BIOL08007 2019 Medical Diagnostics

General Details

Full Title
Medical Diagnostics
Transcript Title
Medical Diagnostics
N/A %
Subject Area
BIOL - Biology
LIFE - Life Sciences
08 - NFQ Level 8
05 - 05 Credits
Start Term
2019 - Full Academic Year 2019-20
End Term
9999 - The End of Time
Tony McCabe
Programme Membership
SG_SMEDI_H08 201900 Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Science in Medical Biotechnology SG_SMEDI_K08 201900 Level 8 Honours Degree Add-on in Science in Medical Biotechnology

Medical diagnostics module is concerned with the use of molecular biomarkers for the detection, diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of disease. Current biomarkers and technologies are discussed and new high-throughput methods and approaches for identification of new markers are described, some of these include microarray analysis, metabolomics and epigenetics. The module discusses the importance of these biomarkers in terms of survival, prognosis and personalised healthcare. The module introduces the concept and role of point of care testing in a modern healthcare environment.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module the learner will/should be able to;


Examine current examples of biomarker use in diagnostics.


Describe array-based, metabolomic and epigenetic methodologies for identification of biomarkers.


Appraise clinical data used for the analysis and discovery of disease markers and their application in clinical tests.


Illustrate the use of biosensors in the point of care analysis and monitoring of disease.


Execute experiments and methods used to identify molecular targets.


Analyse and present experimental data relating to biomarker discovery.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

The module contact time will be split evenly between lectures and laboratory time.

Contact time will contain some tutorial elements which will be used to help students address problem topics and answer questions and provide feedback on assessments.

Lectures can comprise of elements such as: Powerpoint presentations, videos, articles for study and discussion on relevant topics.

The moodle platform will be used as a repository for course material.

Active Learning:

Students will be asked to read and contextualize relevant articles.

Students will be required to research relevant information for the production of experimental reports.



Occasional time will be set aside for tutorials will allow time for students to discuss the quizzes and assessments in a face to face format during which problems can be addressed and additional explanations provided. 

Small group writing tutorials will be provided for students who require additional help in constructing elements of reports (for example data presentation).


Laboratory work:

Students will plan and execute relevant experimental procedures within groups.

The laboratory classes are preceded by introductory lectures, so students are aware of the research question at hand, requirements, learning outcomes and any relevant health and safety concerns. Students are encouraged to raise learning issues, particularly with new techniques.

Module Assessment Strategies

This module has an end of semester exam worth 50% and a laboratory element worth 50%.

The students’ performance will be evaluated through formative and summative assessments. 

Formative assessment:

The formative assessments may be delivered in class and through online quizzes so students can check their own progress Assessments will be provided on an on-going basis throughout the semester and can be taken at a time of the students’ choosing. Typically, they will be made available at the end of particular topics during the module. Online quizzes and review questions and crosswords are provided on the moodle platform, students can access these resources at any time once made available.

Quizzes will be designed in accordance to Bloom’s taxonomy, assessing elements relevant to the level 8 module status.

Summative assessment:

Module theory will be assessed through an end of term exam worth 50% of the module. Relevant elements of the module theory, pertaining to testing for example, will also be assessed during practical evaluation, entailing short quizzes on the practical applications of the module. The laboratory element of the module (50%) will undergo a Practical Evaluation. This evaluation will assess students’ basic laboratory skills and professional attitude, the students’ data presentation and analysis skills as well as their dissemination skills through submission of reports or individual report elements such as abstracts.

The moodle platform will be used by students to upload assignments and used in combination with Turnitin sorftware.

Students, particularly those from overseas, can avail of remote proctoring of exams.

The student must reach an assigned mark in the final exam and achieve 40% overall to pass the module. The student must attend a minimum of 75% in the laboratory element of the module or they may be required to repeat and re-attend the module.

Repeat Assessments

If a student fails to achieve 40% in the module they will be required to resit the exam, resubmit or submit laboratory reports, write a theory assignment or a combination of these.

Module Dependencies


Indicative Syllabus

Examine current examples of biomarker use in diagnostics.

Biomarkers for sample diseases such as: Diabetes, Cystic fibrosis, cancers.


Describe array-based, metabolomic and epigenetic methodologies for identification of biomarkers.

DNA, protein and tissue microarrays. metabolomics and epigenetic analysis.



Appraise clinical data used for the analysis and discovery of disease markers and their application in clinical tests.

Kaplein-Meier curves. Data clustering and correlations. New biomarker/array-based assays on the market


Illustrate the use of biosensors in the point of care analysis and monitoring of disease

Point of care testing and medical biosensors.


