#BeingHuman: Breathe, Move, Love, Fight & Protect

#BeingHuman: Breathe, Move, Love, Fight & Protect
ECS 490RW ORDER Seminar
Spring 2016: T/R 1:00-2:15
Emerson 401

I. Course Description

Starting at the basic level of cells and extending to the complex level of social movements, an innate component of the human experience that unites us all is survival. This course will utilize the underlying framework of survival and components essential to the human experience to examine how humans have withstood disease, displacement, and disputes in striving to advance as a society. As an ORDER course (On Recent Discoveries by Emory Researchers), we will use numerous research techniques drawing from a variety of disciplines, including algorithms and data analysis, laboratory demonstrations, primary literature readings, discussions and debates, to explore questions of human existence and survival. A final research grant proposal will engage students in applying these diverse techniques to investigating a research question of their choice relating to the human experience at Emory. From fighting diseases to fighting for justice, equip yourself with the necessary tools for survival both at Emory and beyond, and, ultimately, for being human.

II. Instructor Contact Information

Osric Forrest (Immunology), oforres@emory.edu, Office: Emerson ground floor Atrium     

Zachary Johnson (Neuroscience), zvjohns@emory.edu, Office: Emerson ground floor Atrium                      

Marisela Martinez-Cola (Sociology), memart6@emory.edu, Office:  Tarbutton 201                   

Colleen McGary (Immunology), cmcgary@emory.edu, Office: Emerson ground floor Atrium    

Layla Pournajaf (Computer Science), layla.pournajaf@emory.edu , Office: Math and Science N414 (4th floor)                  

Office hours will be held by the instructor of the module currently being taught.  If students cannot make these hours or would like to meet outside of them, students should email the instructors.

III. Course Requirements

Grading: The following items will contribute to your final grade:

Attendance and Participation 15%
Module Assignments 50%
Final Project 35%

Grading scale:

























Attendance: Students are expected to attend every class and meeting on time. However, we do understand that there are circumstances that might prevent attendance. Students are allowed 1 excused absence during the semester. If you know you are going to miss a class in advance, it is your responsibility to contact the instructor for that class ahead of time. Students who will be missing more than their single excused absence will need to meet with the instructors to determine how makeup work will be administered. Unexcused absences will be reflected in your final grade.


Participation: Course instruction will incorporate a variety of teaching techniques- group problem solving, debates, class discussions, simulations, etc.-  all of which require the active participation of the class. The quality of these activities will heavily depend on your preparation for class (i.e. completion of at-home reading and writing assignments), as well as your engagement with the material during the class session. Therefore, the participation assessment should not be a form of stress, but an encouragement for seeking to gain the most that you can from this course. Participation will be assessed not simply by the quantity of your contributions, but also by the quality of your contributions. Participation also reflects the adherence to course policies outlined below.

Additionally, the class will participate in several out-of-class activities (field trips). These activities have been noted on the current syllabus to the best of the instructors’ knowledge, at this time. Please note that these activities are mandatory and absences must be discussed with the Teacher-Scholar prior to the field trip. Excused absences will be made up through completion of a written assignment that will be assigned by the Teacher-Scholar leading the trip.

Module Assignments: This course is divided into five modules. Each module will have individual assignments specific to its unit content. Each module will account for 10% of your final course grade and modules will carry equal weight to the final Module Assignment grade (50% of your overall grade). Module-specific assignments will be available at the start of each module on the course website, which will better outline the specific requirements per module. All assignments are mandatory. Late assignments will not be accepted and will receive a zero. All assignments should be uploaded via Blackboard by 1:00 pm the day the assignment is due.

Final Project: In order to fully engage in the core concepts of ORDER and defining the human experience, students will work in groups to identify an issue- whether local, national, or global- for which they are passionate about. Within each group, individual students will investigate this issue from their own unique perspective and develop a discipline-specific grant that they will refine throughout the semester. The final individual product is a grant rooted in the student’s academic interests, addressing their group topic. As a group, the project will culminate in a creative presentation in which students present their issue in an engaging and cohesive format, utilizing interactive approaches and not relying on powerpoint/Prezi (TED Talks are good examples). These presentations will take place during the final exam meeting time, as it is given in lieu of a final exam.  Deadlines for project components and drafts will occur throughout the semester, which will be assessed and given feedback by instructors. More details regarding both components will be provided in class.

IV. Course Policies

Class conduct: Out of the respect for your instructors and other classmates, please be on time. Failure to comply will result in points off your participation grade. If you know that you must leave a class early, make sure to inform us in advance, sit close to the door, and leave as quietly as possible.

