66437 - Applied Experimental Biology

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Moduli: Augusta Zannoni (Modulo 1) Augusta Zannoni (Modulo 2) Monica Forni (Modulo 3)
  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures (Modulo 1) Traditional lectures (Modulo 2) Traditional lectures (Modulo 3)
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Animal Biotechnology (cod. 8522)

Learning outcomes

The student knows the organisms that can be used as model for studying basic mechanisms. The student is able to perform basic activities in cell culture and gene expression experiments. The student is able to plan an experimental design and knows how to process data generated by experimentation.

Course contents

The course is divided into modules:

Module 1 Cell Culture

  1. Different types of cell cultures
  2. Cell culture lab
  3. Cell lines maintainance
  4. Principals methods utilized

Module 2 Evaluation of gene expression by Real Time PCR

  1. Primers desig
  2. Choosing the appropriate chemistry
  3. Selection of housekeeping gene
  4. Efficiency analysis
  5. Data processing

As concerns the teaching methods of the two courses unit, all students must attend Module 1, 2 [https://www.unibo.it/en/services-and-opportunities/health-and-assistance/health-and-safety/online-course-on-health-and-safety-in-study-and-internship-areas] online, while Module 3 on health and safety is to be attended in class. Information about Module 3 attendance schedule is available on the website of your degree programme

Module 3 comprises information about experimental design concepts, possible causes and elimination of bias, statistical analysis and information about where expertise can be found to assist with procedure, design, planning and the interpretation of results.

The contents of the Module correspond to the contents of Module 10 of the Italian Decree 05 August 2021, reflecting the implementation of Directive 2010/63/EU on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes.

Learning Outcomes

Students should be able to:

  1. List ethical and practical aspects that cause you need to care about design.
  2. Describe the concepts of fidelity and discrimination.
  3. Explain the concept of variability, its causes and methods of reducing it.
  4. Describe possible causes of bias and ways of alleviating it
  5. Identify the experimental unit and recognise issues of non-independence (pseudo- replication).
  6. Describe the variables affecting significance, including the meaning of statistical power and “p-values”.
  7. Identify formal ways of determining of sample size (power analysis or the resource equation method).
  8. List the different types of formal experimental designs.
  9. Explain how to access expert help in the design of an experiment and the interpretation of experimental results


  • Experimental Design for the Life Sciences. Graeme D. Ruxton Nick Colegrave. Oxford University Press ISBN-10: 0198717350
  • Festing, M.F.W. et al, The Design of Animal Experiments: Reducing the Use of Animals in Research Through Better Experimental Design. Laboratory Animals Ltd ISBN 1-85315-513-6
  • http://www.3rs-reduction.co.uk/
  • http://www.gene-quantification.de/habilitation.html
  • http://www.biomart.cn/upload/asset/2008/07/16/1216204807.pdf

Teaching methods

Preparatory Lectures followed by cooperative learning groups on fundamental topics for theoretical aspects.

Molecular biology lab.

Cell colture lab.

Assessment methods

The principal learning outcomes will be assessed:

- knowledge of the models for basic biological studies

- ability to plan an experiment and to process data

-ability to perform a gene expression experiment

-ability to perform a cell colture experiment

The final grade will be based on a written exam about lecture topics (39 MCQ and 6 open questions).

This teaching is part of an Integrated Course, the final grade will be proportional to the CFU of each teaching:

35106 Policy and Legislation in Animal Biotechnology [http://www.eng.unibo.it/PortaleEn/Academic+programmes/Teachings/TeachingsList.htm?FindType=CodeInsegnamentoScuola&CodiceScuola=843852&CodCorso=35106&Anno=2013&CodCdl=8522&single=True] 3CFU 20%

66437 Applied Experimental Biology [http://www.eng.unibo.it/PortaleEn/Academic+programmes/Teachings/TeachingsList.htm?FindType=CodeInsegnamentoScuola&CodiceScuola=843852&CodCorso=66437&Anno=2013&CodCdl=8522&single=True] 6 CFU 40%

66435 Applied Molecular Biology [http://www.eng.unibo.it/PortaleEn/Academic+programmes/Teachings/TeachingsList.htm?FindType=CodeInsegnamentoScuola&CodiceScuola=843852&CodCorso=66435&Anno=2013&CodCdl=8522&single=True] 6 40%

Teaching tools

Lecturesfiles and material for lerning groups.
Hands on in a fully equipped lab.

Office hours

See the website of Augusta Zannoni

See the website of Monica Forni


Good health and well-being Climate Action

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.