Biology Laboratory Techniques I


The main goal of the course is focused in the linkage between student’s integration in a cell and molecular biology laboratory with the practice of basic methologies in use in this area.

This objective will be permanently accompanied by training in standard safety lab procedures (in prevention and accident) and by the theoretical and practical foundations of the scientific method and scientific writing, and of the basic lab work necessary for researh. In articulation with TLB II (7624), more centred on molecular biology, this course prepare for specific and more differentiated courses.   

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Luís Jaime Gomes Ferreira da Silva Mota, Rosario Mato Labajos


Weekly - 3

Total - 41

Teaching language



There are not previous requirements


Reed. R et al. (2016). Practical skills in biomolecular sciences. 5th ed.  Published by Harlow: Pearson, cop. 

Skoog et al. (2017). Fundamentos de Química Analítica. Tradução da 8ª ed. norte-americana. Published by Thomson

Alberts, B. et al. Molecular Biology of the Cell (6th ed.). (2017). Pulished by W.W. Norton &Company

Madigan , M.T. et al. Brock biology of microorganisms .13th ed. Published by Pearson

Costa, P.M. (2018). The Handbook of Histopathological Practices in Aquatic Environments: Guide to Histology for Environmental Toxicology. Academic Press, Cambridge, MA, USA, 

Teaching method

Any of the four modules of this course comprises theoretical and practical classes via Zoom (1h / week) and laboratory practices in person (2.5 hours / week). The practical classes are expository nature, serving as a complement to the preparation and laboratory classes each week. Learning is complemented by questionnaires resolution in autonomy. via moodle. The  practical classes consist of laboratory sessions with individual  practical work . 

Evaluation method

1.  Attendance:

In order to have attendance (“frequência”) recognized in this course, students have to be present in 2/3 of the practical (P) classes and complete the evaluation elements that are given in EACH OF THE FOUR MODULES of this course.

Students that have a “working-student” status, who are not required to attend P and TP classes, have to conduct an assessment in accordance with the instructions given by the responsible for the course.

Punctuality to the practical classes:

- A 20-min delay, after the 10-min tolerance limit, will be registered as “Did not attend”.

- Three 10-min delays, after the 10-min tolerance limit, will also be registered as “Did not attend”.

Students who do not get their attendance recognized in this curricular unit cannot request to be evaluated through an exam and will have to take this course in a following academic year.

2.  Evaluation:

2.1. Theoretical-Practice/ Practice component (TP/P- 50% , 10/20 points).

 Student’s learning of the contents taught in modules 1/ 2 and 3/4, which are part of the TLB I course, are evaluated independently at the end of each module through a test. The score of each test, which is given on a scale of 0-20 values, will then be used to produce the final grade.

 Test Dates: Module 1/2 – November 16 2021, Module 3/4 – Jannuary 13 2022

 The score is obtained by simple arithmetic average of the two tests, calculated to the hundredth (Modules 1 and 2 - 20% to the final grade, Modules 3 and 4 -30% to the final grade). If a student fails to attend one of the tests, it will be scored with 0 (zero) as the examination through tests cannot be repeated. Medical certificates, or other documents that justify the observed absence, will only be accepted until one week after the day of the non-attended class.

There is no minimum grade.

 2.2. Laboratory Component (LC, 40% - 8 points)

At the end of each module, the evaluation elements (protocols filled with answers to the questions, activities in moodle or evaluation forms) provided by the teacher must be delivered. Each element has a certain value that will be indicated at the beginning of the activity. The distribution of these 8 values ​​by the 4 modules will be as described below: 2.5 values ​​distributed among the different evaluation elements corresponding to module 1; 1.5 values ​​distributed among the different evaluation elements corresponding to module 2; 2 values ​​distributed among the different evaluation elements corresponding to module 3; and 2 values ​​distributed among the different assessment elements corresponding to module 4. The assessment elements delivered by students must be identified with the student''s name and shift (the lack of any of the requested data will be penalized).

2.3. Summative Component. (SC, 10% - 2 values)

At 2 values ​​will be subtracted 0.1 values ​​for each lack of delay in practical classes; 0.2 points for each unjustified absence in practical classes and 0.5 points in case the unjustified absence could compromise the result of the next week''''s practical class.

It will also be penalized, with 0.1 values, the lack of answer or incorrect answers made to the nominal questions at the beginning or during each practical class and which is indicative of the student''''s lack of preparation or commitment to the subject of the module and its respective. laboratory work. The use/participation in forums to solve problems, put proposals for resolution, help colleagues, ask and answer other people´s questions will be evaluated positively.

2.4. Final grade (FG)

The TLBI final grade will be obtained by the weighted average of the various components rounded to the units.

 2.5. Conditions to Obtain Approval

Students must have equal or more than 4.5 values in the 10 values of the theoretical-practical / practical evaluation (TP/P) to be added the values of laboratory evaluation (LC) and summative evaluation (SC).

In order to obtain approval, a student must obtain a final grade-FG (obtained by the weighted average of the laboratory and theoretical-practical / practical components) equal to or greater than 9.5 values.

 FG = (TP/P*0,50) + (LC*0,40) + (SC*0,10) >= 9,5 values

3. Evaluation by Appeal and Improvement of Note

Individual evaluation of content knowledge of theoretical-practical classes and practices.

The written exam will have a maximum duration of 1h. This exam is intended for students who are dissatisfied with the form of continuous assessment (final grade lower than 9.5 points), but frequently with the UC and note in the other assessment components, and for students wishing to improve the grade of the theoretical- practice. Students who do not pass in the current academic year will keep the grade obtained in the laboratory component.

Students who have passed previous years to the year 2020-2020, and who wish to improve the grade, will take an exam for 20 values and will not keep the grade obtained in the laboratory component. This evaluation will incorporate all the subject matter, taking into account the whole of the subject and not just one of the modules in particular.

Attention: CLIP registration for the examination is mandatory.

Alterado: Rosario Mato LabajosEm: 2020-09-26 21:32

Subject matter

Module 1.  Introduction to main equipment and chemical compounds in the laboratory.  Safety procedures: prevention and accident. Hazards in a molecular cell biology laboratory. Measurement of weight and volume. Preparation of solutions. pH determination. Buffer solutions. Basic notions of spectrophotometry. Beer -Lambert Law. Calibration curves: applications on quantitative analyis.  

Module 2.  Introduction to Cell Culture Techniques. Asepsis. Culture media. Culture and isolation of microrganims. Physiological conditions. Lab culture and culture collections. Preservation of microrganisms. 

Module 3. Introduction to Microscopy. Historical Evoution. Techniques. Introduction to transmission bright-field microscopy and phase-contrast microscopy: optics, image formation, operative mode, micrometry. Comparison of different microcopy techniques.  

Module 4. History and purpose of histology. Processing of histological samples: sample collection, fixation, inclusion in paraffins, microtomy, dyes and assembling agents. Safety and quality of histological processing. Main types of animal tissues and identification of fundamental structures in plants and unconventional animal models. Hematoxylin + Eosin and Toluidine Blue staining as background techniques in histology. Histological micrograph. Principles of histochemistry, immunohistochemistry and histopathology.


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