The Biomedicine BSc programme has a strong research focus and every course that we do we have laboratory practicals. In the next couple of paragraphs you can explore some of the course labs that I’ve found the most exciting!
1 . Acid & Base lab
Course: Introduction to Biomedical Science, Semester 1
It’s your first time in the lab! You get to wear your present from KI, the brand new white lab coat! And haha, how do you even work in those huge blue gloves you’ve got?! It turns out that they are for washing your lab glassware hehe, not for handling the chemicals.
All in all, the lab is just observing a solution to change its color due to pH changes. Nevertheless, one must admit that we look like we are doing some real rocket science with those goggles on!
Picture: Sarah definitely looks like a rocket scientist! ; )
2 . Lipid lab
Course: Biochemistry, Semester 2
Now things are getting real! What do I mean by that? This is definitely a more hands-on-biology lab than in the organic chemistry course. Now we are extracting lipids from our own blood! One person from the lab group is a blood donor and we carry out several steps of extracting the lipids.
At the end of this lab we analyzed the extracted lipids with the gas chromatography method. Having done that, we could make quite good guesses about what our labmate had for breakfast that day 😀 All by identifying the lipids that we found in the blood!
Picture: Blood cells and plasma separated in the tube and dried lipids on the bottom of the flask.
3 . Genetically modifying bacteria and making it glow
Course: Cell Biology, Semester 2
Have you always been curious about how to genetically modify an organism? In this lab you get the chance to do it yourself! Even if bacteria E.coli is not the most complex organism, it’s an amazing feeling that you can make it glow!
To modify the bacteria we used a transfection method called heat shock. This means that you “shock” the bacteria with high temperature to make it uptake the new DNA. If that successfully happens, then after a day or two you’ll see that your bacteria glows! Depending on what gene you have introduced in your bacteria, it will produce a different fluorescent protein and shine in different colors! 🙂
Picture: Green and pink fluorescent bacteria vs the not-successfully-modified bacteria (gray and not shiny dots on the plates).
4 . Do you carry resistant bacteria in your nose?
Course: Immunology, Semester 3
You must have heard about the scary antibiotic resistance. What if you found out that there are some resistant bacteria living in your nose?
In this lab we took a specimen from our noses and let the bacteria grow on special agar plates with different substrates (eg. mannitol). After looking at how the bacteria grows on the different plates we could identify the bacteria. Plus we did two kinds of bacterial antibiotic resistance testing!
It turned out that quite some people in our class had bacteria that was very resistant to some drugs. In the picture below on the right side you can see that my bacteria grows well in quite high concentrations of FU – fusidic acid.
Picture: On the left – mannitose test on the mannitol agar plate. On the right – paper slips with augmenting drug concentration towards the outside of the agar plate.
5 . Determining your blood group
Course: Molecular Medicine, Semester 5
I’ve noticed that I especially like the labs that can be
easily related to our own lives! The fifth lab I’ve selected
is a very recent lab that I did as a biomed 3rd year.
This lab was short but exciting because we took a small blood sample from our fingers and could determine our blood group! The agglutination (blood clotting) tests that we did tell us what antibodies we have in our blood plasma and what antigens are present on our red blood cells. Very important if you want to donate blood and in case someone needs a blood transfusion!
Picture on the right: Am I A, B, AB or O blood group?
Usually we carry out the experiments in groups of 2-4 people and we have to share a lot of materials. The real deal is being independent in the lab but that will come when you do your bachelor thesis (or during a summer internship. I’ve done two already!)
Now you know a little more about what to expect from the course laboratory practicals in the Biomed BSc programme! Here are only some but you can still get a taste for it!
Feel free to ask questions 😉