BIOS: Biosciences
University College London BIOS0023: From Genetic Disease to Transport Physiology
Description: The course discusses several genetic diseases in which ion transport, mostly in epithelia, is affected. There is a major focus on how the disease mechanisms have informed on the physiological role of the proteins mutated in these diseases, and therefore, the course will be a good primer on how to understand pathophysiology in general. Several model systems will be introduced which can be employed to assess transport physiology, and they include expression systems for ion channels and transporters, such as Xenopus oocytes and mammalian cells, animal models such as mice, drosophila and zebrafish, as well as the molecular tools necessary to use these expression or model systems. The course will form a good basis for a Masters or PhD in neuroscience and other biosciences. The course will also be of particular interest to genetics and physiology students. The course will enable you to read and understand primary papers and will hone your presentation skills.

Course Organiser: Dr Anselm Zdebik and Prof. Shamshad Cockcroft, Neuroscience, Physiology and Pharmacology, 020 8016 8317/76796259.,
Enquiries: Biosciences Teaching Office, Room G10, Medawar Building; 020 7679 3751, (internal X53751). Administrator: Rani Jandoo. X 54058

Pre-requisites: We expect some background knowledge in biosciences though this is not essential. If you wish to join from a different background, e.g. Natural Sciences, please contact the Course Organiser. This is usually possible. Due to the presentation component of the course, numbers will be capped at 32.

Module outline: This bioscience course aims to advance and consolidate knowledge gained in various courses, particularly to understand how to ask a research question and to understand experimental techniques to answer it, and it will also be relevant to a variety of backgrounds. The course also provides a forum to develop transferable skills such as scientific debate, presentation skills, and understanding primary research papers
Module aims:
1. For students to increase their knowledge of genetics, obtaining genetic and structural information from databases such as OMIM, ensembl and swissprot
2. To understand how to obtain cDNA clones, insert mutations and express in expression systems to study their biophysical properties.
3. To understand how a genetic disease can affect multiple organs, and how to assess these changes can be understood using animal models.

Module objectives:
1. Knowledge of ion transport (sodium, potassium, chloride and phosphate) in the mammalian kidney, lung and inner ear
2. Knowledge of the physiological mechanisms involved in the homoeostasis of these ions
3. Ability to research the literature for information on (patho)physiology and genetics
4. An understanding of how to plan experiments to tackle specific research problems
5.To develop verbal and visual presentation skills
6.To enhance personal and group working skills
Key skills provided by module: Use of databases to generate hypotheses on physiological principles. Use of electronic databases for themed literature searches. Preparing oral presentations for small groups and workshops and contributing to scientific debate.
Module lectures: As listed on the Moodle timetable. Lectures are usually held on Wednesdays (09.00-11.00) and Fridays (09.00-11.00). The venues are listed on the CMIS common timetable. All lectures will begin at 5 minutes past the hour and end at 5 minutes to the hour. Wherever possible, PDF files of presentations will be posted on the Moodle website BEFORE the lecture, but this is not always possible.


Aim: To learn how to communicate scientific research to different audiences and to acquire skills needed to critically review the literature in a broad range of topics in biodiversity, evolution and conservation.

1. Understand how to communicate effectively about science to different audiences.
2. Acquire knowledge of the current literature in selected topics within biodiversity, evolution and conservation.
3. Gain an understanding of the diversity and multidisciplinary nature of research in biodiversity, evolution and conservation

Outline: The course consists of lectures and workshops delivered by academics and other industry colleagues from within UCL, the Natural History Museum London and Zoological Society of London, RSPB, UNEP, NERC and the BBC. The course will be delivered weekly in Term 1. Students will also attend other weekly seminar series in GEE, and other relevant seminars at the Natural History Museum London, and The Zoological Society of London. Assessment will be made through an scientific review article, a blog post and a talk, and these assessments aim to train the studetns in scientific communication in different formats (written and verbal) and to different audiences (other scientists and the general public).