In further treating each other with respect, we ask that all students be respectful of one another and the instructors at all times. This is particularly important during class discussions, as we will likely be hearing from a wide range of viewpoints that may different from your own. We will not tolerate disruptive behavior or discourteous speech. We ask that all students be open-minded, as true learning can only happen when we challenge our own ideas as well as those around us.

Use of electronics: All cell phones, tablets, laptops, and other electronics should be turned off before class begins unless otherwise specified by the instructors. Use of electronics for non-class related purposes is never tolerated and failure to comply will result in point deductions from course participation.

Grades: Grades will be posted on Blackboard so that you may track your progress. Should you find a grade recorded incorrectly, please bring it to the module instructor’s attention immediately. Disputes of grading on assignments, exams, etc must be discussed within one week of their return or posting. Should you find yourself having an issue with a grade, contact the person who graded the assignment.

Access and disability resources: Emory University complies with the regulations of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and offers accommodations to students with documented disabilities. Students with medical/health conditions that might impact academic success should visit Access, Disability Services and Resources (ADSR formerly the Office of Disability Services, ODS), available at (404) 727-9877 or via the web at http://www.ods.emory.edu/ , to determine eligibility for appropriate accommodations. Students who receive accommodations must present the Accommodation Letter from ADSR to the course instructors at the beginning of the semester, or when the letter is received. All information will be held in the strictest confidence.

Honor Code: Students are expected to abide by the policies of Emory College with respect to conduct and academic honesty. Anyone engaging in acts that violate these policies, such as plagiarism or cheating will be referred to the Honors Council. It is your responsibility to read and understand the Honor Code and its subcomponents (e.g. knowing what constitutes plagiarism or cheating). For more information see: http://www.college.emory.edu/current/standards/honor_code.html

V. Required Texts

There is no single textbook for this course. Assigned readings will be provided in class or accessible on the course website.

The following schedule will be updated as we progress. 





Required Readings and Resources




Introduction to #BeingHuman




Course assignments overview




How Discoveries are made: Moving from Symptoms to Molecular Mechanisms using Design Thinking

Final Project: Group assignments finalized

Assigned Reading:

The Truth Wears Off Is there something wrong with the scientific method: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2010/12/13/the-truth-wears-off

Introduction - A history of cystic fibrosis by Dr James Littlewood OBE : http://www.cfmedicine.com/history/

Assigned Video:

How simple ideas lead to scientific discoveries - Adam Savage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8UFGu2M2gM




Introduction to the Immune System

Assigned reading:

Understanding The Immune System 

Inflammation in cystic fibrosis lung disease: Pathogenesis and therapy ☆ André M. Cantina, Dominik Hartlb, Michael W. Konstanc, James F. Chmielc

How to solve the world's biggest problems, Nature.

Assigned videos:

Human Physiology: The Introduction of the Immune Response:


Human Physiology: The Innate Immune Response


What is Design Thinking?






Modelling Inflammation and Airway Diseases

Assignment #1

Assigned Reading:

Design Thinking’ for a Better’ You

Design Thinking for Social Innovation

Design Science: UCSF Project Applies Innovative Thinking to Research

Assigned Video:






Developing innovative Therapies using Design Thinking




Dissecting grant proposals: from research questions to grant formats




Human Movement Data: Predictability and Applications

Complete the following assignment before class:




Human Movement Data: Predictability and Applications

Complete the following assignment before class:

Pre-class Assignment 2


How Your Location Data Is Being Used to Predict the Events You Will Want to Attend




Human Movement Data: Privacy Concerns and Solutions  

Assignment #2

Complete the following assignment before class on Thursday:

 Pre-class Assignment 3 

Readings: (Read as much as you can)


My Experiment Opting Out of Big Data Made Me Look Like a Criminal

How Target Figured Out A Teen Girl Was Pregnant Before Her Father Did


Are privacy concerns killing the mobile location-based services market?

Privacy Is Completely And Utterly Dead, And We Killed It

Privacy is not dead

Who Killed Online Privacy? We Did.


Terms and Conditions May Apply (Intro)

Terms and Conditions May Apply (Trailer)




Privacy Concerns: A Debate

Individual Grant Deadline: Background due




Studying social bonding

Complete the following assignment before class:

Pre-class Assignment #1




Social bonding and the brain

Assigned Readings:

Optional but awesome: Your Inner Fish (Netflix)
Come prepared for a short, relatively easy quiz at the beginning of class on Tuesday designed to confirm that you completed the pre-class assigned readings.




