97025 - Diagnostic and Prognostic Biomarkers

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 Gender equality

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, students will learn how to study biomarkers for disease diagnosis and prognosis. The course will provide essential biostatistics knowledge, intended as statistical reasoning to unlocking the data gathered by researchers and the evidence presented in the scientific literature. Students will learn how to use this knowledge to critically interpret data concerning medical biomarkers, prediction models, markers of therapeutic outcomes, decision tools derived from the application of –omics technologies in oncology.

Course contents

Lecture 1: Predictive, diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers; Biomarkers in treatment decision making and monitoring; Optimum biomarker selection, validation and application; Basics of statistics in medical papers. Introduction to GraphPad software.

Lecture 2: The path from biomarker discovery to clinical practice: examples from the real world. In-class exercise with GraphPad.

Lecture3 : How to find biomarker information using scientific websites. From –omic gene expression data to biomarker identification: bioinformatic approaches. In-class exercise with GraphPad.

Lecture 4: Critical reading of research papers. Business opportunities with biomarkers. In-class exercise with GraphPad.


Original research articles and slides will be provided by the lecturer

Teaching methods

The course will be structured as follows

- frontal lectures with PowerPoint slides

- in-class exercises with GraphPad software (Prism)

- discussion of original research articles on topics related to the lectures


As concerns the teaching methods of this course 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] on Health and Safety online.

Assessment methods

Student learning will be checked at the end of the course with an oral exam.

Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, exams could be held at distance on Microsoft Teams platform.

The final mark will be calculated as the weighted mean (based on CFUs) of the marks obtained in all the courses of FRONTIERS IN MEDICAL RESEARCH (I.C.).

A mark above or equal to 18/30 in each module of the Integrated Course is required to obtain the final assessment.

Teaching tools

Teaching slides and materials will be made available at Unibo e-learning website virtuale.unibo.it

Office hours

See the website of Manuela Ferracin