Dr. Aardra Kachroo

215 Plant Science Building
OFFICE HOURS: Arranged as needed.


ABT 395 is managed in Canvas.  If you are registered for this courses or have an Incomplete in the course and do not have access to the current semester's course in Canvas, please contact the Course Coordinator.  

While every effort has been made to verify the information on this page, please refer to the ABT 395 Canvas pages for all deadlines, etc. regarding these courses.


ABT 395: Independent study in biotechnology under the supervision of a faculty member. 1 to 3 credits hours/semester. Prerequisite: Agricultural and Medical Biotechnology major and consent of advisor before registration.

The course may be repeated for a maximum of 6 credits.  Students MUST complete course requirements to receive credit each time they enroll i.e, students may enroll for additional credit hours only after they have completed course requirements and received a grade that meets the program requirement.



Please note that there are 4 essential elements required to successfully complete your independent course of study:

  1. Verification of an Agricultural and Medical Biotechnology program-approved Research Project Proposal (learning contract)
  2. Completion of the approved research activites under the supervision of a faculty mentor
  3. Presentation of an Oral Report (see below) approved by the research mentor.
  4. Oral Report (see below) approved by the research mentor.  It is imperative that you discuss your report and presentation with your mentor WELL IN ADVANCE to allow them the opportunity to comment/edit/approve.  This is a course REQUIREMENT.  Non-approved presentations/resports or those provided to mentors at the last minute, will NOT be graded.



ALL currently enrolled ABT 395, or previously enrolled students who have earned an "Incomplete" as a course grade, must indicate on the Study Contract when your ABT 395 proposal was approved and by whom. If your proposal is the proposal that you completed in ABT 301, please provide the semester you took ABT 301 and the instructor's name.


  1. The informational meeting will be held at 5:00 PM on Friday, January 13, Plant Science Building Foyer (outside Cameron Williams Auditorium).  This meeting is MANDATORY and intended to answer any questions you may have.


Due in Canvas by 5:00pm, February 3.

The PHOTO RELEASE DOCUMENT will serve as guidance for ABT leadership when we consider sharing these materials.  Declining consent to the photo release will NOT be used against you in any way, rather inform us not to share your submttted product (written or visual).

VERY IMPORTANT:  Even if you have already filed a Student Information Sheet form a previous semester and the contact and project information has not changed, please submit a learning contract for Spring 2023.


This course is based on a score of 500 points.
A = 500-450 points
B= 449-400 points
C = 399-350 points
D = 349-300 points
E = 299 or less

Assignments are clearly outlined in this Canvas page.  It is your responsibility to know when assignments are due.  Late work will only be accepted with a do umented excused absence.

Assignments will be graded within the time frame provided by the instructor.  All grades and assignment feedback will be posted on Canvas unless other wise noted by the instructor.

According to Univerity Rule, excused absences include:

  1. serious illness
  2. illness or death of a family member
  3. University-related trips
  4. major religous holidays (within a two week notice)
  5. interviews for full-time job opportunities post-graduation and for graduate or professional school*
  6. other circumstances you find to be "reasonable cause for non-attendance".

Should an excused absence arise, the student is expected to contact the instructor as soon as possible.  the student's progress and success depends upon it.

Grades will be composed of the following components:
250 points (a) Faculty mentor’s evaluation of the student’s research performance in all aspects of the project, effort and engagement (50%), data production and analyses (20%), overall understanding of research topic (15%), quality of written report and presentation (15%).  The percentages are guidelines only.  Research mentors may prefer to redistribute the weightage for thsese components.  If so, mentors will be askedd to convey changes to the student.  Students are strongly encouraged to discuss expectations with their research mentor at the start of the semester. 

100 points (b) Written Report 
100 points (b) Oral Presentation
20 points (b) Learning Contract & Photo Release document

20 points (b) Personal Reflection Statement (graded for timely submission only)

10 points (b) Mandatory Class Meeting

(a) - This portion of the course will be determined after consultation of the research mentor/faculty member by the course instructor.

(b) - This portion of the course grade will be determined by the course instructor.


  1. All students must supply to Dr. Kachroo by 5:00PM, April 1, the a) title of their presentation and b) the full name, departmental affiliation, e-mail address of their mentor and c) any class conflicts with the presentation dates/time. Please make every effort to indicate class or other conflicts at the time of title submission.  If you do not have any conflicts, please indicate accordingly.  Request for last minute changes to the presentation schedule will not be accommodated except under extenuating circumstances.  
  2. The final presentation schedule will be posted on Canvas, the ABT homepage and disseminated to research mentors and the university community at large, on April 12.
  3. Final oral presentation must be shared with your mentor WELL in ADVANCE (at least 1 week before your final presentation is due in Canvas) for approval and feedback.  Last minute submissions to mentor may affect your grade.  
  4. Final oral presentation file due in Canvas by 12:00 Noon, Monday, April 17 ( NO EXCEPTIONS).
  5. Oral ABT 395/399 research presentations are scheduled on Tuesday, April 18 and Thursday, April 20.  Dr. Kachroo will try to schedule a student's seminar time to accommodate their class schedule, etc.  Students who turn in ALL the required information about their seminar (see #1 above) early, will be given preference in terms of presentation date/time. 
  6. Presentations (a PowerPoint slideshow) should be about 12 minutes in length.  A 2-3 minute question session with the audience will follow each presentation.  Although priority of questions will be given to ABT students in the audience, presenters should expect addtional questions from faculty members.  
  7. Individual student practice sessions (PowerPoint slideshow) can be arranged with Dr. Kachroo up through April 15.    


