Course Review: Proteomics

Proteomics BB2510 is always the subject I am compelled to talk about. There is a reason: three months after the course ended, I started a master thesis project highly relevant to proteomics; another six months I got a PhD offer from a proteomics project! In another word, Proteomics BB2510 shapes my career path and I would love to share with you how enchanting it is!

“-omic” is not merely a suffix to protein such that it rhyme with “genomics” and “transcriptomics”. Indeed, it refers to the large-scale analysis  of proteins in biological samples. We know that protein is the last chain of the so-called “Central dogma of molecular biology”, the end product of DNA, which is your exclusive genetic material.

What does that imply?

Just imagine that our body is a university that is called KTH. Then, DNA would be our vice chancellor, Sigbritt Karlsson, who has the highest command; “proteins” would be best to play the teaching professors, as each of them have different tasks and whether a course is good highly depends on them!

In school, we evaluate the teachers’ performance to decide the quality of the courses; similarly, scientists are especially interested in proteins as they have everything to do with disease and health!

As said, a good teacher is vital to learning in the way that a functional protein does to our health. Our course teacher, Dr. Jochen Schwenk is a principal investigator at Science For Life Laboratory and associate professor at KTH. Plasma proteome profiling and immunoassays for diseases are his specialisation, but I reckon he also has a talent and enthusiasm in teaching.

 

Jochen M Schwenk

Personal profile at KTH: kth.se/profile/schwenk

Group at SciLifeLab: scilifelab.se/researchers/jochen-schwenk/

The course can be divided into two parts, one classical and one more research/application-oriented.

The former one is in line with the course literature Principles of Proteomics (R. M. Twyman), that  introduces the canonical ways to study protein, such as affinity-based and mass spectrometry-based methods; while the latter one brings a lot of new concepts, such as

  • Metabolomics and proteomics

  • Human Protein Atlas at SciLifeLab

  • Why is statistics essential to proteomics

  • Proteomics in clinic

If you just want to earn some easy credits, then Proteomics B2510 must not be your best buy. On the contrary, the course load is regarded as heavy even using a KTH standard. There are several activities that are ALL mandatory:

  • Online lecture X4 that students have to study in advance and prepare questions *

  • Online assessment

  • Student presentation based on a chapter in course literature

  • Workshop with PhD students **

  • Final examination

One has to pass the first four in order to get a seat in the final examination.

* Online lecture

They covered three topics: application of mass spectrometry, biomarker discovery and proteomics in brain. I was so impressed by how advanced and technical the online lectures can be that I would guess they were turned into online lecture for replaying to allow us to grasp the concepts.

** Workshop with PhD students

The workshop is a unique chance to scrutinise and offer critical comments of PhD students’ presentation in Dr. Schwenk’s group. The students on entirely different diseases,  but all have proteomic|immunoassays in common! Proteomics is versatile and has everything to do with diseases and health. I could clearly remember that I listened to cardiovascular syndrome, schizophrenia, and lupus in the same afternoon. Of course, it would be simply convenient to talk to them about the specific project or proteomic as a whole (as I did), when it was a time to decide your master thesis project!

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