bio5prc practical biotechnology




Credit points: 15

Subject outline

This subject will provide students with the opportunity to enhance their practical skills in a variety of contemporary molecular biology applications. Practical classes will require students to carry out laboratory techniques such as PCR, cloning, protein expression, protein purification and immunoblotting. In completing tasks for this subject, students are expected to develop technical competency and skills in critical thinking, data analysis and scientific communication.

SchoolSchool of Molecular Sciences/LIMS

Credit points15

Subject Co-ordinatorKaye Truscott

Available to Study Abroad StudentsNo

Subject year levelYear Level 5 - Masters

Exchange StudentsNo

Subject particulars

Subject rules

Prerequisites Must be enrolled in one of the following courses: SGBB, SMBB, SMBM or SMBT. All other students require coordinator approval.


Incompatible subjectsN/A

Equivalent subjectsN/A

Special conditionsN/A

Graduate capabilities & intended learning outcomes

01. Demonstrate comprehension of scientific protocols and follow laboratory procedures to successfully perform an experiment

Prior to the laboratory classes, students will be encouraged to work through the practical manual and prepare a one-page flow chart of the experimental procedure. The flow charts will be viewed and feedback will be provided following the pre-practical discussion. Students will subsequently use the protocol manual to carry out the experimental work guided by demonstrators as required. The data generated from a number of independent activities will be recorded and used to assess the student's technical proficiency.

02. Acquire, interpret and evaluate experimental data

Experimental data acquired from three independent experiments will need to be prepared in a visually clear electronic presentation format. Guided by a series of questions the students will interpret and critically evaluate their own data with short written responses. Interpretation and evaluation of data will also be performed as part of a series of worksheets

03. Demonstrate an understanding of scientific concepts and methodology through written communication

Students are required to complete a series of worksheets that cover both the theoretical and practical aspects of their laboratory work. Students will have the opportunity to discuss questions with demonstrators during class and will be provided feedback. Through completing these worksheets, students will be preparing for the final exam at the end of the subject.

04. Apply appropriate vocabulary to describe research findings

A collection of digital resources will be made available for students to actively listen to scientists talking about their work. This will provide exposure to science-specific terms, concepts and vocabulary. Students will have numerous opportunities to practice and apply scientific terminology during the pre-prac discussion and worksheets. Collectively, these activities will enable students to develop competency in these areas.

05. Compile and formally present experimental data and procedures

Each student will be required to submit two pieces of scientific writing that would be of sufficient standard to publish in a Masters level thesis. For the first task, students will be allocated a scientific protocol that will need to be re-written and modified into an appropriate method format. For the second task, students will be allocated an experimental result for which they will need to write a figure legend. Each exercise will be preceded by a specific tutorial given in the practical class. Students should use the guidelines provided and apply the concepts discussed to help with this exercise.

06. Work ethically, cooperatively and safely in a molecular laboratory

Some of these considerations will be highlighted in the whole lab pre-prac talks and in small group discussions prior to the practical class. Students will be asked to adopt these practices within the laboratory and will be graded on their professional conduct.

Subject options

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Start date between: and    Key dates

Melbourne, 2019, Semester 2, Day


Online enrolmentYes

Maximum enrolment sizeN/A

Enrolment information

Subject Instance Co-ordinatorKaye Truscott

Class requirements

PracticalWeek: 32 - 43
One 5.0 hours practical per week on weekdays during the day from week 32 to week 43 and delivered via face-to-face.


Assessment elementComments%ILO*
Discussion participation and performance (250 word equivalent)501, 06
Quality of laboratory results (500 word equivalent)501, 02, 05
Practical worksheets (2500 word equivalent)4502, 03, 04
Scientific writing exercises (1000 word equivalent)1503
Practical exam - written and experimental components (2250 word equivalent)2250 word equivalent (2000 for 2 h short answer based questions & 250 for 1 h practical component). The 1 h practical component is a short practical exercise that requires the students to follow a protocol and perform a simple experimental reaction. The 1 h allows for incubation time & an opportunity to repeat the reaction if they make a mistake.3001, 03