BIO332 Experimental Molecular Microbiology

Credits (ECTS):10

Course responsible:Linda Liberg Bergaust

Campus / Online:Taught campus Ås

Teaching language:Engelsk, norsk

Limits of class size:36

Course frequency:Annually

Nominal workload:

  • Laboratory work: 120 hrs.
  • Seminars/lectures: 18 hrs.
  • Self study and writing of laboratory repport: 112 hrs.

Teaching and exam period:This course starts in January block. This course has teaching/evaluation in January block + teaching/evaluation in Spring parallel.

About this course

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.

  • 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.

  • 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 journal writing.
    • Biochemistry equivalent to KJB200
    • General microbiology equivalent to BIO230
    • Molecular biology equivalent to BIO210
    • 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.

  • External examiner of the report on independent assignment.

    External examiner evaluates the oral exam.

  • Lectures, seminars and laboratory exercises.
  • If the number of students is 24 or less, the teachers can decide to arrange an oral exam instead of a written.
  • 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.

    • MSc in Biotechnology, with specialisation in microbiology ( i.e master thesis in microbiology)
    • MSc in Technology, specialisation chemistry and bioteknologi, sub-specialisation molecular biology
  • Special requirements in Science