Course code BIO332

BIO332 Experimental Molecular Microbiology

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Showing course contents for the educational year 2022 - 2023 .

Course responsible: Linda Liberg Bergaust
Teachers: Daniel Straume, Inga Leena Angell, Marita Torrissen Mårli, Marte Mølsæter Maråk, Alicia Caro Pascual, Morten Nilsen, Pawel Michal Lycus, Inga Leena Angell, Ida Ormaasen, Else Marie Aasen, Zhian Salehian, Rannei Tjåland, Knut Rudi
ECTS credits: 10
Faculty: Faculty of Chemistry, Biotechnology and Food Science
Teaching language: EN, NO
(NO=norsk, EN=Engelsk)
Limits of class size:
Teaching exam periods:
This course starts in January block. This course has teaching/evaluation in January block + teaching/evaluation in Spring parallel.
Course frequency: Annually
First time: Study year 2009-2010
Preferential right:

The course is compulsory for students who are admitted to the master´s programmes

  • MSc in Biotechnology, specialisation microbiology
  • MSc in Technology, specialisation chemistry and bioteknologi, sub-specialisation molecular biology
Course contents:

The course aims at deep understanding of some important aspects of modern microbiology. It focuses on three research themes of importance for health and sustainable development: mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions; spread of antibiotic resistance; and the importance of the gut flora for human health. 

The first part is structured as an intensive laboratory course over three weeks in January. A few lectures/seminars will be given in the January block, the rest will be given during the spring term. A total of 18 lectures will be given. In addition, a number of scientific primary articles relevant for the experimental work will be discussed in seminars during the first part of the spring semester. The students write a report from the laboratory exercises, in which relevant scientific literature is referred. The laboratory exercises cover methods used for:

  • measurement of gene expression and biological diversity in various ecosystems
  • characterisation and identification of bacteria
  • horizontal gene transfer
  • genetic regulation
  • genome sequencing
  • interpretation of results and discussions on the various methods

Students write an individual, final report.

Learning outcome:


The course relates to current major research topics in modern microbiology and provides "state-of the art"- knowledge within three important areas with strong relevance for the UN sustainability goals good Health and well-being, and climate action : Microbial processes involved in greenhouse gas emissions; horizontal gene transfer and its importance for spread of antibiotic resistance; and relationships between gut microflora and health.  


The students will become familiar with techniques used in microbiological research, with emphasis on molecular methods. Students will become aware of the contexts in which the different methods are used, and the strong and weak points of the various methods will be discussed. The laboratory exercises consist of smaller research projects, which will be summarized in an individual, written report. This provides skills in planning and performing research tasks; data analysis and interpretation and presentation of results; and experience in collecting relevant literature to be able to view the results in a larger context. Regular seminars are undertaken, where students obtain training in summarizing and discussing selected scientific texts.

The student is able to perform the preparations, techniques and analyses employed in the course. The student masters the instruments and equipment used in the course.

General competence

The course prepares the students for carrying out a thesis work on master´s level and is also useful for early-phase PhD students. They learn to collaborate in groups and to carry out individual research tasks including scientific writing and data analysis The students will learn and obtain experience with how to prepare and deliver effective oral and written presentations, to think critically and solve complex and multidisciplinary problems, and to accurately interpret current research literature.

Learning activities:

Laboratory exercises. Seminars. 

The seminars are based on articles describing relevant scientific findings or methods. The students actively participate in discussions during these seminars. The main focus of the course is on learning methods used to elucidate modern microbiological questions. Special lectures are given in connection with the laboratory exercises.

Teaching support:
The teachers are present during the entire course period and can also be reached via e-mail/Canvas. We offer specified timeslots to ask questions concerning the report writing.
Selected scientific articles will be discussed during the seminar series. Scientific articles are used in an extensive report from the laboratory exercises and are also curriculum for the examination.
Biochemistry equivalent to KJB200General microbiology equivalent to BIO230Molecular biology equivalent to BIO210

Recommended prerequisites:
The laboratory courses BIO233 and BIO211 (or equivalent).
Mandatory activity:
Lectures, seminars and laboratory exercises.
  • Written report of experimental research task, counts 40 % of the grade.
  • Written exam where the curriculum will be the topics from the lab course and selected scientific papers on relevant topics, Counts 60% of the grade.
  • To pass the course both the report and the exam must be graded with pass (E or better). A single grade given which takes into account both the report and the exam.

If the number of students is 24 or less, the teachers can decide to arrange an oral exam instead of  a written.

External examiner evaluates both the written report and the examination.

Nominal workload:
  • Laboratory work: 120 hrs.
  • Seminars/lectures: 18 hrs.
  • Self study and writing of laboratory repport: 112 hrs.
Entrance requirements:
Special requirements in Science
Type of course:

January block: three weeks (120 hrs) laboratory course, with some lectures.

Spring parallel: 2 seminars /lectures per week (2x2h) in the first half of the parallel, will be announced on Canvas.

Submission of written report: week 11 or 12. Written exam: week 13, 14 or 15, depending on when it is Easter week.

If the number of students is 24 or less, the teachers can decide to arrange an oral exam instead of  a written.

External examiner of the report on independent assignment.

External examiner evaluates the oral exam.

Allowed examination aids: C1 All types of calculators, other aids as specified
Examination details: Combined Assessment: Letter grades