NBIK20000U Principal Subject in Molecular Microbiology

Volume 2024/2025

MSc Programme in Biochemistry


The course deals with molecular aspects of microbial physiology and genetics. Topics include microbial metabolism, enzymes, regulation, replication, evolution, genomics, bioinformatics, and environmental and biotechnological aspects. All microorganisms (bacteria, archaea, virus, and unicellular eukaryotes) may be included and we aim at covering research subjects of industrial, medical, and environmental importance. The purpose of the course is to be able to read, understand, peer reviewing, and discuss current research literature on molecular microbiology and to write referee reports of research papers or manuscripts. Classes are based on student presentation of papers selected by the students and the teachers. Students in the audience are expected to have read the presented papers and prepared questions before class and actively participate in the discussion during class. Mandatory assignments include preparation of referee reports of research manuscripts.

Learning Outcome

The student will have obtained knowledge of specific research areas including different experimental and theoretical approaches.

Based on original research literature, the student will be able to explain, evaluate, and critically analyse the results, the methods used, and the conclusions drawn and compare with other relevant literature, including background literature.  In addition, the student will be able to write a referee report of a research paper and to discuss it with peers. 

The student can demonstrate a capacity to critically understand original scientific research papers dealing with subjects in molecular microbiology, including knowledge and understanding of the specific problem to be analysed, the experimental set-up, the methods employed, the experimental results and the conclusions drawn from these, and discuss this understanding with fellow students under the guidance of the teacher.

In this phase the students shall primarily have learned to

  1. Appreciate the efforts of scientists without an a priory opinion of the scientific subject of the paper,
  2. Demonstrate the ability to ask questions of procedures and conclusions,
  3. Individually prepare referee reports of research manuscripts and review referee reports prepared by fellow students.

The student will be capable of understanding the basis for specific conclusions in a field and will therefore understand the consequences of technical or experimental future developments when they occur.

See Absalon.

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.
The teaching takes the form of student colloquia and discussions based on reading of original research articles and data. Individual assignments include preparation of referee reports of research manuscripts and review in groups of referee reports prepared by fellow students.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 48
  • Preparation
  • 348
  • Study Groups
  • 12
  • Exam
  • 4
  • Total
  • 412
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
Type of assessment
On-site written exam, 4 hours under invigilation
Type of assessment details
During the exam the students must produce a referee report of a research paper or manuscript not known to the students beforehand.

The on-site written exam is an ITX exam.
See important information about ITX-exams at Study Information, menu point: Exams -> Exam types and rules -> Written on-site exams (ITX)
Exam registration requirements

To be allowed to the final exam the student must fulfill the following requirements:

  1. Satisfactorily presented at least two seminars to fellow students during the course
  2. Actively participated with relevant questions and comments in at least 80% of the sessions
  3. Individually prepared three referee reports and participated in peer reviewing of referee reports
Only certain aids allowed
  • Non-ITX exam: A private PC (offline)
  • ITX exam: No aids allowed. Only the built-in calculator in Windows.
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners

Same as the ordinary exam.

If the student has not fulfilled the requirements for presentation of at least two seminars, the student can present a seminar of 45 minutes in a subject decided by the teacher.

If the student has not fulfilled the requirements for active participation in at least 80% of the sessions or have not prepared the required number of referee reports and peer reviews the student must take the course again next year.

Criteria for exam assesment

See Learning Outcome