NBIK14020U Archaea Biology

Volume 2016/2017

MSc Programme in Biology
MSc Programme in Biochemistry


Lectures and seminars will include:

  • archaeal genomics
  • evolution and relationship to eukaryotes and bacteria
  • basic cellular processes which are exclusive to archaea as well as those distantly related to eukaryotic and bacterial systems
  • adaptation to habitats of high temperature, high pressure, high salt concentrations, strictly anaerobic conditions and extremes of pH
  • structural and functional biology of the unique archaeal viruses and their host regulatory systems
  • development of genetic systems for archaea
  • archaea as models for studying complex cellular systems in higher eukaryotes
  • exploiting archaea for biotechnology

Laboratory exercises will be performed mainly on Sulfolobus species which grow at 80oC and pH3:

  • culture of hyperthermophiles
  • manipulation of hyperthermophilic viruses
  • electron microscopic analysis of viruses
  • fluorescent microscope analysis of infected cells
  • pulse filed gel electrophoresis of very large replicative intermediates of viruse
Learning Outcome

Archaea constitute about 25% of the planets biomass and make major contributions to the biosphere and atmosphere. The course will cover all
aspects of archaeal biology and molecular biology and will provide a strong background in the recent rapid and exciting developments in this field as
models for studying eukaryotic biology and evolution, and the considerable potential of exploiting archaea for diverse biotechnological applications.

Students of the course will learn or strengthen the skills on

  • general laboratory manipulations
  • handling hyperthermophilic organisms and their viruses
  • working with DNA, RNA and with proteins
  • analyzing experimental data
  • article presentation

The laboratory exercise is based on ongoing research projects in Archaea Center. Therefore the students will have the opportunity to develop competencies in finding answers to a scientific problem through different approaches, in designing experiments to verify a specific hypothesis. Moreover, through article reading, presentation and discussion, the students will learn how to critically analyze scientific results.

See Absalon.

Open to biology, biochemistry, biomedicine and nanotechnology master students as well as students at the third-year bachelor level who have passed their first and second year courses.
Lectures, journal articles presentations and research based experiments.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Colloquia
  • 10
  • Exam
  • 4
  • Guidance
  • 10
  • Lectures
  • 14
  • Practical exercises
  • 60
  • Preparation
  • 98
  • Theory exercises
  • 10
  • Total
  • 206
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination, 4 hours under invigilation
Students will be evaluated in a final 4-hour written exam which will include questions on the experimental section and questions on the theoretical part of the course.

NB: If the exam is held at the ITX, the ITX will provide computers. Private computers, tablets or mobile phones CANNOT be brought along to the exam. Books and notes should be brought on paper or saved on a USB key.
Only certain aids allowed


Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship

Oral exam. 30 minutes, no preparation time and no aids allowed.

Criteria for exam assesment

A grade of 12 will require an excellent command and understanding of the experimental and theoretical aspects of the biology and molecular biology of archaea, which will be evaluated in the written exam.