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

Undergraduate Course: Biomedical Sciences 3: Obtaining, Analysing and Evaluating Data (VS1) (BIME09009)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Biomedical Sciences CollegeCollege of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 9 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityPart-year visiting students only
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe 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.

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.
Course description Biomedical Sciences 3 VS1 is the semester 1 component of Biomedical Sciences 3 suitable for visiting students.

Lectures will be structured around several themes:

Keynote lectures - 2 lectures illustrating how integrated application of the approaches covered in this course are furthering understanding of key issues in biomedical science.

Obtaining data from experiments - 5 lectures on experimental design and key experimental techniques (including PCR, immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridization, transgenic animals, loss/gain of function analyses, imaging techniques, electrophysiology). 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.

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).

Practicals are a vital part of the course, giving students experience in designing experiments, collecting data and analysing it. Two lab-based practicals will run in semester 1, and two computer-based practicals. Lab practicals will have associated elements of in-course assessment.

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.

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.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2014/15, Part-year visiting students only (VV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 14, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 5, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 5, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 1, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Revision Session Hours 1, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 168 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 60 %, Coursework 40 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Feedback Not entered
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)2:00
Learning Outcomes
Students successfully completing the course should:

¿ Develop an understanding of broad themes within contemporary biomedical sciences

¿ Acquire the ability to understand, interpret and evaluate primary biomedical research papers

¿ Acquire the ability to frame scientific hypotheses and to design scientifically valid experiments to test them using appropriate experimental techniques

¿ Gain experience in collecting sets of data, analysing them and utilising formal statistical methods to test hypotheses

¿ Have demonstrated technical skill in accurately writing up practical reports

¿ Gain competence in the accurate communication of biomedical knowledge
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills 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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