Our journal club meets weekly to discuss and deliberate upon recent or key scientific articles in the fields of microbiology and immunology.

The goals of journal club are:

1)    discuss emerging and exciting themes in the fields of immunology and microbiology

2)    gain valuable skills in critical thinking and literature review

3)    learn about presentation and interpretation of data

4)    community building

All academic personnel are urged to attend regularly, and graduate students are required to attend for all of their graduate years.

How to select an article?

The department encourages to select papers that are of broad interest to the whole department. These can be papers that bridge the two fields of microbiology and immunology and can stimulate discussion by all, or papers that make important discoveries that serve as continuing education for all scientists interested in microbiology or immunology. 

Here are the criteria to look out for selection of article:

  • Is this paper addressing an interesting problem in the field of microbiology and immunology?
  • Do we learn mechanistic insight into how things are working?
  • Are the experimental approaches novel and interesting?

For more information regarding how to read a scientific paper more effectively please click here

Where to search for interesting papers?

You can search the Faculty of 1000 website where other scientists highlight certain papers that they think are particularly valuable. The reviews in Current Opinion in Immunology and Current Opinion of Microbiology mark certain papers as "of outstanding interest" and provide a brief explanation why this paper is important. Journals Nature Microbiology and Nature Immunology publish papers of the highest quality and significance in all areas of microbiology and immunology. The website microbiologycommunity.nature.com highlights the latest exciting research findings in the field of microbiology. Don’t shy away from picking papers in Biorxiv, MedRxiv or Research square.

All trainees should select papers for presentation in consultation with Dr. Snow (immunology) or Dr. Korotkova (microbiology). The selected papers should be provided two weeks before the presentation.

Preparing Your Discussion

While the format is informal, for an effective presentation you will need to prepare your journal club discussion ahead of time. We recommend organizing it as you would a seminar.

  1. Prepare an overview that poses the overall question/hypothesis addressed, including any germane background information.
  2. For each figure, introduce the question, if needed explain the experimental design, and review the data providing a critical analysis. 
  3. Limit your presentation to the most interesting and important figures and data in order to have enough time for discussion
  4. Summarize what was learned from the experiments. Questions to keep are mind are "does the data support the conclusions?", "did the authors include the appropriate controls?", "are there alternate interpretations?", etc.  Address the strengths and weaknesses of the article, experiment, etc.
  5. Discuss the future work directions where you outline the experiments the authors might want to do next.

Remember, that the goal is to critically analyze the current scientific literature. One of the strengths of journal clubs for trainees, and for more experienced scientists as well, is to gain experience at critically analyzing the scientific literature.