61500 - Clinical Molecular Biology

Course Unit Page


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

Good health and well-being Quality education Partnerships for the goals

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the lessons the students has acquired knowledges on the most important techniques of molecular biology and related application

Course contents

The  course of Clinical Molecular Biology is part of the integrated course BIOCHEMISTRY AND VETERINARY CLINICAL MOLECULAR BIOLOGY. Upon completion of the integrated course, the student knows the molecular basis of life processes, including the major metabolic pathways, and is able to appreciate their role in the clinical setting. In addition, he/she is able to perform basic biochemical laboratory activities.

The course includes 16 hours of lectures and 6 hours of practical activity. The topics include basics application of genomics and proteomics to animals of veterinary interest.

Applications of molecular biology to the study of the dog's genome and molecular basis of some genetic diseases: genomics, transcriptomics  and related techniques, DNA extraction and electrophoresis, PCR and microarray.  Applications of these techniques to the sudy of the dog genome and to the molecular basis of important inborn errors of metabolism (e.g. pyruvate kinase deficiency, cystinuria, von Willebrandt disease). Epigenetic modifications.

Plasma proteome: separation by different electrophoretic techniques; biochemical characteristic and function of the most important plasma serum proteins; particular attention will be paid to transport proteins, including lipoprotein function and metabolism. Electropherograms of dog, cat, horse and non conventional species.

Laboratory activities: practical work is aimed at the acquisition of basic knowledge and skills related to basic biochemical and molecular biology methods. For each activity the appropriate PPE will be provided. Laboratory activities are carried out according to specific protocols and are reported in the personal laboratory notebook by each student. The laboratory notebook is checked periodically by the teacher to ascertain its correct management. These activities aim to develop both practical skills and soft skills.


The teaching material consists of the suggested textbooks (see below) and of the material put on the specific course website: Virtuale (unibo.it) [https://virtuale.unibo.it/].

The suggested textbooks are:

Champe et al., Le basi della biochimica (Zanichelli)

Campbell e Farrell, Biochimica (EdiSES)
Allison, Fondamenti di biologia molecolare (Zanichelli)

Teaching methods

Innovative teaching techniques will be applied, aimed at obtaining an active participation of the students. By agreement with the students, meetings with experts will also be proposed to discuss topics of particular clinical veterinary interest. The students connected remotely will be guaranteed the possibility to watch all the teaching activities live.

1) Lectures. The lectures cover the theoretical part of the course and present the program in an organic way. When possible, the topics will be dealt with by starting from clinical cases and concrete situations related to veterinary practice. Some topics related to inborn error of metabolism will be addressed with the "problem oriented" approach. With the student agreement a topic could be deepened in groups and will be presented with a short presentation (LID approach).

2) Practical activity. Practical activities will be carried out in the laboratory, as reported in the Course content Section. It is mandatory to wear a gown for access to the teaching laboratory. When necessary, PPEs will also be provided for carrying out specific activities, such as single-use gloves and safety goggles. Students connected remotely will be guaranteed the opportunity to watch live coverage of all the practical activities that are carried out in order to understand how to perform the individual steps of the different methods.

Considering the type of activities and teaching methods adopted, the attendance of the practical activities requires the performance of modules 1 and 2 in e-learning mode of specific training on safety and health in the workplace [https://www.unibo.it/it/servizi-e-opportunita/salute-e-assistenza/salute-e-sicurezza/sicurezza-e-salute-nei-luoghi-di-studio-e-tirocinio] and the participation in module 3. Information on dates and modalities of attendance of module 3 are available in the appropriate section of the course website.

Please note that in the presence of the emergency conditions for Covid-19, the teaching activities may change and may be carried out online.

Students with special needs are invited to contact the teacher by e-mail to illustrate them and to organize the teaching and examinations in the most suitable way.

Assessment methods

1) Student evaluation

The class is part of an Integrated Course. The final score of the exam is based on the synthesis of the evaluations of the two classes of the integrated course. The final mark will be proportional to the CFU of each teaching course (2/3 Clinical biochemistry and 1/3 Clinical molecular biology). 

The exam consists of an oral test. The exam is stuctured to assess the acquisition of the knowledge and competences required according to what is reported in the course program and their use in solving problems concerning the future professional profile. Particular attention is paid to the student's ability to establish links between the various parts of the program and to present using language appropriate to the subject. The maximum score obtainable is 30 cum laude. Students wishing to take the exam in English should inform the teacher by e-mail at least two days before.

Evaluation: The final grade refers to the achievement of educational objectives:

- preparation concerning a limited number of fundamental topics and ability to analyze that emerges only with the help of the teacher, overall correct language: 18-20;

- preparation on a limited number of fundamental topics covered in the course and ability to analyze the fundamental issues, correct language: 21-24;

- preparation on a large number of topics, ability to make autonomous choices of critical analysis, mastery of specific terminology: 25-29;

- comprehensive preparation on all topics covered in the course, ability to make independent choices of critical analysis, deep knowledge of specific terminology: 30-30L.

It should be noted that if the emergency conditions for Covid-19 continue, the modalities of the final test may change.

2) Exam reservation and dates of exam sessions

Students can make a reservation of the exam at: (https://almaesami.unibo.it/almaesami/welcome.htm ). Studends that have regularly attended the course can take the exam at fixed dates within specific periods of the academic year. All the other students can take the exam in other dedicated dates. Student who fails the exam may take it again three weeks after the previous attempt.

Teaching tools

Power point presentations, virtual labs, databases, practical laboratory work.

During the lessons digital tools will be used to support and integrate lectures, e.g. specific apps (Kahoot!) for conducting surveys and questioning sessions.

Students with special needs are invited to contact the teacher by e-mail to illustrate them and to organize the teaching and examinations in the most suitable way.

Office hours

See the website of Gloria Isani