Moderation Process and Papers


In addition to the two Moderation papers required of all Bard students (see below), Biology’s moderation process includes a third paper: an analysis of a piece of primary literature. Moderating students should select one of the articles posted below and respond, in no more than two typed pages, to the following questions:

  1. State, clearly and succinctly, the question or hypothesis being addressed by this research.
  2. Describe the general design of the study.  You should focus on the logic of the study rather than the procedural details.
  3. Characterize the strengths and weaknesses of the particular system the researchers used to address their question.
  4. Identify the key figure or table in the article, including an argument for why this is the key figure or table.

The due date for Spring 2017 moderation is Friday before Spring Break.

On this date the two college wide papers must be turned in to the registrar and all three papers (the two college wide and the primary literature analysis describe here) must be turned in to all of the members of the moderation board.   Students are expected to come to the moderation prepared to discuss the article and their written analysis of it.

The members of the board should be selected in consultation with the student’s advisor on or before the date the papers are due.


Smith, M.I., Yatsunenko, T., Manary, M.J., Trehan, I., Mkakosya, R., Cheng, J., Kau, A.L., Rich, S.S., Concannon, P., Mychaleckyj, J.C. and Liu, J. (2013). Gut microbiomes of Malawian twin pairs discordant for kwashiorkor. Science, 339(6119), 548-554.

Campbell CD, Mohajeri K, Malig M, Hormozdiari F, Nelson B, Du G, Patterson KM, Eng C, Torgerson DG, Hu D, Herman C, Chong JX, Ko A, O’Roak BJ, Krumm N, Vives L, Lee C, Roth LA, Rodriguez-Cintron W, Rodriguez-Santana J, Brigino-Buenaventura E, Davis A, Meade K, LeNoir MA, Thyne S, Jackson DJ, Gern JE, Lemanske RF Jr, Shendure J, Abney M, Burchard EG, Ober C, Eichler EE.  2014. Whole-genome sequencing of individuals from a founder population identifies candidate genes for asthma. PLoS One 9(8):e104396.

Hanski, I., L. von Hertzen, N. Fyhrquist, K. Koskinen, K. Torppa, T. Laatikainen, P. Karisola, P. Auvinen, L. Paulin, M. J. Mäkelä, E. Vartiainen, T. U. Kosunen, H. Alenius, and T. Haahtela. 2012. Environmental biodiversity, human microbiota, and allergy are interrelated. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 109:8334–8339.

Burton, N. O., Burkhart, K. B., & Kennedy, S. (2011). Nuclear RNAi maintains heritable gene silencing in Caenorhabditis elegans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(49), 19683-19688.

Lacoste, A. M., Schoppik, D., Robson, D. N., Haesemeyer, M., Portugues, R., Li, J. M., … & Schier, A. F. (2015). A convergent and essential interneuron pathway for Mauthner-cell-mediated escapes. Current Biology,25(11), 1526-1534.



College-wide Moderation Papers

Before moderation, all Bard students are also supposed to submit two “general” Moderation papers. Here is a detailed description of these two papers from the Registar’s web-site:

Academic Past

This paper should be an overview of your college education to date.  It should include:

· a discussion of your coursework to date, including how your interest in biology has evolved, particular courses taken, and so forth.  Also, a discussion of academic experiences outside of biology would be welcome
· a critical evaluation of your strengths and weaknesses as a student
· a discussion of how your objectives have evolved since coming to college

any other issues which are relevant to an understanding of your academic work

Academic Future

This paper should be a discussion of your plans for Upper College work and post-college.  We understand that the first and especially second of these may not be completely formed.  In any case, the paper should include:

· anticipated areas of study within biology and outside of the field
· your ideas about work after college, including plans for graduate or professional school, career plans, summers, intersessions, and so forth
· an indication of what you might like to study for your Senior Project

Please bear in mind that the moderation is a concentrated advising experience.  We want, therefore, to learn as much as we can about you as student from your short papers.