SU Course: Methods in Molecular Life Sciences Part-1

The next course in the Masters is of Methods in Molecular Life Sciences. This course is also a two part course like the Bioinformatics course.

The two parts are :

1. Theory lectures

2. Lab practicals

1. Experimentation and data generation – Wet lab

2. Data analysis – Dry lab

1. Theory lectures

There are 10 theory lectures each 2 and 1/2 hours long. The classes start at 10 in the morning until lunch time. Each class focuses on different techniques and methods in molecular biology – wet lab. All these methods are taught by experts in the field, who use these techniques in their labs on daily basis. The classes are conducted by faculties from the MBW department at Stockholm University and Scilife lab Fellows.

The main topics covered in the course are Protein-protein interaction. This class is complementary to the course on Lipids and bio-membranes. The next lecture is introduction to various Protein-nucleic acid interaction, where they show how various Transcription factors which are proteins recognize the nucleic acids for their function.

Following this, we had two lectures on Yeast as a model organism and molecular tools available for use in this organism. This also formed basis to the lab exercises that we performed in the afternoon, after the lectures. Continuing the discussion on the tools, we were introduced to the more tools that can be used on various model systems and in-vitro mutagenesis, ethical concerns and some interesting examples of the use of some of them in the on-going research in Dr. Claudia Kutter’s lab.

Dr. Claudia Kutter’s lecture on gene modification

While mentioning model systems, we were also about microbial growth systems, and a recent advancement in the technique of single cell imaging. Moving to higher Eukaryotic organisms we learned about Drosophila melanogaster, were we saw the first manual drawing of the polytene chromosome. Further, we learned the epigenetic basis of DNA modification and how it can be used to create desired mutations chromosome wide.

Manual drawing of the polytene chromosomes from Fruit fly

After the Easter break of about 2 weeks, we had the most interesting lecture of the course on the advancements in the next generation sequencing techniques by Dr. Vicent Pelechano. In this, we were fascinated to see how the same samples can be pre-processed in multiple ways to get different kind of information (TSS, TTS, splicing information, snap shot of the genes currently transcribed, and many more…) from it, by employing the same Illumina sequencing at the last step. Finally, we had a introductory lecture to the data analysis explaining its importance in the age of Big Data.

One such seuencing method – TIFseq, developed in Dr. Vicent Pelechano’s lab      Source: Nature journals

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