Postgraduate course

Advanced Methods in Biochemistry

  • ECTS credits10
  • Teaching semesterSpring
  • Course codeMOL320
  • Number of semesters1
  • LanguageEnglish
  • Resources

Semester of Instruction

Spring. The course admits a limited number of students. The final admission to the course happens after the deadline for enrollment every semester. For more information: http://www.uib.no/en/matnat/53431/admission-courses-limited-capacity The course runs only if enough students enrol.

Objectives and Content


The course aims to provide students with adequate theoretical and practical knowledge sufficient to use a variety of biophysical methods on molecular biology systems. The course will provide an understanding of the physical principles underpinning the techniques, as well as describing their technology and their applications. As this is a practical course, an important goal is to give students practical training through demonstrations, laboratory exercises and data analyses, as well as providing training in presenting the data in the form of report writing.



The course will focus on CW domain, a protein domain which is actively researched at the Department of Molecular Biology and at other research institutes. The CW-domain is part of a larger enzyme that bind to histones and performs specific acetylation. It is an important protein within epigenetic studies. Four methods will be applied to the protein-domain. Thermal stability monitored by tryptophan fluorescence, Surface Plasmon Resonance for quantification of binding kinetics and binding constants, Isothermal Calorimetry for quantitating binding and solving thermodynamic parameters of the system, and finally high resolution NMR for tracking the specific amino acids involved in the binding of the ligand

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course the student should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


The student can explain

  • the structural biology and epigenetics needed to understand the system they are working with
  • what that makes the CW domain and attractive scientific study
  • the theoretical foundation of each technique
  • what information one can get from each technique, and what their strengths and limitations are
  • the technological principle that underpins each of the techniques
  • the HSE requirements relevant to the practical parts of each exercises


The students can ...

  • handle reagents, instruments and software well enough to solve each of the four student exercises
  • present and discuss results in the form of reports and also orally in groups
  • put results from individual exercises into context with each other and with existing literature

General competence

The student is able to

  • design and conduct experiments within the four methods taught in the course
  • write reports holding a good scientific standard
  • combine methods in project design and interpretation of results, so that broader conclusions can be reached

Required Previous Knowledge

Basic knowledge in molecular biology (MOL100), organic chemistry (KJEM130), metabolism (MOL202 or MOL221 and MOL222) or equivalent.

Recommended Previous Knowledge

Structural Molecular Biology (MOL310).

MOL310 can be taken in parallel.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

Laboratory exercises and demonstrations.

Forms of Assessment

Reports from laboratory exercises and demonstrations (30%) and written exam, 4 hours (70%).

Examination support materials: Non- programmable calculator, according to model listed in faculty regulations

Grading Scale

The grading scale used is A to F. Grade A is the highest passing grade in the grading scale, grade F is a fail.

Subject Overlap

 KJEM233 (1sp), KJEM251 (1 sp)


Contact Information

Study advisor at the Department of Molecular Biology, advice@mbi.uib.no

Exam information

  • Type of assessment: Lab reports and written exam

    Withdrawal deadline
    Examination system
    Digital exam