Degree course: 
Corso di Second cycle degree in BIOMEDICAL SCIENCES
Academic year when starting the degree: 
Academic year in which the course will be held: 
Course type: 
Compulsory subjects, characteristic of the class
First Semester
Standard lectures hours: 
Detail of lecture’s hours: 
Lesson (40 hours), Laboratory (24 hours)

To follow this course the student must have a good understanding of the
basic mechanisms underlying the flow of genetic information from gene
to protein and the main techniques of molecular biology and genetic
engineering. Moreover, the student must be able to understand English
and be capable of reading scientific publications used as educational

Final Examination: 

The learning outcomes will be assessed through the final oral exam of approximately 30 minutes and through a presentation (optional) in the class of selected parts of specific articles. The final examination starts with questions regarding the topics of the course and assessing the common knowledge of the regulation of eukaryotic gene expression and epigenetics with a focus on understanding the molecular mechanisms and techniques useful for their studies. Moreover, the exam will test the student’s ability to use the techniques of modern molecular biology to propose properly designed experiments aimed at addressing a specific problem inherent to the course. The presentation in the class will assess the student’s capability of carefully examining scientific results and the used methods.
The final mark, expressed in thirties will depend on the marks of the presentation (up to 2) and the oral exam (up to 28). Honours will be given only to students that demonstrate the capacity of integrating the different molecular mechanisms and experimental approaches. The exam will be considered passed with a final mark equal or higher than 18/30.

Voto Finale

The course aims at providing the basic knowledge regarding the
principles and the molecular mechanisms of gene expression regulation
in eukaryotic cells considering the importance of chromatin structure,
epigenetic mechanisms and the role played by non-coding RNAs. The
topics treated in the program are selected to provide students with a
general knowledge and to highlight their importance in translational
research applied to human health with focus on the fields of neurobiology
and oncology. Thanks to the practical part of the course, the student will
be capable of working in a group and of evaluating and interpreting
experimental data.
At the end of the course, the student will be capable of:
- describing the principles of the molecular mechanisms of epigenetics,
regulation of gene expression, and chromatin structure;
- explaining the consequences of alterations of these mechanisms for
human health;
- critically evaluating scientific literature;
- defining experimental strategies to address questions in these topics.

The lectures will cover the following arguments:
• Introduction to the concept of epigenetics and some examples of
epigenetic regulation in the animal world. A review of the transcriptional
regulation in eukaryotes and some of the commonly used techniques of
molecular biology.
• Chromatin as a regulator of gene expression; chromatin structure; the
nucleosome; ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling complexes; posttranslational
modifications of histones and the associated writers and
readers; the histone code; pathologies associated with defects in chromatin structure.
• DNA methylation as an epigenetic mechanism: distribution in different
organisms; techniques for its analysis; enzymes involved in specifying the
pattern of DNA methylation in mammals; the role of DNA methylation and
experimental approaches to understand its functions; the readers of DNA
methylation and their mode of action; pathologies associated with
defects in DNA methylation. Hydroxymethylcytosine as a novel
epigenetic signal.
• Non-coding RNAs as novel regulators of gene expression. Different
classes of non-coding RNAs and their biosynthesis; their involvement in
regulating gene expression; associated pathologies.
• Imprinting.
• X-inactivation.
All arguments will include an explanation of different experimental
approaches aimed at demonstrating the current evidence. The students
will thus review the main molecular biology techniques used in modern
laboratories. Special emphasis will be given to the concept of proper
controls allowing a correct interpretation of the experiments.
24 hours of laboratory (12 hours only for Basic & Applied Biomedical
Sciences students) will be used to perform and analyse experiments
regarding chromatin accessibility and real-time PCR and other subjects
treated in the course.


The course consists of 40 hours of lectures and a practical part in the
laboratory of 24 hours (12 for Basic & Applied Biomedical Science
The lectures will be based on PowerPoint presentations with the
additional use of movies to favour the comprehension. Selected figures
from scientific literature will be used to discuss specific examples of the
treated topics. The students will be urged to participate in active
discussions throughout the course.
For the laboratory part the student must have a lab-coat.

The teacher is available for appointments via mail: c.kilstrupnielsen@