UCL Institute of Cardiovascular Science


Introduction to Molecular Laboratory Methods in Cardiovascular Science

This module will provide an introduction to key molecular contemporary techniques used in cardiovascular research. Students will undertake practical work covering fundamental laboratory skills (pipetting, aseptic techniques etc.) and more advanced genetic/molecular biology methods such as genetic screening, sequencing methods and molecular cloning. This will be complemented by lectures, exercises, e-learning and tutorials on topics related to practical sessions.

Module code: CARD0005

UCL Credits: 15

Module Organiser:Dr Petros Syrris

Learning objectives

Students successfully completing this module should:

  • Have practised fundamental laboratory methods
  • Have acquired a good theoretical understanding of key laboratory techniques related to cardiovascular research
  • Have experienced and be able to use key computer based bioinformatics tools related to cardiovascular research


  • Wednesdays, 10.00am - 12.00 Midday
  • Laboratory sessions Fridays, 10.00 to 13.00 (10 weeks)


  • Introduction and DNA extraction from blood
  • DNA extraction from saliva and tissue
  • Assessment of DNA quantity/quality
  • PCR and agarose gel electrophoresis
  • Purification of PCR products and sequencing reaction
  • Use of DNA sequencer: set up and loading
  • Introduction: plating bacteria
  • Molecular cloning
  • Restriction endonuclease mapping


Method write up. This will include an overview of method(s) used and critical appraisal (1,000 words)50%
Unseen exam on theory and data handling (1 hour)50%

Reading list

This is a suggested reading list, students will be expected to engage with additional readings throughout the module.

Key textbook on Genetics:

Human molecular genetics 4. Tom Strachan and Andrew Read. New York; Abingdon: Garland Science 4th ed. 2011

Key publications:

Buermans HP, den Dunnen JT. Next generation sequencing technology: Advances and applications. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2014;1842(10):1932-1941.

Edwards J, Bartlett JM. Mutation and polymorphism detection: a technical overview. Methods Mol Biol. 2003;226:287-94.

George AL Jr. Use of contemporary genetics in cardiovascular diagnosis. Circulation. 2014;130(22):1971-80.

Metzker ML. Sequencing technologies - the next generation. Nat Rev Genet. 2010;11(1):31-46.

Pearson H, Stirling D. Cloning and mutagenesis: a technical overview. Methods Mol Biol 2003;226:464-499.

Sonnemans DG, de Windt LJ, de Muinck ED, Doevendans PA. Methods in molecular cardiology: the polymerase chain reaction. Neth Heart J. 2002;10(10):412-418.

Taylor CF, Taylor GR. Current and emerging techniques for diagnostic mutation detection: an overview of methods for mutation detection. Methods Mol Med. 2004;92:9-44.