in new techniques. You will be trained to develop problem solving and critical thinking skills as you make progress in your project which may be done individually or as a group, depending on the stream.

Research Experience II 
In the fourth semester of BFRI (Sophomore Spring semester), you will continue on in the same research stream and will be enrolled in a “Research Experience II” course. You will continue to expand on your project, applying techniques that you have already learned previously or new techniques which you will be trained in during this semester. In this course, you will be expected to have a higher degree of independence and responsibility, and thus, requiring less supervision.

Beyond BFRI…

After completing the four semesters of BFRI, based on your interest and/or recommendation of the BFRI mentors and instructors, you may apply to continue research in a faculty laboratory. You may also approach faculty to join their laboratory before completing the four BFRI courses.

Difference between the BMED course sequence for BFRI and Non-BFRI students

All BMED students are required to take BMED 3121, 3122, 3123 and 3124 for their degree. However, depending on if you are a BFRI or Non-BFRI student, you will take the 4 courses below at a certain semester during your BMED degree as shown in the table below.  

BMED Course BFRI Students Non-BFRI Students
BMED 3121 Freshman Fall semester Sophomore Fall semester
BMED 3122 Freshman Spring semester Sophomore Spring semester
BMED 3123 Sophomore Fall semester Junior Fall semester
BMED 3124 Sophomore Spring semester Junior Spring semester

Contact BFRI
  Dr. Sue Anne Chew
   BFRI Program Contact 
  Office: BBRHB 2.112
  Phone: 956-882-6518 
  sueanne.chew@utrgv.edu