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To participate in the rapidly expanding fields of genome research and protein structure-function analysis it is necessary to have an understanding of the techniques used in these areas.
This subject provides practical training in the technologies of molecular biology, protein expression and molecular cell biology. During the course of the practical work students will learn how experiments are designed, performed and the resulting data analysed.
Areas covered include the use of recombinant DNA for the investigation of gene function, the use of bacterial expression systems for the production and characterisation of recombinant proteins; mass spectrometry to identify proteins and the maintenance and manipulation of mammalian cell cultures, including the introduction of reporter constructs.
Specific experiments will deal with DNA cloning and sequencing, enzyme mutagenesis, protein expression and enzyme assays, the identification of proteins in mammalian sera and using fluorescent microscopy to determine the subcellular localisation of proteins in mammalian cells.
Students will learn how to maintain a laboratory notebook to record their experiments. They will learn and how to write a scientific report based on their work in the laboratory and their search of relevant databases.
In addition, students will develop an appreciation for the current scientific literature and collaborate in student presentations.
The experimental work is supported by a lecture series providing an overview of technologies used in class and in research. Tutorials and workshops are provided to develop skills in relevant calculations, scientific writing and presentations and solving problems by applying knowledge from practicals and lecture material.
Intended learning outcomes
By the end of the subjects the student should be able to:
- describe the theory behind and practical considerations of experimental techniques used in biochemistry and molecular biology.
- perform a variety of techniques used in biochemistry and molecular biology.
- keep scientific records in laboratory notebooks.
- design simple experiments and solve problems dealing with scientific information.
- to use bioinformatics in the analysis of DNA and protein sequences and data derived by mass spectrometry.
- write formal scientific reports.
- search and critically evaluate scientific literature.
- present data from the scientific literature in oral and written formats.
On completion of this subject, students should have developed the following generic skills:
- Hands-on experience in a variety of techniques, generating results for analysis.
- Design and execution of simple experiments.
- Analysis of experimental data using spreadsheets and bioinformatics resources.
- The ability to keep complete and accurate records of experimental results and to use these records to prepare a scientific report.
- Evaluation and presentation of scientific literature to an audience.
- The ability to interpret scientific literature and interpret data from electronic databases.
- The capacity to integrate knowledge across disciplines.
- The ability to comprehend a question, evaluate the relevant information and communicate an answer.
Last updated: 3 November 2022