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Advanced Biomedicine, 30 Credits

Swedish name: Avancerad biomedicin

This syllabus is valid: 2019-08-26 and until further notice

Course code: 3MB037

Credit points: 30

Education level: Second cycle

Main Field of Study and progress level: Biomedical Sciences: Second cycle, has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
Molecular Biology: Second cycle, has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements

Grading scale: VG Pass with distinction, G Pass, U Fail

Responsible department: Department of Molecular Biology

Revised by: Programme council for the Biomedicine Programmes, 2019-06-19


The course integrates four biomedical research areas - Infection and immunology, Metabolism and metabolic diseases, Cancer, and Neuroscience and diseases of the nervous system. Specific examples illustrate principles and mechanisms that regulate normal cell and organ functions, as well as molecular processes that lead to dysfunction and disease.

The course also includes sessions covering Literature searching, Ethical aspects of research and scientific work, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, as well as Bioinformatics.

The course is divided into the following five modules:
Infection and Immunology with Information retrieval: 7 ECTS
Metabolic diseases, 7 ECTS
Cancer and Bioinformatics, 7 ECTS
Neuroscience with mini-symposium, 7 ECTS
Epidemiology and Biostatistics, 2 ECTS

Expected learning outcomes

After completing the course the student should:
  • show an understanding of basic biological mechanisms in cells and organs and point out how changes at the molecular level may affect these mechanisms and thus lead to various diseases
  • be able to discuss the significance of molecular changes in the context of symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of various diseases.
  • demonstrate skills in the areas of information retrieval and bioinformatics.
  • show a scientific approach towards, and a responsibility for one's own learning.

After completing the module Infection and Immunology with information retrieval the student should be able to:
  • give an overview of the human body's reactions during microbial infection and inflammation.
  • give examples of different microbial infection strategies and reflect on their relationship to the effector functions of the immune system.
  • explain the relationship between infections and sequelae or other diseases.

After completing the module Metabolic diseases, the student should be able to:
  • describe how the body adapts to metabolic situations, such as when consuming a meal, fasting and during exercise, and how this adaptation is regulated at the molecular level.
  • describe how lipids are transported in the bloodstream and the relationship between blood lipids and atherosclerosis
  • give examples of monogenic metabolic diseases as well as discuss and conclude about the metabolic changes that are caused by such diseases.
  • explain the concept of insulin resistance and its metabolic consequences, including the importance for so-called metabolic syndrome and type II diabetes.
  • discuss the different dietary regimes in relation to obesity and diabetes.

After completing the module Cancer and Bioinformatics the student should be able to:
  • describe in detail the multi-step process of tumour formation, development and invasion and the meaning of the concept "Hallmarks of Cancer". 
  • explain the concepts of oncogenes and tumour suppressors and relate to them in the broader context of genomic integrity and cancer development.
  • describe how tumour cells interact with their environment, and especially for the concept of "Tumour Immunology", explain the importance of this environment for tumour development.
  • analyse cancer signalling pathways in relation to the multi-step process of tumour progression, involving angiogenesis and metastasis, exemplifying one of the three major cancer types: prostate cancer, breast cancer or lung cancer.
  • illustrate cancer pathology as observed for some of the major cancer types (for example, prostate cancer, breast cancer, and lung cancer) with major focus on risk factors, diagnosis, prognosis and treatment.
  • describe laboratory models used for studying cancer biology and evaluate their various advantages and disadvantages.
  • describe the concept of "targeted cancer therapy".
  • apply bioinformatics to assess alterations in cancer cells at genomic and proteomic levels.

After completing the module Neuroscience with mini-symposium the student should be able to:
  • give an overview of the molecular and cellular principles that are important for the function of the nervous system.
  • exemplify how the nervous system processes, converts and stores information.
  • integrate and synthesize theories of causative mechanisms for a selection of nervous system disorders

After completing the module Epidemiology and Biostatistics the student should be able to:
  • identify epidemiological design, that is, ecological study, cross-sectional study, case-control study and cohort study.
  • Calculate and interpret measures of disease occurrence (prevalence, incidence and cumulative incidence).
  • Calculate and interpret comparative measures of disease occurrence (attribute risk and etiological fraction, risk-, rate-, and odds ratio).
  • analyse bias and confounding in an epidemiological study.
  • exemplify how epidemiological analyses are applied in different areas, for example cancer and infectious diseases.
  • demonstrate the ability to plan and conduct an experimental study, (factorial experiments and trials based on repeated measurements).
  • analyse factorial experiments with continuous outcomes with one-way and multi-way variance analysis.
  • indicate methods for analysing factorial experiments where the outcome might be counts or binary.
  • analyse experiments with repeated measurements on the outcome variable such as growth experiments. 

