MEDSCI 720 : Biomedical Research Techniques

Medical and Health Sciences

2021 Semester One (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

An introduction to some of the most commonly used techniques used in today's research laboratories; from tissue culture to confocal microscopy, RT-PCR to mass spectrometry, immunoassay to cloning. Emphasis is placed on understanding the principles behind the techniques, how they are applied to address specific questions, and how to evaluate and use the data they generate.

Course Overview

It is hoped that following completion of this course, students will be well equipped to embark upon research projects with useful knowledge of the techniques covered, how to apply them to address specific research‐based questions, and how to interpret data derived from these applications. It is not the aim of the course to teach students how to perform the various techniques covered ­‐ this can only be achieved with extensive, repeated, supervised, hands-‐on laboratory training that is not feasible in this context. The format of each session may vary according to the individual needs of each topic or presenter. Most sessions will commence with a lecture covering the principles and practice of the technique at hand. Instrumentation can be seen in operation, experimental examples can be examined, and raw data can be viewed will also be held where possible.

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Course Contacts

A/P Deborah Young, Co-Course Director, email:
Dr Raewyn Poulsen, Co-Course Director, email:

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Describe and explain the theory behind a selection of commonly used experimental methods used in biomedical research (Capability 1)
  2. Critically evaluate the capabilities, advantages, and limitations of some commonly used biomedical research techniques (Capability 1 and 2)
  3. Demonstrate ability to apply biomedical research techniques to answer research questions and test hypotheses (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  4. Apply research methodology knowledge to critically evaluate scientific data and its interpretation (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 5)
  5. Identify and apply appropriate research methods to construct a biomedical research proposal (Capability 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Test 40% Individual Test
Assignments 60% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 20 hours of lectures, 40 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 90 hours of work on assignments and/or test preparation.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is expected at scheduled activities including lab visits and lab demonstrations to complement components of the course.
Lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities including lab visits will not be available as recordings.
The course will not include live online events.
Attendance on campus is required for the test.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

Learning Resources

Lecture slides will be made available electronically through CANVAS. Presentations can be modified prior to delivery at the discretion of each lecturer. Additional reading material may be provided at the discretion of each lecturer.

Student Feedback

At the end of every semester students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback and respond with summaries and actions.

Your feedback helps teachers to improve the course and its delivery for future students.

Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and your assessment is fair, and not compromised. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the University Website for information about how to proceed.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.