Credits: 5

Schedule: 30.09.2019 - 04.12.2019

Teacher in charge (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

Alexander Frey

Contact information for the course (applies in this implementation): 

For general questions regarding the course organization, scheduling, grading contact the responsible teacher.

For questions related to the experiments please contact the responsible person:

Part I: Prof Jan Deska

Part II: Lecturer Heli Viskari

Part III: Prof. Alexander Frey

Teaching Period (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

I and II

Learning Outcomes (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

After the course the students:

  • will be able to perform basic microbiology and biochemistry laboratory experiments
  • can apply methods used in molecular biology laboratories
  • can identify and use the appropriate means for isolation, separation, purification and identification of (small) organic molecules
  • will be able to plan and conduct basic experimental work by themselves

Content (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

This course provides the theoretical background and basic practical skills required for working in organic chemistry and bioscience lab.

  • use of aseptic technique in the laboratory, culturing pro- and eukaryotic cells
  • working with DNA (PCR, molecular cloning, expression)
  • working with proteins (protein purification, ELISA, SDS-PAGE, Immunoblotting)
  • use of computational tools for analyzing of DNA molecules and in silico cloning
  • synthesis of organic compounds and their isolation/purification based on chromatography and recrystallization techniques
  • spectroscopic and chromatographic characterization of compounds and evaluation of their purities

Details on the course content (applies in this implementation): 

The course is tailored for students of Biosystems and Biomaterials engineering major. The theory for some of the topics we experimentally address in this course is covered in more detail in the Cell Biology course (CHEM-E8120) running in period II. Students from other majors or exchange students are responsible for ensuring that they have the necessary prerequisites and are able to attend all the lab sessions.

Part I: Biotransformation

Yeast as a catalyst for organic synthesis: Saccharomyces cerevisiae plays a key role in food technologies such as brewing and baking that rely on the glycolytic breakdown of glucose during fermentation as central motif. Particularly the post-glycolysis processes triggered by e.g. baker's yeast to convert pyruvate to ethanol have also raised the interest as potential synthetic tools. In the experiment, we exploit the reductive properties of baker's yeast to generate optically active alcohols from enantioselective reduction of β-ketoesters.

PartII: BioBricks for assembling genetic constructs

You will learn about BioBricks and Synthetic Biology. We will explore the potential of BioBricks and how the use of standardized building blocks might revolutionize genetic engineering.

Part III: Saccharomycescerevisiae as model and production organism

We will analyze if and how Saccharomyces cerevisiae can be genetically modified to enable production of recombinant proteins and how productivity might be improved.

Assessment Methods and Criteria (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

Experimentation, planning, practical implementation, reporting, assignments

Elaboration of the evaluation criteria and methods, and acquainting students with the evaluation (applies in this implementation): 

  • active participation and completion of the experimental work (30%)
  1. Prepare yourself for the experiments by reading the manual before the course
  2. if something is unclear have specific questions ready
  3. Be prepared to discuss the work in the lectures
  4. missed laboratory days need to be compensated with written essays

  • reporting of results (oral, written and learning diary (50%)).
  1. Part I: Written abstracts (10%)
  2. Part II: Learning diary and discussion of outcome (15%)
  3. Part III: Written report and oral presentation (15 & 10%)

  • assignments (20%)

Instructions for writing abstracts, report and learning diaries are given on course homepage.

Workload (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

Total 135 h = 5 cr

Lectures and seminars 18h

Laboratory work 70h

Reporting (written and oral) 24h

Assignments 23h

Details on calculating the workload (applies in this implementation): 

Exact time spent on each tasks depends on the working pace of each individual.

Study Material (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

Materials distributed during the course

Details on the course materials (applies in this implementation): 

The course manuals will be shared on MyCourses and hard-copy of laboratory manuals will be distributed.

Course Homepage (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020):

Prerequisites (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

Laboratory safety course CHEM-A1010 or CHEM-E0140 (or alternatively, laboratory safety as part of courses CHEM-A1000 or CHEM-E0100 taught before Academic Year 2017-2018) must have been passed.

Grading Scale (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

Fail, 1 – 5. Grading is based on active participation and completion of the experimental work (30%), reporting of results (50%) and assignments (20%).

Registration for Courses (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

WebOodi, A maximum number of 20 students can be admitted to the course. Priority is given to the degree students in Biosystems and Biomaterials Engineering major. If there is space, other students (Aalto degree students and exchange students) with sufficient background in chemistry and biology can be admitted to the course. After the registration period the teacher of the course will inform registered students if they are accepted into the course.

Further Information (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

The course starts in the second half of period I.






Details on the schedule (applies in this implementation): 

Not all times reserved in WebOodi will be utilized. A detailed time table is shown on the course home page.


Registration and further information