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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Biological Sciences : Postgraduate

Postgraduate Course: Practical Skills in Biochemistry B (PGBI11099)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Biological Sciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThe programme provides thorough training in enhanced practical skills required for employment as a biochemical scientist. The course will cover a range of techniques from recombinant protein overexpression and purification, followed by activity assays and biophysical characterisation.
Course description Students will be taught the experience of working in a real-world laboratory environment, with a known practical target to achieve over the course of 10 weeks, but with no step-by-step protocols provided. Students have to read research papers to extract methods and write their own protocols based on the equipment and materials available, and that are achievable within the timetabled hours.

The students are provided with the intermediate goals that they are required to achieve, some preliminary information and technical tips, but have to work together in small groups to plan how to achieve the goals with the equipment and reagents provided, write the protocols, and learn how to generate and analyse their results.

This will involve:
-a range of chromatographic techniques to purify and assess a known enzyme
-a straightforward enzyme assay to monitor activity
-several complementary biochemical techniques to characterise the purified enzyme
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites Students MUST also take: Practical Skills in Biochemistry A (BICH11009)
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking Protein Production for Therapeutic Discovery (PGBI11132)
Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  16
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 30, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 68 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Three in-course assessments:

Practical skills and laboratory books are assessed weekly (20 %)
Design of an experimental strategy for biophysical and activity characterisation of purified protein (30 %)

A report, in the form, of a paper, of all experiments performed (50 %)
Feedback Students will receive individual verbal feedback weekly on their skills and lab books during the weekly laboratory sessions. Individual written feedback will be provided on each of the two written assessments within 15 working days of the submission deadline.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Apply, or understand how to apply, a range of chromatographic techniques to purify a protein and then characterise it.
  2. Design and analyse a straightforward enzyme assay
  3. Identify the techniques required and design an appropriate strategy for the biophysical characterisation of a biomolecule; and apply or be able to explain the advantages and limitations of the methods identified.
  4. Describe how and why differences in experimental conditions, or available equipment, will influence the experimental strategy and outcome
  5. Understand the requirements for writing a publication-quality research paper
Reading List
Read an occasional, relevant chapter, not necessarily for purchase.
Principles and Techniques of Biochemistry and "Molecular Biology" by A. Hoffman and S. Clokie, Cambridge University Press.

"Protein Purification Techniques: A Practical Approach" by S. Roe, Oxford University Press.

"Biophysical Techniques" by I.D. Campbell, Oxford University Press.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Confidence in laboratory environment
Report writing
Data management
Appreciation of health and safety responsibilities
Time management
Group work

Course organiserDr Janice Bramham
Tel: (0131 6)50 4786
Course secretaryMiss Fionnuala Nidhonnabhain
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