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Dr. Romero is an absolute saint. I took this class three years ago, but was recently asked about Dr. Romero as a professor; I felt the need to express just how thoroughly amazing he is.
This class was split into 2 sections. We talked about Wallerian degeneration in the first half, and about Duchenne muscular dystrophy in the second. At the beginning of each part, a researcher came in and gave an in-depth presentation on their research. The next five weeks were then spent with Dr. Romero carefully explaining every aspect of the work the researcher had presented, introducing little naive undergrads to many basics of research without us necessarily having to be in a lab. He assessed us with little assignments to test our understanding throughout; he was always available for questions, and his office hours were packed because he explained things so well.
Then we took a "midterm" (take-home essay questions), submitted it, and repeated the whole process again.
Seriously, this class changed my life. It opened my eyes to the world of research, and piqued my interest in a wide set of topics. By teaching us about research methodology, he gave those of us that were not yet in labs a leg up in joining them. And the cherry on top is that this class is the gateway to the biomedical research minor, which is an amazing program if one is interested in seriously pursuing research. The support, mentorship, and training received from the minor all began in this class.
Thank you so much, Dr. Romero!
There's no other reviews for this class yet, so I'll try to be detailed for those who are wondering.
For anyone interested in a career in research, I can't recommend this class enough. BR 5HA is structured as one of the available introductory courses for the Biomedical Research minor, so there's students from all years in the class. There is no other class at UCLA that will teach you the specifics of modern scientific techniques/procedures as in-depth as BR 5HA -- everything taught was practical and incredibly useful for anyone wanting to be involved in research.
Dr. Romero is an excellent professor and he teaches with a high degree of clarity. He breaks down seemingly complex concepts, thoroughly explains them, and doesn't assume that you have prior knowledge about the material. Even if you are still struggling with a concept, he is always available and encourages students to come see him or to make an appointment if there's something you don't quite get. He's super approachable, easygoing, and is often funny, so definitely don't be afraid to ask him anything. But if you go to office hours asking for help with specific questions from the assignments, don't expect a lot -- Dr. Romero was always pretty ambiguous because he really wants you to think about the problems yourself. He'll clarify any larger concepts you don't understand, but not a whole lot beyond that. None of the assignments were ever truly difficult, they just sometimes required a little thinking.
The lectures are based on two seminars given by researchers at UCLA, so the material taught each quarter is different. Basically, the whole class is about deconstructing the work of real, current scientists -- 5 weeks for the first seminar, 5 weeks for the second. Your grade is based on a total of 550 points from the following assignments:
Participation - 100
Initial seminar reports (2) - 100 (50 each)
Problem sets (2) - 150 (75 each)
Midterm - 100
Final - 100
Everything is take-home, so you don't need to stress about exams for this class. Initial seminar reports are assigned after each seminar and are only 3-4 questions designed to see how much you understood about the research before the lectures start. Problem sets are 4-5 longer questions based on the material Dr. Romero has covered about the research, then the midterm/final are 5-6 questions (midterm based on first seminar and final based on second seminar). Grading is extremely generous, workload is really light, and the class is a rare opportunity to hear about real research from the scientists themselves.
All in all, the class is super relaxed. Dr. Romero is an awesome guy, and you really do learn so much useful material. Also, the lectures are on BruinCast, but participation is graded, so make sure to go to class and ask questions. His lectures are designed for students to stop him and ask for clarification, but at least make sure he knows your face by the end of the quarter.
Like the previous reviewer mentioned, this class is truly a great experience to understand the techniques of research. I don't think there is any other class in UCLA that allows you to learn the material presented in this class. The class was fairly easy if you attended (or listened to) the lectures and understood the material.
One thing I hated about this class was a sense of competition (what's new?). No, but seriously, in this class almost everyone wanted to get into the minor. Some people, in specific, would often just ask questions in class just to gain attention and demonstrate their "interest" in the material. I ended up getting in, but a lot of people I knew didn't. Although Romero mentioned that those with prior experience in Research are not given priority, almost everyone I knew who was interviewed had prior research experience.
If you are taking this class just for personal interest or to gain knowledge in the field of research or even to get some units in an easy class- this class is for you. If you are taking this class for the minor, you will find yourself competing with every single person in that room. But then again, your competing with everyone else outside that classroom anyways.
Basically, taking this class helped me determine that I didn't want to pursue the biomedical research minor. I completed the problem sets while paying careful attention to my notes, even taking the extra effort to rewatch the bruincast while answering the questions, but even then they were graded harshly. His office hours were not that helpful either. Don't let the grade distribution fool you.
Dr. Romero is most likely one of my favorite professors I have had at UCLA so far. The class is extremely interesting and you learn a lot about how research is conducted along with hearing faculty give seminars on their current research they are conducting. Going to office hours is a really great tool that will help you do well in the class as Dr. Romero is more than willing to answer any questions that you have on the problem sets, midterm and final. He really cares about his students learning and understanding the material and is extremely easy to talk to.
Biomed 5HA with Romero is a great class. I thought Professor Romero did a good job leading this class.
Workload is very light. The only time I thought about this class was when an assignment was due and even then I never spent more than an hour answering a question. That said, whoever graded our problem sets/midterms graded them kind of harshly. Professor Romero was a lot more lenient.
The problem sets require some thinking but they should be easy to answer if you go back and look at his notes. Midterms are pretty much just a problem set with an extra question so they're not bad either.
If you are interested in applying to the minor or want something STEM related to boost your GPA I recommend this class.
Great professor! This class is a great way to get your foot in the door to research! It’s pretty heavy on mcdb concepts, and drills in how to approach and research topics! Grading consisted of problem sets, midterms, and final, which are all basically responses to his questions in paragraph style. My only con is that the environment seemed a bit stuffy and a gave a competitive aura? The professor himself was great and the class was really interesting though!
This class is awesome. Although this seminar had a genetic portion which confused most of us, the professor is great!
Try your best on the problem sets and good luck getting into the research at the end of it!
In my opinion, this class is a must take for people who want to major in neuroscience or people who are already a neuroscience major. This class is a new class that was started as an attempt to shed light and hope on future neuroscience majors because so many students have been intimidated by the 101 series in junior year and dropped out (according to professor Romero). Although this class does not satisfy any requirements, I feel like it really did a great job really giving you a heads up on what you are getting yourself into. Professor Romero divided it into 4 parts, general history and background (basic neurophysiology and anatomy), experimental design methods and model systems introduction(just a fancy word for animals used in labs), case studies of several research conducted at UCLA, and outline of the major and possible careers. Everything was fascinating (well, to me), the homework assignments were all very thought provocative (way more interesting than launchpad readings), and my favorite part is that professor Romero always like to talk about the dark reality in the academic field and his personal experiences. The class is small so it's easy to interact with the professor, and by then end, you'll know what it takes to graduate, and many many additional resources are provided, such as book recs and even minor recs. The only downside I would say is that it takes up time that you may want to spend on something else, since its 4 units, but again, if you really want to know if neuroscience is for you, this is way better than asking advisors.