Social bonding and the brain

Complete the following assignment before class:

Pre-class assignment #3




Misrepresentations in the media

Complete the following assignment before class:

Pre-class assignment #4




Human social behavior

Individual Grant Early Deadline: Research plan/approach due (w/revisions for Background included)

Complete the following assignment before class:

Pre-class assignment #5

Readings and more:

Oxytocin increases trust in humans



SPRING BREAK (no class)




Final Project Meeting: Meeting between mentors/mentees

Research plan/approach returned for early submissions

Individual Grant Deadline: Research plan/approach due (w/revisions for Background included)





Introduction to school integration clients

Pre-class Assignment:

Please Google the phrase "school desegregation", click on Images, and write down your observations/thoughts. Come to class prepared to discuss.

Find your assigned team of attorneys below:

The Attorney Assignments

Read more about your assigned client as we progress in this module:

Tape Lawyers: read Kuo (1998) article

Piper Lawyers: read Blalock-Moore (2012) article

Mendez Lawyers: read Valencia (2005) article

Brown Lawyers: read Tushnet (2004) article

"Crawford Extra Credit."  

1) Berger (2008) Red Racism Article

2) Rosenfelt (1973) Indian Schools Article

3) Crawford (1913) Legal Opinion

3) Crawford Extra Credit Description




Field Trip: MARBL visit - Document/archival searches in research projects

Research plan/approach returned




Document review and discussion

Readings and sources:

How to analyze an historical document - Marianopolis College


Chinese in California

Big Pine California

Images of Native Americans

Images of Mexicans

General Online Archive of California

California Digital Newspaper Collection (for Tape attorneys)




Compare and contrast cases

School Segregation After Brown




Closing Arguments and Document Review Due

In Class-Discussion: Has the Brown promise been fulfilled?

Assignments Due:

Closing Arguments and Document Review 




Virus discovery

Individual Grant Deadline: Complete draft of grant

Pre-class assignment:

Read CDC Lesson 1: Introduction to Epidemiology




Viral pathogenesis

Pre-class Assignment:

  1. Complete Zika virus investigation assignment
  2. Read the following article: Buchbinder S. 1994. AIDS “Long-term HIV-1 Infection without Immunologic Progression.”
  3. Please consider the following when reading this short article:
    1. What distinguishes the different groups of HIV-infected individuals?
    2. What measurements are collected and discussed?
    3. Historical context of this article

Other readings:

Zika epidemiology




Work on final project digital pieces as group

Grant drafts returned




Therapies and Implementation

Pre-class assignment:

  1. Watch the following video: https://youtu.be/zQGOcOUBi6s
  2. Read the following article: Silvestri G: 2008 J. Medical Primatology “AIDS Pathogenesis: A Tale of Two Monkeys”
    • While you are reading, note any terms or concepts that you are unfamiliar with. Bring those to class with you. To aid in your understanding, try to review some of the materials and notes that you have from Osric’s unit as well.




Congressional Hearing Assignment Due




Last day of class

Final Project Deadline: Individual grant proposal due



Final Exam: Group Project Presentations

8-10:30 am

Homeworks will be posted as we progress.

Date Module Instructor Assignment Deadline
1/21 Breathe Osric Assignment #1 Tuesday, January 25, 2016 in class
2/9 Move Layla Assignment #2 Tuesday, February 16 in class
3/22 Fight Marisela Document Review Assignment 

Thursday, March 31, via email by 1:00 pm

3/22 Fight Marisela Closing Arguments Assignment

Thursday, March 31, in class

4/5 Protect Colleen Protect Module Assignment 1

Thursday, April 7, Bring hard copy to class with you or email by 1 PM

4/5 Protect Colleen Congressional Hearing Assignment Tuesday, April 19 in class
ORDER Final Project
Spring 2016
Individual Writing Requirement & Group Presentation

Interwoven in the concept of being human are the issues that surround us and hinder our ability to live good and prosperous lives. These issues are both great and small. Whether on a local scale, such as in the Emory community, or on the grander scale of worldwide problems, the impact of these issues is often felt not just by an individual but by a group or society. However, in order for the issue to be discovered or a solution found, research is critical.

The first essential step of researching any issue is applying for funding that argues the significance of the issue, the purpose of the research, and how you plan to execute it. Applying for funding is a useful skill across all disciplines and will likely be a component of many of your future careers. Therefore, your final project will have two main components: (A) an individual grant proposal, and (B) a final group presentation presenting the significance of your selected issue and approach of your research plan.

You will be broken up into groups of 3-4 students each, with a Scholar-Mentor overseeing your group. As a group, your first task is to agree upon a human issue that you all are passionate about researching. While you may have different opinions of how to research that issue than your group members, you must agree on an issue. Then, you will be responsible for researching that issue from an academic lens of your choosing to help frame your grant proposal. Over the course of the semester, your group will uncover new and different perspectives about that issue, which you will then use as the catalyst for your final group presentation. Specific details for each component are further expanded below.

