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Biochemical Analysis


Module description

The overall aim of this module is to provide a solid foundation in the detection, separation, purification and quantitation of molecules, with a particular focus on applications in biomolecular research and clinical analysis. Topics covered include chromatography, electrophoresis, mass spectrometry, protein and nucleic acid analysis, and toxicology. There is a significant focus on practical application of these techniques; about a third of the teaching sessions are lab classes.

Indicative module syllabus

  • The nature of clinical and biomedical samples
  • Sample collection, handling and preparation; assay validation
  • The application and development of separation techniques in the clinical context including TLC, GLC, HPLC and CE
  • The theoretical basis for these separation techniques
  • Electrophoresis in clinical practice and detection methods applied to chromatographic separations in biomedicine
  • Mass spectrometry - fundamental principles, instrument design and application in structural analysis of small molecules and proteins
  • Proteomics, free radicals in disease and their measurement
  • Enzymes and enzyme assays
  • Fluorescence and its uses in analysis
  • Amino acids, peptides and protein analysis
  • Immunoassay
  • Drug analysis
  • Analytical toxicology
  • Clinical measurement technology and instrumentation
  • Micro and nano techniques applied to clinical samples

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • explain the fundamental principles of a range of analytical techniques - immunoassay, fluorescence labelling, hybridisation, PCR, DNA sequencing and RFLP, electrophoresis (slab/gel and capillary), gas and liquid chromatography, and mass spectrometry
  • explain the molecular properties and molecular interactions involved in extraction and chromatography methods
  • describe the range of instrument designs for these techniques, and select the most appropriate instrumentation for a particular application
  • explain the theoretical basis for extraction techniques and chromatographic separations, and perform calculations using these theoretical models
  • evaluate the properties of specific analytical targets and select appropriate analytical procedures
  • explain the influence that the appropriate choice of analytical protocols and instrumentation can have on results and clinical interpretations, and the utility of near-patient and centralised measurement methods
  • carry out practical work and maintain laboratory records in a professional manner
  • analyse numerical data to accurately determine analyte concentrations
  • analyse mass spectrometry data to determine structural details of small molecules and proteins.