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First course at Karolinska Institute: Genetics

In the first semester at Karolinska we have 4 main courses:

1.  Genetics

2.  Applied Communications

3.  Applied Programming for Life Sciences- 1st part

4.  Frontiers in Translational Medicine

Today I am going to tell you about our first day as the master’s student and the first course of Genetics. The courses at Karolinska are full time courses that run in parallel to other courses.

Our semester started on the 3rd of September, 2018 at the Scilife Labs with an introduction to the programme. Programme directors from all the institutions spoke a few words about the course at the respective institute and then the Director of the Scilife Labs gave an introduction to the Scilife Labs and the intention behind this programme and its close association with the Scilife Labs.  After which we had lunch break, where we met all our new classmates for the first time.

Post Lunch we had our first lecture on Genetics.

The course of Genetics was a fast paced course. It was designed such that different students from different backgrounds of Biology, Biochemistry, Biotechnology and Chemistry can understand the general concepts. This course enabled everyone to be on the same page and have the same understanding of the basics concepts required in future courses.

The subject covered the basics concepts such as Fundamentals of the Genome, Core DNA technologies such as different types of Sequencing, Gene Regulation, Epigenetics, variation in the Genome and its association to monogenic and complex rare diseases.

In parallel to the theoretical knowledge, the course was made more practical and self-learning using the virtual lab simulator called the Labster.

Screenshot of the Labster simulations

Labster has various modules that allowed us to learn the flow of the big complex experiments.  Further, the simulator showed short animations of various biological processes that are complex and difficult to visualize based on description or images.

To give you a better understanding, here is a video of Labster simulation:

Furthermore, along with this we were suggested a few research papers for further reading on specific topics.

The course was graded based on two parts. A final written exam and a research paper presentation. Our first final written exam as a master’s student was four after the start of the course on 28th of September. Two weeks later we had the second part of the exam, which was organized as a symposium on rare genetic diseases. We were divided in different groups and assigned a paper. Each group was given about 20 minutes to present and 5 minutes of question answer session.

Our first class photo after the Genetics presentation.                                                                   PC:David