BMS109 - Laboratory Skills in Biomedical Science Theme

Semester 1

Module Co-ordinator: Dr P Gokhale


These sessions aim to provide students with training in basic laboratory-based analytical skills, and to improve their abilities in written and oral presentation.


The practicals will consist of laboratory practicals and review sessions designed to provide the following content: use of light microscopes, principles of histology; use of pipettes and balances; principles of basic chemistry such as pH, molarity, osmolarity; use of simple spectrophotometry for protein and enzyme assays; principles of restriction analysis; cell fractionation using centrifugation; experimental design; working with animal models; scientific observation. We will also cover simple statistical principles and tests by their application to specimen data and experimental results. Sessions focussing on presentation skills and other transferable skills will take place in smaller groups with the students┬┤ academic tutor.


At the end of the module students should be able to:

  • Correctly set up and use standard light microscopes
  • Use relevant laboratory equipment accurately to prepare solutions of the correct pH, concentration and osmolarity.
  • Use a spectrophotometer and perform simple biochemical assays to determine protein concentrations and enzyme activity.
  • Describe the principles of agarose gel chromatography, and interpret simple restriction maps and gels.
  • Interpret standard curves.
  • Employ a low-speed centrifuge safely.
  • Form hypotheses and design appropriate experiments to investigate them.
  • Use simple statistical procedures to describe and analyse data sets.
  • Evaluate the worth of results generated (validity, reliability)

In addition to these skills student should be able to describe and explain:

  • Units of measurement relevant to cell biology and biochemistry.
  • The sources of variation in biological experiments.
  • Common pitfalls in the preparation and delivery of written and oral scientific presentations.

Teaching Methods

The module is taught with a combination of traditional practical classes, review sessions and tutorials, together with limited web-based support. Each practical will last in the order of 3 hours; each review session and tutorial up to 2 hours.


See the BMS109 page for information on assessments.