This laboratory course will cover recombinant protein production, purification, and characterization. Both E. coli and  mammalian cells will be used as hosts for protein production. Selected techniques in molecular biology will also be covered.

The goal of the course is to teach you to read a paper critically and understand its content. We shall examine published papers to discuss which conclusions can be justified and which require some wishful thinking. We shall discuss papers in the field of molecular medicine, interpreted broadly and will cover everything from “classics” to more recent studies.

Each week, we will ask you to evaluate a paper. The outcome will be that you rewrite the abstract, and also prepare a critical evaluation of its strengths and weaknesses (a referee’s report). You will present the paper from this standpoint. This will require you to read background material relevant to the paper, in order to present it in context. You will learn to search for the relevant literature in PubMed and other on-line sources.

The assessment will be based upon the quality of your presentations and written submissions throughout the course, and also a written exam in the final week, when you will be given a paper and asked to write the abstract of the paper and the referee’s report.

Regarding prerequisites: we will provide necessary background biology if the system being used is very specialised. Otherwise, if you have knowledge of basic genetics, signalling pathways and cell biology, you should be fine. In preparing the paper for presentation, we will expect you to read into the relevant background, searching in pubmed/google etc. If necessary we will point you in the right direction for search terms to use.Remember that on this (as on all courses) you are expected to do approximately 1h outside for each  “contact hour”. You will probably need 4h each week of preparation/reading time. All the literature courses are likely to have similar requirements.