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NPLB15008U  Thematic Course: Experimental Molecular Biology I Volume 2017/2018

Course information

Credit15 ECTS
Duration1 block
Block 1
The exercises are typically scheduled in the afternoons from 1pm to ca. 5pm and are complemented by lectures and journal clubs in the mornings (3-4 days per week).
Course capacity60
Continuing and further education
Study boardStudy Board for the Biological Area
Contracting departments
  • Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences
  • Department of Food and Resource Economics
  • Department of Veterinary Disease Biology
Course responsibles
  • Meike Burow (3-6f647742726e6770306d7730666d)
  • Yumiko Sakuragi (3-7b756342726e6770306d7730666d)
Saved on the 08-03-2017

BSc Programme in Biology-Biotechology


The course offers experimental platforms to acquire new skills with regard to methods in molecular biology and biotechnology. The choice of topics ensures that the students learn standard techniques relevant to molecular biology, bioinformatics, biochemistry and physiology. Additionally, the course comprises an introduction to basic concepts of ethics and philosophy of science.

The students will gain experiences in a wide-range of both basic and advanced experimental methods in molecular biology, e.g. extraction of DNA and RNA, PCR, RT-PCR, real-time PCR, in-situ hybridization, cloning, primer and vector design, transformation of prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms, cultivations of cell cultures, heterologous gene expression, protein purification, immuno blotting, histochemical analyses, enzyme kinetics, flow cell cytometry, bioimaging and bioinformatics. A wide-range of experimental organisms is employed including bacteria, yeast, fungi, plants and mammalian cells, with an emphasis that the methods and basic scientific principles taught have general relevance.

Learning Outcome

The course mainly aims at providing both practical experience and theoretical knowledge of basic principles and methods in experimental molecular biology research in combination with an introduction to general concepts of ethics and philosophy of science within the field.


After completing the course the students should be able to:


  • Describe basic principles and analytical methods used in molecular biology research.
  • Explain how these principles and methods can be exploited in practical experiments aimed at reaching distinct research goals.
  • Describe basic theoretical aspects of scientific research methodology.
  • Describe selected central principles of ethics philosophy of science.



  • Carry out experiments using a number of general methods in molecular biology, biochemistry and cell biology.
  • Analyse, interpret and conclude from results acquired in the laboratory.
  • Summarise and present scientific concepts and own research results to fellow scientists through written and oral communications.
  • Interpret and discuss research in the context of theoretical and ethical principles.
  • Use e.g IT tools in creative processes in the context of project management and presentation.



  • Work independently as well as together with other students to plan carry out defined experimental work.
  • Reflect upon the empiric basis of research within the field of biotechnology and understand and contribute to broader ethical and societal discussions on the use of biotechnology.

Laboratory manuals including theoretical background for each practical exercise is made available on Absalon together with the research articles discussed in the journal clubs and a compendium for ethics and biotechnology. The literature changes from year to year dependent on the chosen topics.

See examples on course literature:

Text books:

1) "The good, the right and the fair. An introduction to ethics", Mickey Gjerris et al. College publication.

2) “Philosophy of Science: A Very Short Introduction”, Samir Okasha.  Oxford University Press – Publisher.

The following book is optional:

“Principles and Techniques of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Paperback”, Keith Wilson (Editor) and John Walker (Editor).

Note that the text books can change until one week before the course starts.

Teaching and learning methods
The course comprises lab exercises with written lab reports, lectures and journal clubs. The students carry out different experiments as specified in the description of the exercises (typically in the afternoon from 1pm to ca. 5pm although this may vary). The results of the exercises are discussed in follow-up sessions. The exercises are complemented by lectures and journal clubs in the mornings (3-4 days per week) which provide the theoretical background for the experiments.
Academic qualifications
Participation in courses which provide basic knowledge in biochemistry and molecular genetics is required.
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Credit15 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination, 4 hours under invigilation
Exam topics include theories and methods taught in practical exercises, journal club articles and philosophy of science curriculum.
Exam registration requirements

5 out of 7 reports must be accepted in order to be eligible for the exam.

AidAll aids allowed

NB: If the exam is held at the ITX, the ITX will provide computers. Private computer, tablet or mobile phone CANNOT be brought along to the exam. Books and notes should be brought on paper or saved on a USB key.

Marking scale7-point grading scale
Censorship formExternal censorship

Reexamination is an oral examination, 30 min. No preparation time.

If the exam registration requirement is not met, the student has to follow the course the following year as the laboratory exercises need to be followed.

Criteria for exam assesment

In order to obtain the grade 12 the student should convincingly and accurately demonstrate the knowledge, skills and competences described under Learning Outcome.

Practical exercises130
Theory exercises6
Saved on the 08-03-2017