Methods in applied plant biology

A.Y. 2021/2022
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The teaching aims to offer an overview of the main technologies used in Plant Biology, ranging through genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry and metabolism studies. The course also aims to provide the theoretical basis for planning experiments with plants correctly.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the teaching, the student will have acquired theoretical skills on the methods described, will be able to apply them in the context of a specific biological question, will be able to plan experiments in the lab and interpret the data, also based on appropriate statistical methods.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
More specific information on the delivery modes of training activities for academic year 2021/2022, will be provided over the coming months, based on the evolution of the public health situation.
Course syllabus
Part I:
-Principles for correctly designing an experiment. Practical introduction to scientific discussion;
-Model plants, Genetic transformation using Agrobacterium tumefaciens and the vectors required for transgenesis. Greenhouse visit; Plant growth chambers;
-Mutagenesis and genome editing in plants, with practical examples of data analysis and interpretation.
Seminar "Genetic modification applied to plant biology experiments";
-Analysis of gene expression: structure of plant promoters, RNA types, transcription, in situ hybridization, use of Reporter genes;
Seminar on "Transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation".
-Analysis of protein-DNA and protein-protein interactions, quantitative PCR;
-Optical microscopy - Fluorescence - Confocal - Electron microscopy (SAM and TEM)
- Live imaging with practical examples. Visit "No Limits" advanced microscopy platform.

Part II
-Introduction to the study of the plant cell wall; functional genetics studies, protein characterization, cell wall enzymology and analytical techniques for cell wall composition. Related developmental processes and case studies.
-Principles of biomechanics applied to plants; Principles and methodologies.
-Methods of studying plant metabolism; Biosynthetic processes, Subcellular localization and cell fractionation.
-Principles and usefulness of new "omics" technologies.
-Principles, applications and regulation of OGMs in agriculture.
-The scientific article; impact factor, peer review process, scientific discussion and debate.
-Communication and dissemination of research.
-The programme also includes interactive discussion of some scientific papers to identify strengths and weaknesses in both technical and experimental design.
-Visit to the bioscience lab and for practical lessons
Prerequisites for admission
The student must be familiar with the anatomy of plants and have a solid foundation in molecular and genetic biology.
Teaching methods
Teaching is based on lessons supported by PowerPoint slides and videos. Students will also visit a research lab to observe some techniques and use some of the instruments described during the course and will perform simple plant experiments. During the course some topics will be explored through seminars presented by colleagues who are experts in the field.
Teaching Resources
The slides and videos shown during the course and scientific articles and reviews (in English) will be distributed by the teachers. The slides of the course are not sufficient material for the preparation of the exam; therefore, it is strongly recommended to support that material with notes taken during the lessons (it is also recommended to attend the classes).
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam consists of a written test with open questions. The questions will focus on the topics described during the course and intend to evaluate both the knowledge of analytical-instrumental techniques and the student's ability to reason on the theoretical-scientific basis of the topics covered. The questions can also include a data interpretation exercise according to the methods presented during the lessons.
BIO/01 - GENERAL BOTANY - University credits: 6
Lessons: 48 hours