MSc Cancer Research and Molecular Biomedicine

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Laboratory Skills

Course unit fact file
Unit code BIOL66111
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? No


Induction (part I) – basic laboratory guidance, including health and safety regulations, keeping a laboratory notebook. Biological Safety, Laboratory Health & Safety, risk assessment and management.

Induction (part II) – Manual handling in a laboratory, including dilutions and solution preparation.

Workshop 1 – Staining techniques: histological staining, immunohistochemistry.
Workshop 2 – Nucleic acid techniques: PCR, Real-time PCR and qPCR.
Workshop 3 – Protein handling techniques 1 & 2: 1 - Protein extraction/purification and analysis, including SDS-PAGE. 2: Western blot.
Workshop 4 – Results/ data recording, scientific report writing (including methods, figures, figure legends and referencing).

Students will attend a total of FOUR workshops including both parts of the Induction, Workshop 4 (both compulsory) and two further workshops from workshops 1-3.


Equip students with the theoretical understanding and practical skills relating to laboratory-based biomedical techniques to enable them to undertake, interpret and accurately record experimental research in the biomedical sciences.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

•    Develop awareness of current best practice in laboratory health and safety and understand how to keep themselves and those around them safe within a laboratory environment.
•    Develop an understanding of the principles of a range of practical techniques used in the biomedical context and understand how to employ and adapt these within their own research applications.

Intellectual skills

•    Develop critical understanding of the limitations of particular techniques and their applications.
•    Develop an understanding of how to solve problems arising from unexpected results.

Practical skills

•    Acquire the practical skills to enable them to follow written standard laboratory methods and achieve expected outcomes.
•    Acquire technical competence in a range of biomedical and computational techniques.
•    Learn best practice for recording experimental procedures and outcomes in a standard laboratory notebook.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

•    Be able to carry out laboratory techniques alone or in partnership with others safely and efficiently.
•    Demonstrate the ability to record experimental procedures in written form and to interpret experimental results obtained.


Teaching and learning methods

The learning and teaching processes will take the form of lectures, practical laboratory classes, laboratory demonstrations and e-learning (completion of on-line formative assessments).

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 15%
Report 80%
Practical skills assessment 5%

All students MUST attend Induction Part I, Induction Part II, Workshop 4 and two further workshops from workshops 1 – 3 to complete the unit. (Total of FOUR workshops).

Induction (part I) will not be assessed but students are required to complete the online quiz prior to entering the lab.

Workshop 4 will not be assessed but attendance is compulsory.

For BOTH of the other two workshops attended, from Workshops 1-3: 

(a)    Pre-lab online MCQ test- 5% weighting, average of two tests

(b)    Post-lab online MCQ test- 15% weighting, average of two tests

For ONE of the workshops 1-3 (chosen by the Programme Director): 

A written practical report, 1000 words, containing theoretical overview of the technique/s; report and interpretation of results obtained; and appropriate reference to published literature. This has a 80% weighting.

Students must accurately record each workshop in a laboratory notebook within two days of attendance, which will be assessed formatively by each Programme. This is formatiuve only.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Practical classes & workshops 36
Independent study hours
Independent study 114

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Susan Taylor Unit coordinator

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