Human Biology Synthesis:  HUMBIO 192 (2-3 units per quarter for 6 units total, letter grade only)

Students enroll in HUMBIO 192 over two or three quarters: 192A (Autumn), 192W (Winter), 192S (Spring).

The synthesis is a platform that allows you to bring your personal and academic interests together into a culminating intellectual, creative project. It is an opportunity for you to explore topics within or outside of your Area of Concentration through mediums that include creative writing (non-fiction or fiction), alternative media (visual arts), and service projects. You present your work during senior year at the spring quarter Human Biology Honors & Synthesis Symposium. The synthesis is broadly defined to foster creativity and intellectual latitude in your project.

There are Synthesis specific workshops and assignments that will provide you with guidance toward completing your Synthesis project as well as a small community of students to share the experience. Synthesis projects are showcased at the HumBio Symposium. For full details, students should refer to the Capstone Handbook.

Getting Started 

1. Have an idea of a project that ties together your HumBio experience. Consider a medium for the final output of your Synthesis. 
2. Find a faculty mentor. Contact student services if you need assistance identifying someone. 
3. Apply - these are reviewed on a rolling basis with a final deadline during week two of Fall quarter, Senior year. 

Apply below:

Synthesis Application

Note: some Synthesis projects could benefit from funding to help cover expenses that might be required to create the final product. We encourage students considering Synthesis projects to learn about and apply for support from the Bingham Innovation Fund:

Bingham Innovation Fund

Synthesis Examples

Oluwaseun Adebagbo
Synthesis Project: A Conversation with Black Women in Medicine
Area of Concentration: Social and Biological Determinants of Behavior
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Paul Fisher

Proposal: As of 2015, 4.5% of physicians in the US are African American and black women make 2.5% of physicians in the country. African Americans take up 13% of the US population, needless to say there lacks diversity in the medical field. Of course the low percentage of doctors of color in the field can be discouraging to minority pre-med with big dreams of becoming physicians. I want to take a look into the life of some doctors of color. In this short film, I will be sitting down with black women to have a candid conversation about their journey to medicine and what it’s really like being a minority and a woman in a pre-dominantly white medical field. With this video, I hope to not only highlight the need for more doctors of color, but also encourage minorities of color to continue pursuing their dreams of becoming a doctor.

Katherine Klass & Alexander Ostberg
Synthesis Project: Exercise Physiology Website
- applying exercise physiology to enhance understanding of training methodology for students
Area of Concentration, respectively: Human Performance & Sports and Exercise Physiology
Faculty Mentor: Prof. Anne Friendlander

Proposal: We will create a website that will serve as an evidence-based resource for students, especially student-athletes enrolled in Exercise Physiology. We plan to consult with athletic training, sports performance, head/assistant coaches, and other staff members about training practices within different sports, and explain the physiology behind these practices (e.g. training to optimize both endurance and power, post-workout nutrition, blood-flow restriction, the brain's role in performance, etc). Ideally, this will include video interviews/modules and summaries of current literature (with the goal of updating the website as new studies are published). If possible, we would also like to interview researchers in the field to provide an alternate form of scientific communication, as the language in scientific papers can sometimes be overwhelming or verbose. Our goal is to help students understand the reasoning behind various training patterns/activities and to make it easier for them to draw connections between the material covered in class and their personal athletic pursuits. We hope that creating this resource will motivate them to apply this information to their own training, recovery, and overall well-being.

Hee Joo Ko
Synthesis Project: Literature and Medicine
- A short story textured by academic theory, medical experiences, and conversations with physicians and writers
Area of Concentration: Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Daniel Mason and Dr. Paul Fisher 

Proposal: As a writer, bookworm, aspiring physician, and Human Biology/Comparative Literature double major, I am fascinated by the intersection between literature and medicine. I am especially interested in how literature can help physicians cope with and think through the difficult, ambiguous, and uncertain aspects of their professions. After taking classes on creative writing, literary criticism, medical ethics, and narrative medicine, I want to draw together my academic experiences with the clinical experiences I gained while shadowing and volunteering with the Stanford medical community. For my synthesis project, I will interview 15 people working in the health humanities, attend events held by Medicine and the Muse (a program at the medical school that integrates the arts and humanities with medical education and practice), and observe a writing workshop through the Pegasus Physicians (a program for physicians and physicians-in-training who meet to workshop their creative writing). I will share the major themes and observations from the interviews, events, and workshop in my synthesis presentation. I will also use these experiences to texture the characters, setting, and narrative arc of my own creative writing piece, a short story about a psychiatrist who attends a writing seminar while going through a malpractice suit.

Archive of Synthesis Proposals