BMS109 - Laboratory Skills in Biomedical Science

Semester 1: Module Co-ordinator: Dr M. Cambray-Deakin


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 and chromatography for protein and enzyme assays; principles of restriction analysis cell fractionation via centrifugation. We will also cover simple statistical principles and tests by their application to specimen data and experimental results. Sessions focussing on presentation 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.
  • Know the principles of agarose gel chromatography, and interpret simple restriction maps.
  • Interpret standard curves.
  • Employ a low-speed centrifuge safely.
  • Use simple statistical procedures to describe and analyse data sets.

In addition to these skills student should know:

  • 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 practicals, 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 1 hour.


For more detailed information on the Aims, Objectives, Content and Assessment of BMS109 please refer to your BMS109 Summary Booklet either as hardcopy or as found on BMS109 MOLE.