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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Biomedical Sciences : Biomedical Sciences

Undergraduate Course: Biomedical Sciences 3 (BIME09008)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Biomedical Sciences CollegeCollege of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Course typeStandard AvailabilityAvailable to all students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 9 (Year 3 Undergraduate) Credits40
Home subject areaBiomedical Sciences Other subject areaNone
Course website None Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionThe course will attempt to develop students¿ understanding of how current biomedical knowledge is generated from experiment and disseminated through the research literature, to prepare students for the transition to senior Honours. It aims to provide students with a secure grounding in the core skills of designing scientifically valid experiments, collecting, analysing and interpreting data, communicating scientific ideas and results, and in being able to critically evaluate primary research papers. It will cover a variety of experimental techniques commonly used in the biomedical sciences, so that students have an appreciation of when such techniques can be used, their strengths and weaknesses, and the type of data they produce. To illustrate some broad themes within contemporary biomedical sciences and the power of interdisciplinary approaches, the course will also cover the drug discovery and development process, the use of computational modelling approaches, the growing importance of large datasets (eg from next-generation sequencing and microarrays), and ethical issues in biomedical research.

Teaching will be through a combination of lectures, practicals (both wet and dry), and tutorials. Each practical and tutorial will be linked to associated material covered in the lecture series. Extensive use will also be made of online learning environments to provide learning resources, self-assessment exercises, and peer-feedback mechanisms (PeerWise). A variety of in-course assessments (in both semesters) will give an opportunity to students to assess their understanding of material and to receive both formative and summative feedback.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed Physiology 2 (BIME08005) AND Neuroscience with Pharmacology 2 (BIME08001) AND Microorganisms, Cells and Immunity 2 (BILG08004)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs none
Information for Visiting Students
Displayed in Visiting Students Prospectus?No
Course Delivery Information
Delivery period: 2013/14 Full Year, Available to all students (SV1) Learn enabled:  Yes Quota:  None
Web Timetable Web Timetable
Course Start Date 16/09/2013
Breakdown of Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 400 ( Lecture Hours 32, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 6, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 13, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 1, Summative Assessment Hours 4, Revision Session Hours 1, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 8, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 335 )
Additional Notes
Breakdown of Assessment Methods (Further Info) Written Exam 50 %, Coursework 50 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)Biomedical Sciences 3 Semester 1 Degree Examination2:00
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)Biomedical Sciences 3 Semester 2 Degree Examination2:00
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
Students successfully completing the course should:

1) develop an understanding of broad themes within contemporary biomedical sciences

2) acquire the ability to understand, interpret and evaluate primary biomedical research papers

3) acquire the ability to frame scientific hypotheses and to design scientifically valid experiments to test them using appropriate experimental techniques

4) gain experience in collecting sets of data, analysing them and utilising formal statistical methods to test hypotheses

5) have demonstrated technical skill in accurately writing up practical reports

6) gain competence in the accurate communication of biomedical knowledge
Assessment Information
ICA:Exams 50:50 weighting
December Exam: Paper Analysis questions & Questions on Semester 1 Material - 25% of course
May Exam: Essay question (from a choice of topics slanted towards specific Honours Programme disciplines) ¿ 25% of course

ICA elements:
Report on Practical 1 (Haemoglobin and Red Blood Cells) ¿ 12%
Report on Practical 3 (Gene Expression) ¿ 12%
Poster 1 based on Programme-specific topic ¿ 9%
Poster 2 based on Practical 5 (Simulation Models of Neuroendocrine Function) ¿ 12%
PeerWise engagement ¿ 5%
Special Arrangements
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus Lectures will be structured around several themes:

Keynote lectures: 4 lectures scheduled across the year illustrating how integrated application of the approaches covered in this course are furthering understanding of key issues in biomedical science.

Contemporary themes: 6 lectures covering the drug discovery and development process, the use of modelling approaches, the growing importance of large datasets (eg in bioinformatics), and ethical issues in biomedical research.

Obtaining data from experiments: 7 lectures on experimental design and key experimental techniques (including PCR, immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridization, transgenic animals, loss/gain of function analyses, imaging techniques, electrophysiology, and high-throughput methods of molecular analysis). Lectures will frame the techniques in the context of specific biomedical topics (eg role of genes in diseases such as cystic fibrosis, Alzheimers and stroke). The emphasis will be on a ¿problem-driven¿ rather than ¿technique-driven¿ mode of teaching.