Execute experiments and methods used to identify molecular targets.

Immunohistochemistry and tissue array staining. Molecular detection of disease.


Analyse and present experimental data relating to biomarker discovery.

Present data through elements such as abstracts, introductions and discussions, encompassing elements of graph, image and data tables.

Coursework & Assessment Breakdown

Coursework & Continuous Assessment
50 %
End of Semester / Year Formal Exam
50 %

Coursework Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Quizzes Formative Assessment - % OnGoing 1,2,3,4
2 Laboratory work Practical Practical Evaluation 50 % OnGoing 3,5,6

End of Semester / Year Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Final Exam Theory exam Final Exam Closed Book Exam 50 % End of Semester 1,2,3,4

Full Time Mode Workload

Type Location Description Hours Frequency Avg Workload
Lecture Tiered Classroom Lecture 2 Weekly 2.00
Laboratory Practical Science Laboratory Laboratory Practical 2 Weekly 2.00
Independent Learning UNKNOWN Self Study 3 Weekly 3.00
Total Full Time Average Weekly Learner Contact Time 4.00 Hours

Required & Recommended Book List

Recommended Reading
2007-06-06 Bioarrays Humana Press
ISBN 1588294765 ISBN-13 9781588294760

This book provides an integrated collection of timely articles on the use of bioarray techniques in the fields of biotechnology and molecular medicine. It is the first book to comprehensively integrate molecular diagnostics and molecular pathology. This book serves as an indispensable reference for graduate students, post-docs, and professors as well as an explanatory analysis for executives and scientists in biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.

Recommended Reading
2007-03-30 Functional Protein Microarrays in Drug Discovery CRC Press
ISBN 0849398096 ISBN-13 9780849398094

As central actors in most biological functions, proteins are the subject of intense study. This has driven the development of increasingly sophisticated approaches for the study of proteins, which has extended to proteomic level methodologies. Yet currently no book has addressed all aspects of functional microarrays in a coherent and integrated fashion. Until now. Meeting the need for comprehensive and authoritative information, Functional Protein Microarrays in Drug Discovery provides an up-to-date overview of the field and the background required to actually design and develop arrays or perform and analyze array experiments. The book is divided into five main sections that address critical aspects of the field. The first focuses on the generation of functional protein content, the first and perhaps most challenging aspect of protein microarrays. The second section describes standard and state-of-the-art fabrication methods, focusing on issues of particular significance to functional protein microarrays. Similarly, the third section reviews current and next generation approaches to assay detection. The fourth and largest section, dedicated to applications, spans the breadth of published applications, from biomolecular interaction discovery and characterization to humoral response biomarker profiling, enzyme substrate identification and drug discovery. The final section addresses fundamental computational issues including image and data analysis as well as data visualization. While the fields early successes have set the stage for rapid growth, it is not without challenges. Indeed, challenges are to be expected in a fast-moving, interdisciplinary endeavor such as this, where molecular biology, protein chemistry, bioinformatics, engineering, and physical sciences intersect. As the first integrated reference for functional protein microarrays, this book helps you not only meet the challenges but also excel in your research. X. Y. Zhu, one of the contributors to this text, was recently featured in an article in Austin's The Statesman. Daniel E. Levy, editor of the Drug Discovery Series, is the founder of DEL BioPharma, a consulting service for drug discovery programs. He also maintains a blog that explores organic chemistry.

Module Resources

Non ISBN Literary Resources

Proteomics Today: Protein Assessment and Biomarkers Using Mass Spectrometry, 2D Electrophoresis,and Microarray Technology. Mahmoud H. Hamdan, Pier G. Righetti.  Wiley-Interscience 2005

Molecular Fluorescence: Principles and Applications.Bernard Valeur. Wiley-VCH 2001

Biosensors (The Practical Approach Series).Jon Cooper and Tony Cass. Oxford University Press 2004

Journal Resources

Samples articles:

The Use of Immunohistochemistry for Biomarker Assessment-Can It Compete with Other Technologies? October 2011. Toxicologic Pathology 39(6):988-1002

HER2 expression in breast cancer primary tumours and corresponding metastases. Original data and literature review. British Journal of Cancer (2004) 90, 2344 – 2348

Existing and Emerging Technologies for Point-of-Care Testing. Clin Biochem Rev 35 (3) 2014

Development of PD-1 and PD-L1 inhibitors as a form of cancer immunotherapy: a comprehensive review of registration trials and future considerations. Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer20186:8


Other Resources



IT Sligo Moodle module page

Additional Information