Teaching plan for the course unit



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General information


Course unit name: Biotechnological Applications

Course unit code: 569689

Academic year: 2019-2020

Coordinator: Isidoro Meton Teijeiro

Department: Department of Biochemistry and Physiology

Credits: 5

Single program: S



Estimated learning time

Total number of hours 125


Face-to-face and/or online activities



-  Lecture





-  Group tutorial





-  Field trip




Supervised project


Independent learning






Further recommendations

To facilitate the student’s work, the student has free access to the internet and on-line scientific journals in the library of the University of Barcelona. The University of Barcelona has implemented a virtual platform based on Moodle, called "Campus Virtual", where the subject has a specific location. It is a very dynamic system where presentations, reports and supplemental material required for the student’s work can be found. In adition, this platform promotes interactive relationship between professors and students through discussion forums, scheduled on-line tests, homework presentations, etc. From this platform, enrolled students can download the material needed to follow the course.



Competences to be gained during study


The students should have learning skills enabling them to continue studies in a self-directed or autonomous way.


To improve the ability to work autonomously and with initiative to undertake new challenges.





Learning objectives


Referring to knowledge

To provide an overview of biotechnology and its applications.

To understand key concepts and models used by biotechnologists.

To develop the capacity to apply molecular biotechnology techniques in different situations and disciplines.

To know practical applications of biotechnology, with special emphasis in challenges inherent to translating scientific discoveries into a successful business.

To facilitate students to get familiarised with business principles in biotechnological companies.



Teaching blocks


1. Theory sessions

*  Sessions:

1) Animal-free functional tests for toxicology, risk assessment, and drug discovery.

2) Clinical Decision Support: a Systems Medicine approach.

3) Role of ADME in Drug Discovery: in vitro screening methodology and in vivo models.

4) Biotechnology for the production and evaluation of iminosugars as novel functional food ingredients.

5) From concept to preclinical proof-of-concept: a road map to the discovery of protein-protein interaction inhibitor drugs.

6) Therapeutic mAbs in oncology.

7) Chem to Biotech, a succesful strategy for using microbial fermentation in white biotech.

8) Use of alternative substrates and strategies to improve biomedical imaging. Application in atherogenesis.

9) Nanotechnology: from basic research to market.

10) Biotechnological applications to personalized medicine.

11) Enantioselective production of (R)-3-quinuclidinol.

12) Homologous therapy to induce reproduction in fish.

13) Genes from the oceans: the case of rhodopsins.

14) Metabolic Systems Biology and its applications.

15) Development of diagnostic and therapeutic tools in the quest to improve human health in the development of therapeutic, biological solutions for cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.

16) Plant cell and organ cultures as a source of phytochemicals.

2. Visiting biotech companies

*  During the course, it may be scheduled to visit biotech companies, such as BIOKIT.

The purpose is to visit companies where molecular biotechnology is used for the production process. During the visit, scientific staff members of the company will explain to the students the challenge of selecting and developing new products that could be useful and deliver a positive return on investment. The visit may involve starting-up companies and big companies well established in food or pharma markets. During the visit, the students will have the opportunity to interact with staff from different working areas of the company: Research, Development & Application to Production, and Sales & Marketing.



Teaching methods and general organization



Classroom lectures, in which major areas of biotechnological applications are presented by internationally recognised experts from different fields:

i) Industry and environment (i.e. professionals with broad experience in the field will use case studies to show how industry uses microbes or enzymes to convert biomass to high added value compounds and optimisation of the use of bacteria to decompose wastes to produce fuel).

ii) Food production (i.e. experts in genetic enginneering and DNA mapping will explain how can this technology be used to develop new crop varieties with reduced impact on the environment and to improve livestocks and crops for a greater yield and better quality. Practical examples will include development of rice resistant to pathogens).

iii) Biomedicine (i.e. pharmaceuticals: the use of microbes, plant or animals to produce antibiotics and other therapeutic compounds, the use of yeast as a tool for drug discovery and the use of biotechnology to develop new tools for diagnostics and genetic counselling).




Official assessment of learning outcomes


Attendance at 80 % of programmed lectures is mandatory to pass the course. Learning outcomes (% corresponding to the final qualification):

    - Test assessing acquired knowledge: 35 %

    - Work assigned by professors and submitted by the student: 45 %

    - Class attendance: 20 %