  • One copy of your written report - along with mentor approval (signature) is due in Canvas by 5:00 PM May 1
  • The ABT 395/399 written reports must be in the form of a scientific journal of your mentor's choosing
  • The ABT 395/399 written reports must be providedto your mentor WELL in ADVANCE for approval.  Last minute submissions may affect your grade.

The written report MUST contain the following sections:

  1. Cover Page - Title and list of authors and their affiliations, and signature of the sponsoring research mentor.
  2. Abstract - An abbreviated summary of the report's elements (150 words).
  3. Introduction - A brief presentation/introduction of topical concepts required by the uninformed reader to understand the background and rational for your study.
  4. Materials and Methods - A description of critical reagents, procedures, and assays used to generate experimental data.  
  5. Experimental hypothesis being tested (e.g.,"The goal of this experiment was to test the effect of X treatment on Y parameter.") or the purpose of the research (e.g., "The purpose of the experimentation was to develop an X assay to measure Y parameter.") 
  6. Results - The formal presentation and description of your experimental data.   Be sure to include a statement indicating that conductance of the experimentation complied with the specific applicable Chemical Hygiene, Radiation Safety, Institutional Biological Safety, and Institutional Animal Care and Use protocols required for you to conduct your project.  The experimental design and methods used to statistically analyze your data needs to be presented, including a description of all relevant "control" observations for your assays and the number of observations ("n") for each data group.
  7. Discussion - A written discussion of your data in terms of what your data revealed, how your data compare to what others have seen in analogous experiments in identical or comparable experimental models, and the physiological/practical relevance of your observations to a given experimental/biological model and/or field of research.
    Note:  Sometimes it is useful to combine the Results and Discussion sections into a single manuscript component (i.e., a Results and Discussion section).
  8. Conclusions - A formal statement about the conclusion(s) drawn from your data as it applies to the goal/hypothesis tested in the experiment. That is, did you accept or reject the experimental hypothesis? Was an assay successfully developed? Or, was the data inconclusive for whatever reasons?
  9. References - A listing of the sources for the citations used in your report.
  10. Overall word limit for items 3-7 is minimum 3000 words with maximum 900 words per section.  Contact Dr. Kachroo,, if you have concerns meeting the word limit. 

Personal Reflections

Due in Canvas by 5:00PM February 27.

For many students ABT 395 prepresents the pinnacle of their undergraduate research experince, and allos for an important opportunity to reflect on their journey as a scientist through the program.  Addtionally, while important for your own growth, other peers may also find inspiration from your reflection.  For this assignment, you are asked to respond to the prompt below in one of two formats (written or visual), and invited to release that profuct for the ABT program to share on our website to hopefully inspire past, current and future students.  Declining to publicly share your product will not negatively impact your grade on this assigment, so please do not feel any pressure to do so. Prompt:  Evaluate how your experience in the program has influenced your outlook on the relationship between society and biotechnology, and how your personal philosophies and values have been influenced as a consequence of the program.

Product option 1 - Video: Record a 2-3 minute video (on a webcam, smartphone, etc.).  While we do not expect professional-level videography, please ensure that the camera is not too shaky, the viewer can see your face, and the audio is clear. Also, while notes may be helpful, please try to avoid reading from a script, and focus on a genuine dialogue that will (hopefully!) inspire your peers.

Product option 2 – Written testimonial: Write a minimum 250-word essay.  This product will be assessed for content rather than grammar and diction, but please write it to the best of your ability.

Photo release document: Please complete and submit this document, which will serve as guidance for ABT leadership when we consider sharing these materials.  If you decline to consent to the photo release, doing so will not be used against you in any way, and we will know to not share your submitted product (written or visual).


All assignments due in Canvas by 5:00 PM on assigned date.

    1. 5:00 PM January 13 -  Mandatory Informational meeting in the foyer of the Plant Science Building. 
    2. 5:00 PM February 3 -  Learning Contract & Photo Release documents due 
    3. 5:00 PM February 27 - Personal Reflections (written or video format) assignment due
    4. 5:00 PM April 10 - Presentation title and other information due
    5. April 12 - Oral presentations schedule posted
    6. Noon April 17 - Final oral presentation file due in Canvas.
    7. April 18 and April 20  - Oral presentations
    8. 5:00 PM May 1 - The written report due, MUST be signed by your faculty research mentor (or have them email Dr. Kachroo the approval)