Required Knowledge

180 ECTS from finished courses containing at 20 ECTS in Chemistry, including at least 5 ECTS in Biochemistry, or alternatively, 20 ECTS from a combination of courses in Chemistry and Physics and/or Mathematics, including at least 5 ECTS in Biochemistry; and in addition, 5 ECTS in Classical Genetics, 7.5 ECTS in Cell Biology, and 15 ECTS in Human or Zoo Physiology including Immunology, Neurobiology and Pathology. Proficiency in English equivalent to Swedish upper secondary course English B/6.

Form of instruction

Teaching is in English through lectures and in student-active forms with cases, exercises, own work and group work. Compulsory attendance applies at all teaching sessions except lectures. The Biostatistics section includes laboratory exercises that train - examination planning, study implementation, analysis and reporting, as well as use of specific software (i.e.: will include work with computers).

Examination modes

The theoretical part of each module is examined through a written individual examination in the form of a take-home exam. Other compulsory teaching assignments are examined continuously during the course. Case reports, exercises and group assignments are examined in groups with individual assessment and in order to pass these, active participation is required. Active participation means that the student contributes with his/her own posts, reflections and questions, and that the student tries to answer questions posed to him/her or the group. For case reports, the answers must be essentially correct and related to the task. The personal assignments are examined individually.

At written take-home exam, the grades used are Pass with Distinction, Pass, or Fail. For examination of other teaching assignments, the grades used are Pass or Fail. In order to obtain the grade Pass on a written take-home exam, the score must be at least 60% of the maximum number of points and the facts presented must in principal be correct and related to the assignment, and to some extent integrated into a reasoning. For the grade Pass with Distinction at a written take-home exam, the score must be at least 80% of the maximum number of points, the facts presented must be correct and pertinent to the questions asked, and must be written in a concise style without the presence of irrelevant information. In addition, the student must show an ability to use subject-specific terminology and explain the answers. Where applicable, concrete facts must also be integrated into a reasoning in which a deeper understanding is presented. Exceptions from the grading limits (60 and 80% respectively) can be made if there are special reasons.

A student who does not fully meet the learning goals at an exam but is close to pass can, after a decision by the chairman at the department responsible for the course, be given the opportunity to complement the results to achieve the grade Pass on the course. Complementing the examination must be adapted individually based on the goal or goals that the student has not achieved and must take place no earlier than ten working days after the students have been informed of the exam result but before the next examination opportunity. It is only allowed to complement a grade Fail to Pass, complementation for higher grades is not allowed. If the student so wishes, he/she has the right to take a re-examination instead of a complementation and thus get the opportunity to obtain a higher grade than Pass.

In order to obtain the grade Pass on the entire course, the student must have received at least the grade Pass on all written take-home exams as well as for all other compulsory parts.
In order to achieve the grade Pass with Distinction on the entire course, in addition to the requirements for the grade Pass, individual written assignments must be submitted within specified times and assignments must be reported according to given instructions. In addition, the grade Pass with Distinction must be obtained on at least four out of five take-home exams.

Students who have failed on the ordinary exam are entitled to re-examinations. The first re-examination must be offered no later than two months after the ordinary exam, however, no earlier than ten working days after the result of the ordinary exam has been announced. For exams that are carried out in May and June, the first re-examination may be offered within three months after the ordinary exam. At least one additional re-examination must be offered within one year after the ordinary exam. A student who has passed the examination cannot undergo a new examination in order to obtain a higher grade. Students who have not passed the course are offered the opportunity to re-take the course the next time it is given, if seats are available, but may also choose to participate only in further examinations.

In the event that a student is absent from or fails to pass a compulsory teaching element, the chairman of the department responsible for the course decides on the form of assignment for re-examination and when this activity is to take place.

Deviations from the examination form of the course syllabus can be made for a student who has a decision on pedagogical support due to disability. Individual adaptation of the examination form should be considered based on the need of the student. The examination form is adapted within the framework of the expected learning outcomes of the course syllabus. Upon request of the student, the chairman of the department responsible for the course, shall promptly decide on the adapted examination form. The decision must then be communicated to the student.
A student who has twice failed an examination for a course or a part thereof, has the right to have another examiner appointed, unless special reasons speak against it (HF Chapter 6, Section 22). Requests for a new examiner are made in writing to the Program Council for the Biomedicine Programmes.

Credit Transfer
Students have the right to be assessed for their previous education and corresponding knowledge and skills acquired in professional activities to determine if they can be credited for a corresponding education at Umeå University. Application for credit transfer is to be sent to Student Services/Degree Evaluation Office. More information on credit transfer is available from the student web portal at Umeå University and in the Higher Education Ordinance (Chapter 6). A rejection of application for credit transfer can be appealed to The Higher Education Appeals Board (Higher Education Ordinance, Chapter 12). This applies both if the whole or parts of the application for credit transfer is rejected.

Transitional Provisions
In the event that a course has been terminated or that a new syllabus has replaced the previous one, students shall be guaranteed at least three examinations (including the ordinary examination) according to the previous syllabus for a maximum period of two years from the time when the previous syllabus expired or the course was no longer offered.


The literature list is not available through the web. Please contact the faculty.