Advanced Research Methods


Students should learn to define the scope and reach of a scientifically relevant question and know the capabilities and limitations of modern science to answer complex scientific issues. Students should learn to formulate a valid question and find a testable hypothesis, as well as learn how to design an experimental approach to test the hypothesis, identifying potential limitations and proposing alternative strategies.

Within the technical seminars, students should learn the main methods, techniques and model organisms commonly used in biomedical research. Students should learn to identify and select the techniques and experimental approaches best suited to answer specific scientific questions. Furthermore, they should also understand the limitations of current methods and techniques and interpret the experimental results given these limitations.


General characterization





Responsible teacher

Prof. Doutor Duarte Custal Ferreira Barral


Weekly - Available soon

Total - Available soon

Teaching language





The main bibliography or other relevant learning resources will be provided by the scientists that participate in the teaching activities. Whenever applicable, the bibliography will consist in scientific papers that are available as open access or in dedicated repositories accessible by the students. In each edition of the course, the most updated and current bibliography will be provided.

Teaching method

The course includes technical seminars and theoretical /practical classes. Seminars are intended to convey knowledge about different state-of-the-art the methods and newer or more conventional techniques used in biomedical research, illustrated by examples of their practical application. The seminars are presented by researchers or other specialists responsible for infrastructure or technology platforms. The theoretical/practical classes will serve to apply the knowledge acquired in the seminars in planning the experimental approach of a hypothetical research grant proposal, but one that should aim to investigate a real problem. Students will propose the scientific question and the research project.

Evaluation method

The assessment will involve four components: 
-  written grant proposal, detailing the experimental approach to be used and its presentation and discussion (30%); 
-  peer review report of a paper, detailing the experimental shortcomings and its presentation and discussion (30%); 
-  written exam (20%); 
-  participation in class (20%).

Subject matter

This course involves technical seminars and a theoretical/practical component, where students should use the knowledge acquired in the technical seminars to develop the experimental approach of a research project that answers a specific and relevant scientific question. Under the scope of the technical seminars, students should acquire general knowledge about:

-  Bioinformatics;

-  Immunocytochemistry and immunohistochemistry;

-  Fluorescence microscopy;

-  Electron microscopy;

-  Flow cytometry;

-  Techniques associated with different “Omics”;

-  Protein analysis;

-  Whole-genome analysis;

-  RNA analysis;

-  Animal models in biomedical research and disease models (advantages and limitations);

-  3D cultures;

-  Gene delivery methods;

-  Gene silencing and editing;

-  Toxicology assays;

-  Genome modification methods.




Programs where the course is taught: