Molecular Cell Biology

Course content

A series of Group Discussions (no lectures) in which prepared material is treated and discussed, and three weeks of laboratory exercises where a range of experimental techniques is carried out and concepts taught. In the theoretical part of the course as well as in the experimental part, the main emphasis is on the parts of molecular cell biology that deals with gene expression, signaling, and regulation of cell growth, with examples referring to the molecular mechanisms and signaling in growth and cancer. The textbook is only used as reference – we will not go through it. The final evaluation focuses on understanding experimental detail and interpretation of experimental data rather than on recitation of facts.


BSc Programme in Biochemistry
BSc Programme in Biology

Learning outcome

The main goal of the course is for the student to develop an understanding of how knowledge in molecular cell biology is obtained through experimental approaches; an aim particularly important and appropriate close to the point of the bachelor project. This objective is reached through discussion of selected aspects of molecular cell biology, many of which deal with the changes taking place in cancer cells. Through discussion of experiments and their results, by in-debt evaluation of primary data from publications, as well as de-novo interpretation of presented data, the student is expected to obtain the ability to demonstrate specific knowledge, to read, understand and follow the validity of conclusions from experimental data from primary scientific literature, and use this knowledge when planning and interpreting experiments.


Students can identify, describe, and name specific research areas including different experimental and theoretical approaches; can identify a subset of instruments and devices used in molecular and cellular biological experiments.
Students can describe the use of a number of molecular biological techniques; in particular those done at the lab-course, but also methods that combine and exploit known pieces in new combinations.


Based on protocols for laboratory experiments, the student can carry out experiments and assess results.
Based on presented experimental results, the student can argue for the conclusions drawn, point out important controls, compare results from different conditions and evaluate them.
Based on original research literature, posed problems and experience with laboratory exercises, the student can explain the purpose of specific experiments, the materials used in experimental designs, the procedures involved and the format of results obtained. The student can use a subset of instruments and devices used in molecular and cellular biological experiments and explain results obtained, and will have first hand experience of generation of primary data.


Students can use obtained and already acquired knowledge within molecular biology to understand the use of, limitations of, and interpretation of, results from experiments and methods within molecular biology.

  • can assess the importance of the activity of proteins in detail, in relation to molecular cell biology and how these activities can be affected by mutations, other proteins, as well as other activities, and the consequences of such influences
  • can evaluate the detailed description of an experimental protocol, and can form conclusions from primary as well as derived data
  • can evaluate which results from experiments are solid, important and significant
  • can recognize controls in the experiments, and understand which parameters these control for
  • can understand the experimental background for the conclusions drawn in original research papers dealing with molecular cell biology topics
  • can understand the importance of and carry out quantitative calculations as used in the laboratory-course or illustrated in class.

Group discussions and laboratory course.

See Absalon.

It is necessary that the student has solid knowledge of basic biochemistry and molecular biology. Furthermore, experience with reading original scientific literature is an advantage. Students should have qualifications corresponding to one of the following sets of courses:

A: Molecular Biology, Genetics and Biotechnology (Molekylærbiologi, genetik og bioteknologi) and Protein Science and Enzyme Technology (Proteinvidenskab og enzymteknologi) of the bachelor curriculum for biochemistry students.
B. Protein Chemistry and Enzymology I and II (Proteinkemi og enzymologi I og II), Molecular Biology (Molekylærbiologi) and Cell Biology (Medicinsk celle- og vævsbiologi) of the bachelor curriculum for molecular biomedicine students
C. General Biochemistry (Almen biokemi), General Molecular Biology (Almen Molekylærbiologi) and General Cell Biology (Almen Cellebiologi) of the bachelor curriculum for biology students.

All written material including the exam are in English.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
Type of assessment
Written examination, 4 hours under invigilation
Type of assessment details
The course has been selected for ITX exam
See important information about ITX-exams at Study Information, menu point: Exams -> Exam types and rules -> Written on-site exams (ITX)
Exam registration requirements

Active participation in 80% of the three weeks of lab exercises is a prerequisite for attending the exam.

All aids allowed

As the exam is an ITX-exam, the University will make computers available to students at the exam. Students are therefore not permitted to bring their own computers, tablets, calculators, or mobile phones.

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship

The same as the ordinary exam.

If ten or fewer students have signed up for re-exam, the type of assessment will be changed to 30 minutes oral exam with 30 minutes preparation time.

Students who do not fulfill the requirements for attending the ordinary exam will have to follow the course again.

Criteria for exam assessment

In order to obtain the grade 12 the student should convincingly and accurately demonstrate the knowledge, skills and competences described under Learning Outcome.


Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 39
  • Preparation
  • 292
  • Practical exercises
  • 75
  • E-Learning
  • 2
  • Exam
  • 4
  • English
  • 412


Course number
Programme level

1 block

Block 2
A, B and C
The number of seats may be reduced in the late registration period
Study Board for the Biological Area
Contracting department
  • Department of Biology
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator
  • Olaf Nielsen   (6-74736e6c6a7345676e7433707a336970)

Peter Brodersen, Vibe Østergaard, Michael Lisby, Anders Løbner-Olesen, Olaf H. Nielsen.

Saved on the 11-05-2023

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