The program related to Genetics is aimed to illustrate the main methods used for the extraction and purification of nucleic acids, including genomic DNA, plasmid DNA and RNA. Moreover, the principles and procedures of PCR, RT-PCR and qRT-PCR assays are explained. The traditional methods of DNA sequencing, such as Sanger-Coulson and Maxam-Gilbert are discussed together with the Next-Generation sequencing approaches starting from the Solexa-Illumina, going through Ion current Ion 530 and Pacific Biosciences, to most the recent Oxford Nanopore Minion methods. The program related to Biochemistry will deal on strategies for protein expression in heterologous systems, spectroscopic techniques (absorbance and fluorescence), protein electrophoresis (SDS and Native PAGE and isoelectrofocusing), protein purification by chromatographic techniques, antibody structure and function and antibody-based techniques (western blot, Elisa). The program related to Molecular and Cellular Biology will deal with the methodologies used to introduce foreign nucleic acids in bacteria (transformation) as well as in cell cultures (transfection) and animal models (transgenic) and how to create a particular gene deletion (knock-out) or in animal models.
Prerequisites for admission
A revision of the topics covered by the basic molecular biology, biochemistry and biochemical methods classes included in the bachelor curriculum, before attending the course, is highly recommended.
Powerpoint-assisted frontal lectures with frequent, critical discussions on experimental design, protocols and specific case studies. Attendance is strongly suggested. Lecture slides and other reading/audiovisual materials will be made available on the ARIEL course website.
Students can refer to their Molecular Biology texts for the general aspects of nucleic acids and to books of Biochemistry (e.g. Stryer Lehninger, Ed. MacMillan) and of Principle and Techniques for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (e.g. Wilson and Walker, Ed. Chiron Media (Wallingford, Regno Unito).
Assessment methods and Criteria
Evaluation of the student's performance will be based on an oral examination regarding the methodologies covered during the lessons. This part will contribute to the final grade with a maximum grade of 27/30 (90%). Furthermore, student performance during an exam session during which he/she will present and discuss a recent paper on advanced methodologies; this part will contribute to the final grade with a maximum grade of 3/30 (10%).