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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Deanery of Biomedical Sciences : Biomedical Sciences

Undergraduate Course: Biomedical Sciences 3 (BIME09008)

Course Outline
SchoolDeanery of Biomedical Sciences CollegeCollege of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 9 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits40 ECTS Credits20
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 understanding 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 approaches commonly used in the biomedical sciences, so that students have an appreciation of when such approaches can be used, their strengths and weaknesses, and the type of data they produce. Broad themes within contemporary biomedical sciences and the power of interdisciplinary approaches will be dealt with.

Teaching will be through a combination of lectures, a practical (wet lab), workshops (dry lab), and tutorials. Each practical and tutorial will be linked to associated material covered in the lecture series. Extensive use will be made of online learning environments and peer-feedback. 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 Lectures

In broad terms, the first semester focuses on how researchers obtain, analyse and evaluate data in the field of biomedical sciences, and the second semester focuses more on contemporary applications.

Understanding and evaluating research papers Two lectures in Semester 1 focusing on the research literature, peer review, and how to quickly assimilate key points of a paper, plus evaluation of papers. This topics also reinforced in tutorials.
Data analysis Nine lectures in Semester 1 on data handling, statistical analysis (use and misuse), and formal hypothesis testing. The coverage of these topics in lectures is complemented by work in the practical and workshops. Assessment of this learning outcome will be tested in ICA and the December exam.
Different ways to tackle a problem Two lectures in Semester 1 in which hypothesis free and hypotheses driven approaches to tackling biomedical research are discussed.
Contemporary themes in the biomedical sciences A series of lectures in Semester 2 covering a broad range of topics in the biomedical sciences. During these lectures the impact of technological innovations and seminal observations will be discussed. This learning outcome will be tested in the May exam.
The practical and some of the workshops are preceded by an Introductory lecture.

Practicals and Workshops

Practical 1 (Sem.1) (Wet Laboratory). Genes and Transgenic mice
Studying gene function using a transgenic mouse model. Hypothesis testing, quantitative analysis, and data presentation and interpretation linked to an ICA practical report.
Workshop 1 (Sem 1) (Dry Laboratory): Analysing data with R.
Workshop 2 (Sem 1) (Dry Laboratory): Additional data analysis skills.
Workshop 3 (Sem 2) (Dry Laboratory): Bioinformatics - Gene Data-Mining
Workshop 4 (Sem.2) ((Dry Laboratory) Simulation Models of Neuroendocrine Function
Obtaining data from a simulation model of the pituitary, formulating and testing hypotheses.


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, and interpretation.

Three tutorials in semester 2 are tightly linked to an ICA essay reviewing a recent primary research paper linked to the student's chosen honours discipline. Papers will be specific to different tutor groups. Tutorials are designed to aid understanding the paper, guide on how to produce the essay, and provide formative and summative feedback.


ICA:Exams 50:50 weighting

December exam: 25% of course
May exam: 25% of course

ICA Elements
Data analysis ICA: 10%
Report on Practical 1 (genes and transgenic mice): 15%
ICA essay: 25%
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Biomedical Sciences 2 (BIME08007)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs none
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2019/20, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Full Year
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 400 ( Lecture Hours 31, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 5, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 16, Online Activities 4, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 3, Formative Assessment Hours 2, Summative Assessment Hours 3, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 8, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 328 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 50 %, Coursework 35 %, Practical Exam 15 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Assesssment:

ICA:Exams 50:50 weighting

December exam: 25% of course
May exam: 25% of course

ICA Elements
Data analysis ICA: 5%
Report on Practical 1 (genes and transgenic mice): 20%
ICA essay: 25%

Feedback Feedback will be provided for the in-course assessments. A feedback session for the December exam will be held, and feedback for the May exam will be provided upon request.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)Biomedical Sciences 3 Semester 1 Degree Examination1:30
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)Biomedical Sciences 3 Semester 2 Degree Examination1:30
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Students successfully completing the course should: * develop an understanding of broad themes within contemporary biomedical sciences as well as an understanding of key experimental approaches, plus an appreciation of when they can be used, their strengths and weaknesses, and the type of data they produce
  2. * acquire the ability to efficiently search for, understand, interpret, and evaluate primary biomedical research papers ('paper analysis') as well as the ability to frame scientific hypotheses and to design scientifically valid experiments to test them using appropriate experimental techniques
  3. * gain experience in collecting sets of data, analysing them, and testing formal hypotheses using statistical software programs
  4. * demonstrate technical skill in writing up concise and accurate practical reports and show understanding of the theory relating to the practicals
  5. * gain competence in the accurate and effective communication of biomedical concepts and data as well as experience of working as a team member
Reading List
It is not easy to recommend books for the whole course as it covers diverse topics. It is not necessary to buy any books at all. Text books and papers will be recommended by individual lecturers where appropriate.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Course organiserDr Thomas Pratt
Tel: (0131 6)51 1707
Course secretaryMiss Martyna Brewczyk
Tel: (0131 6)50 3160
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