Interpreting data (getting knowledge from it): 3 lectures on data handling, statistical analysis (use and misuse), formal hypothesis testing. Each lecture will be linked to associated learning resources, online self-assessment materials, or a practical.

Evaluation of research papers: 4 lectures focusing on the research literature, peer review, how to quickly assimilate key points of a paper, plus critical evaluation of papers ie assessing whether the various steps in the research study were both carried out in an appropriate manner and reported in a sufficiently detailed way (considering issues of experimental design, choice of experimental techniques, statistical analysis, and interpretation). These lectures prepare students for tutorial sessions where these skills will also be developed.

Scientific communication: 1 or 2 lectures on how to effectively communicate biomedical data and knowledge in a variety of formats. These prepare students for elements of ICA in semester 2 that are also linked to semester 2 tutorials.

Additional lectures will serve to introduce the concepts involved in specific practicals and to give rapid (class-wide) feedback on assignments (prior to detailed individual feedback delivered in other ways).

Practical 1 (Sem.1) ¿ (Laboratory) Haemoglobin Concentration and Red Blood Cells
Estimating haemoglobin concentration in students¿ blood, using the HemoCue automatic measuring system, and (on another blood sample) by spectrophotometry. Counting RBCs with a haemocytometer. Quantitative analysis.

Practical 2 (Sem.1) ¿ (Computer-based) Data Analysis and Statistics
Using the SPSS package to perform basic exploratory analysis of (supplied) datasets, plus performing formal statistical tests (t, 1-way ANOVA, 2-way ANOVA, correlation) of several hypotheses

Practical 3 (Sem.1) ¿ (Laboratory). Gene expression and function
Studying genes using transgenic mice. Research a mutant phenotype identified in a forward genetic screen using genetic, anatomical, and molecular methods. Hypothesis testing, quantitative analysis, and data presentation.

Practical 4 (Sem.1) ¿ (Computer-based) Gene Data-mining
Following up forward genetic screens and high throughput molecular approaches. Extracting information on a specific gene from online resources, including systematic literature searches.

Practical 5 (Sem.2) ¿ (Computer-based) Simulation Models of Neuroendocrine Function
Obtaining data from a simulation model of the pituitary, formulating and testing hypotheses.

Practical 6 (Sem.2) ¿ (Computer-based) Bioinformatics
Extracting datasets (eg on gene expression and sequence variants) from online databases and using them to test specific quantitative hypotheses, with appropriate statistical controls.

Two tutorials in semester 1 will focus on training in reading and evaluating research papers ¿ the papers used will be common to the whole class. Assessment of this learning outcome will then be tested in a December exam, based on a paper that will be provided to the class several weeks beforehand ¿ questions will address issues of experimental design, choice of techniques, hypotheses, statistical analysis.

Two tutorials in semester 2 will then cover papers/topics specific to the particular Programmes. The first of these (Tutorial 3) will lead to an assessed poster presentation, just prior to Innovative Learning Week. The exercise will centre on a topic within the Programme discipline: the tutor will select suitable papers and the student must then select one of these and produce an A3 poster which summarises the research topic, identifies the resulting research questions, and provides a plan for how these can be addressed in the next study in that particular field. Submission will be just prior to Innovative Learning Week, so the posters could then be displayed (and assessed) during ILW, and feedback provided. (Development of the skill in poster design & execution will come in the second part of Semester 2, with submission of a second poster, on the results from Practical 5 on Simulation Models of Neuroendocrine Function.)
Tutorial 4 will be an unassessed ¿journal-club¿ style session, where groups of students present on key papers in their specific Honours discipline (following a preparatory teaching session specific to each Honours Programme). This is intended to help prepare students for giving assessed oral presentations in Year 4.
Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list Not entered
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Not entered
KeywordsNeuroscience, Pharmacology, Physiology, Reproductive Biology, Medical Biology, Infectious Diseases
Course organiserDr Martin Simmen
Tel: (0131 6)51 1773
Course secretaryMs Tracy Noden
Tel: (0131 6)50 3717
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