MCDB 1234/3456/4567

The MCDB SkillsCenter (MCDB 1234/MCDB 3456/MCDB 4567) is dedicated to teaching fundamental laboratory skills in modern molecular biology through the "learning by doing" principle. The MCDB SkillsCenter provides opportunities for students to gain proficiency and certification in a wide variety of modern laboratory skills with the ability for students to personalize their chosen skill sets to suit their academic/research goals. This hands-on, modular certification program offers the opportunity for more experienced students to learn new laboratory skills and inexperienced students to become equipped with the skills necessary to participate in modern research via Linked Labs. The MCDB SKILLS CENTER is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion by providing greater access to real world skills in a student centric manner. The center aims to strengthen and diversify the science and technology workforce by providing a skills based pathway to research independence.

Skill modules are updated on a rolling basis in consultation with faculty and local Pharma/Biotech advisors in an effort to provide students with real world skills that can help them transition from traditional lecture and lab course environments to a more independent research environment. Completed skill modules can be used for university credit hours and credit hours are determined according to the Colorado Department of Higher Education guidelines such that 12.5 module hours equals ONE university credit hour. Students can mix and match various skills to receive one or more university credit hours and students who successfully complete a module are given a certificate recognizing their competency. In addition, students can target skills that are required to enter a Linked Lab. These labs offer students the opportunity to work on an independent research project in the Skills Center (MCDB 4567) alongside university research faculty and laboratory staff. Students that successfully complete an independent research project become eligible to enter into an Honors Thesis project with the targeted Linked Lab.


Modules are designed to be completed in a limited number of hours and can be divided into two basic skill types, wet lab skill or computer-based skill. Wet lab skills involve the use of various lab equipment within the skills center to complete. Computer-based skills can be performed either in the skills center using center computing resources or on the student’s own computer. Many modules have prerequisite modules (PRQs) that must be completed prior to performing such modules. For all wet lab modules center facilities must be booked in advance using the online booking system.


Grades are determined based upon timeliness and accuracy of module completion as determined by the module methods task (MMT). Grades are determined based on number of modules hours completed versus credit hours registered, 12.5 module hours equals 1 credit hour (80% of your grade) and the timely submission of one or more MMTs every two weeks (20% of your grade) unless reasonable accommodations are requested. The MMT required for certification can be repeated without any impact on one’s grade. Students can choose to complete modules in any order so long as they have completed all of the prerequisite modules (PRQs). Students are expected to complete modules in a timely manner to ensure that skills center resources are not overburdened at any given time and especially at the end of the semester. If a student’s completed module hours exceed the credit hours they are currently registered for, these additional module hours will rollover for credit in future semesters if desired. If a student’s completed module hours do not satisfy the credit hours they registered for, 80% of the student’s grade will be proportional to the completed modules hours and 20% based upon the timely submission of one module per credit hour every two weeks (e.g. if taking 2 credit hours then 2 modules every two weeks). Students should plan carefully to ensure they can meet their established goals in a timely manner.
If you need help with planning, please discuss with one of the Skills Center proctors.
The table below provides module timing expectations.