Course Description

A laboratory course illustrating how modern molecular and cell biology research techniques can be used to answer questions about genes and proteins. Experimental systems include bacteria, yeast, plants, and other model organisms. The laboratory component offers the opportunity for hands-on exposure to plasmid cloning, PCR, bioinformatics, gene expression analyses, protein-protein interactions, and protein subcellular localization studies. Additional experimental strategies are discussed in lectures and assignments. This course offers the opportunity to develop laboratory skills that will prepare you for future research project courses, summer research projects and work in biological and biomedical research.

This course involves a serious commitment for students. There are 5 lecture/lab hours per week, and the expectations are that students attend all lectures and labs. Attendance will be taken for every session, and penalties are imposed for missed sessions when the appropriate documentation has not been submitted. Penalties are imposed on both the participation grade and the lab report grades for missed sessions.

There is extensive writing in the assignments for this course. For example, there are two reports to be written in the style of a primary research paper, and each report is ~1000-2500 words in length. Please note that all written work will be submitted to Turnitin, and you will be asked to submit the Academic Integrity Checklist with your assignments. All allegations of plagiarism will be submitted to the Office of Student Academic Integrity.

Part 1:

» Investigating the functions of chromatin regulators in the germ line using a reverse genetic approach

  • Experimental labs: Polymerase chain reaction (PCR), DNA electrophoresis, plasmid cloning, RNA interference (RNAi), use of transgenic C. elegans, phenotypic analysis using fluorescent reporters and microscopy.
  • Computer labs: Primer design, experimental design and data analysis, gene investigation (Wormbase), exploring high throughput sequencing data.

Part 2:

» Elucidating the Function of Components in a Signalling Pathway

Part I. Testing function and interactions of Arabidopsis proteins using a yeast two-hybrid system.

  • Experimental labs: Preparation of plant media, physiological assays, yeast transformation, yeast two-hybrid, and β-galactosidase assays to detect protein-protein interactions.

Part II. Investigating localization patterns of Arabidopsis proteins fused to fluorescent tags.

  • Experimental labs: Fluorescence microscopy to detect subcellular localization patterns in planta.
  • Computer labs: Web tools: Bio-Analytic Resource (BAR); Cytoscape


BIO230H1 / BIO255H1,
BIO260H1 / HMB265H1

Recommended Preparation

BCH311H1 / CSB349H1 / MGY311Y1 taken concurrently

Ancillary Fees

This course has a lab fee of $50.



Contact Hours

8L, 52P

Required Text(s)/Readings

Articles posted on Quercus.

Evaluation (Subject to change)

20 %
4 Tests @ 5 % each

Final Exam
30 %
Scheduled during the exam period

Lab Participation
10 %
Graded on both attendance and participation in labs

Oral poster presentation
10 %

Lab Reports and Assignments
30 %

Last updated on June 15th, 2022