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Biochemical Analysis


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 7
  • Convenor: Dr Philip Lowden
  • Assessment: a 1.5-hour examination (50%) and 10 items of coursework (50%)

Module description

In this module you will gain a solid foundation in the detection, separation, purification and quantitation of molecules, and focus on applications in biomolecular research and clinical analysis. We will cover topics such as chromatography, electrophoresis, mass spectrometry, protein and nucleic acid analysis, and toxicology. There is a significant focus on practical application of these techniques so you will spend about a third of the course in lab classes.

Indicative 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.