A. Individual Grant Proposal

For this component of the final project, you will have to submit a grant proposal to a funding agency of your choice (i.e. NIH, NSF, National Council of Arts, Emory Student Affairs, etc..). The funding agency should be selected based on the field of focus of your research (if you need help identifying this agency, ask your Scholar-Mentor).  

The structure of the grant proposal is as follows:

[Note: The questions listed below each section are simply guides for your writing.]

Section 1. Background

The purpose of the Background section is to explain the importance of the issue and describe the current status of work that has been previously done to research this issue in the field being addressed. This section must clearly state the issue being studied and the framework by which it will be studied in the proposal. Additionally, this section, after explaining the previous research which has been done regarding this issue, should explain how the proposed research will improve the knowledge and fill in a gap of knowledge.

  1. What is the issue/problem you want to explore?

  2. Significance/ Motivation

    1. Why is this issue important?

    2. Why should we care?

    3. Where is the need?

  3. Prior Research/Related work

    1. What have others said about this topic in the past?

    2. How have others studied it?

    3. What have been their findings?

  4. Research Gap

    1. Where are there holes in the prior research? What hasn’t been done?

    2. What could be improved in this area?

Section 2. Research Plan/Approach

The purpose of the Research Plan is to describe how the research will be carried out. The research design and methods should include the following:

  1. Main approach

    1. Overview of the study design

    2. Where do you want to conduct this research?

  2. Innovation/ Contribution

    1. How is your research/approach different from existing works?

  3. Methodology

    1. What are your steps to doing this research?

    2. Describe the methods you will utilize and analyses to be completed.

    3. What experiments will be conducted?

  4. Technical Requirements

    1. What equipment/data are required?

    2. How much funding is required?

  5. Expected Results

  6. Potential Difficulties/Limitations to Your Work

    1. What are some of the potential difficulties of this study?

    2. What are some alternative approaches that could be taken to circumvent research limitations?


Section 3. Project Summary

The purpose of the Project Summary is to succinctly describe every major aspect of the proposed grant application. A statement of the objectives of the research should be clearly stated and should emphasize the relevance of the research to the broader public. Use plain language that can be understood by any general audience. The Project Summary should include:

  1. Brief background of the issue/Significance of the issue

  2. Objectives of research/Expected Significance of results

  3. Unique features and innovation of the project

  4. Research Description (methodology)

  5. Expected results

  6. Broader impacts of your research

It’s best to write this section last to allow for it to reflect the entire grant application.

Section 4. Biographical Sketch/Expertise

      1. What is your expertise?

      2. How does having you on the project help? What unique perspective do you bring?

      3. How does your perspective add to the interdisciplinarity of the project?

Section 5. References

  1. Please cite using the format requested by the organizations you are applying for.


Font: Times New Roman or Arial, 12 point

Margins: 1 inch, all sides

Page limits:

  1. Background Section- 4-6 pages (double space)

  2. Research plan/Approach- 4-6 pages (double space)

  3. Project Summary- 1 page (single space)

  4. Biographical sketch/expertise- 1-2 pages (single space)

  5. References- no limit; must include at least 10 references

Important Deadlines:

Tuesday, February 16th Background Section due

Thursday, March 3rd Research Plan/Approach w/ Background Revisions due (Early Submission)

Tuesday, March 15th Research Plan/Approach w/ Background Revisions due

Tuesday, April 5th Complete Draft of Grant due

Thursday, April 21st Final Grant Proposal due

Note: You will be responsible for uploading these documents to Blackboard by 1 PM on their due dates. Late assignments will receive a penalty of 10% for each day the assignment is late.

B. Final Group Presentation

In your final presentation, you will be tasked with informing your fellow peers and Scholar-Mentors about the findings of your work regarding an issue related to the human experience. As a group, your team should prepare a creative, informative, unified presentation that incorporates perspectives from each of your individual grants, but also demonstrates the broader applications of your issue. The team must prepare a 15 minute presentation utilizing any particular format you would like (i.e. movie, musical performance, spoken word, skits, interactive panel, etc.), but it must be creative and present your findings in a novel way. You are encouraged to seek guidance from your ORDER Scholar Mentor throughout the semester.

During the presentation your group should:

  • Explain why the issue is important

  • Address the issue from interdisciplinary perspectives- must incorporate aspects from each individual group member’s grants/research

  • Suggest possible solutions

All presentations should be informative and engaging and include participation from all members of the group. No Powerpoint, Prezi or posters can be used. TED Talks provide a good example of content delivery. Group presentations will be held during the final exam period for this course: Tuesday, May 3, 8-10:30 am. Participation in the presentation is mandatory for each student and failure to be present will result in a zero for this assignment.