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Methods of molecular biology

St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University via Coursera

Overview

The course “Methods of molecular biology” is the first course developed by Al-Farabi Kazakh National University (KazNU) in collaboration and kind support of Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University.

Al-Farabi KazNU is one of the leading universities in Central Asia and is the oldest classical university in Kazakhstan. In 2019/20 it was ranked 165 in the QS World University Rankings and is 18th in the Emerging Europe and Central Asia (EECA) University Rankings.

Molecular biology is one of the most interesting sciences, in which new discoveries are made every day. Initially arising at the intersection of such disciplines as biochemistry, genetics and physics, molecular biology was able to lay the foundation for many interesting achievements of modern engineering mind, which brought an invaluable contribution to the development of medicine, agriculture, and cutting-edge technologies. It studies the structure and properties of proteins and nucleic acids as well as various molecular mechanisms underlying biological processes and the life itself. The study of molecular biology provides a basis for understanding the molecular foundations of the structure, growth, development and functioning of cells and living systems, regulation of gene expression, matrix syntheses, and mechanisms of signal transduction.

This multidisciplinary course will be interesting for students and specialists in the field of chemistry, ecology, mathematics, physics, medicine, and legal sciences, as well as to a wider audience, since it reveals various aspects of molecular biology and its methodological tools in an interesting and comprehensive language. After completing this course, students will be able to:
• See the correlation of molecular biology techniques with advances in related fields of science.
• Understand the specifics of methods related to the study, regulation and application of proteins and nucleic acids.
• Interpret information on differences in molecular biological processes in pro- and eukaryotes.
• Analyze the interaction of regulatory and functional elements of molecular-biological processes.
• Apply the knowledge gained within the course in simulation and modeling, risk assessment, when writing articles, reviews, reports, developing cases and for analysis of the information perceived.

Syllabus

  • Module 1. Molecular biology of viruses
    • From the Module 1. Molecular biology of viruses you will learn about: general and genetic diversity of viruses; basic mechanisms of virus-host interactions; methods of prevention and treatment of viral diseases; viruses used in biological research.
  • Module 2. Molecular biology of bacteria
    • In this module, we will discuss the astonishing diversity of microorganisms, specifics of their shapes and feeding. We will also discuss the main functions of bacteria in the human body, characterization of the genetic apparatus of bacteria, proposed models of bacterial pathogenesis in plants and animals, as well as such techniques as cloning, transformation, along with basic principles of cDNA and gDNA libraries creation.
  • Module 3. Molecular plant biology
    • In this module we will look at the following aspects: the diversity of plant kingdom; mechanisms of plant signal transduction; methods of plant biotechnology and plant breeding, as well as their molecular aspects.
  • Module 4. Molecular biology of animals
    • In this module, we will discuss amazing animal diversity and vital functions, dwelling into even more interesting developmental-reproductive issues. We will end up with the most important techniques of animal biotechnology, essential for agriculture and medicine.
  • Module 5. Molecular biology and medicine
    • Now known as a golden standard of molecular biology, polymerase chain reaction evolved after a series of successful experiments and intriguing discoveries in the field of constantly emerging science. Applications of the technique include DNA cloning for sequencing, gene cloning and manipulation, gene mutagenesis; construction of DNA-based phylogenies, or functional analysis of genes; diagnosis and monitoring of hereditary diseases; amplification of ancient DNA; analysis of genetic fingerprints for DNA profiling (for example, in forensic science and parentage testing); and detection of pathogens in nucleic acid tests for the diagnosis of infectious diseases. Along with review of different types and applications of the polymerase chain reaction, we will discuss such invaluable instruments as molecular markers and sequencing. And of course, we could not omit the pharmacogenomics and gene therapy.

Taught by

Aizhan Zhussupova

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