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9th June 2015 @ 02:35

Last semester at Sydney Uni, Alice Williamson created a new lab course in what's known as the "Special Studies Program" in Chemistry - high achieving undergrads who are given the freedom to try something new and challenging. Alice, working with Adam Bridgeman and Peter Rutledge in the School of Chemistry, designed a set of experiments based on where we're up to with the chemistry in OSM's Series 4 - a research project funded by the ARC and MMV.

The lab manual is openly available, and the students had to keep open lab notebooks. Here they are! I'm not sure there's ever been a lab class quite like it. Students engaged in real research, where everything is shared. We're now going to incorporate what they discovered into OSM itself.

Excitingly, I think this would scale. One can imagine lab courses based around current needs in any open source drug discovery and development project, meaning we could, with proper mentorship, bring to bear very large levels of skilled human resource to tackle actual project needs, with global coordination between cohorts. Undergrads in other countries have already contributed to OSM.

The students had to make short videos talking about any aspect of their project - they were given complete creative control. I had the pleasure of watching these during a showing in one of our lecture theatres last month - I was deeply impressed (and, occasionally, slightly disturbed). Here's the full playlist.

SSP OSM Playlist

These students have done a fantastic job, and Alice deserves enormous kudos for driving this through from scratch. Well done!

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