cod. 07848

Academic year 2023/24
1° year of course - First semester
Academic discipline
Biologia applicata (BIO/13)
Scienze biomediche
Type of training activity
21 hours
of face-to-face activities
3 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Integrated course unit module: MOLECULAR AND APPLIED BIOLOGY

Learning objectives

The course aims to provide the student with the fundamental notions of the molecular mechanisms of the main functions of cells, starting from their morphology and internal organization up to the management of genetic information and the generation of specialized cell types. The contents will be analyzed focusing on the knowledge and learning of the scientific method, with particular attention to promoting the development of a critical evaluation. Consistently, the main educational objective is to stimulate interest in biological disciplines by making use of the hypothetical-deductive reasoning of science. To obtain this result, the knowledge and memorization of the topics will always be achieved through the understanding of the hypotheses and experiments that have led to the most important discoveries and theories in the various branches of biology. This didactic approach will allow the student to acquire critical thinking and the ability to observe phenomena, formulate explanatory hypotheses and experimental tests to verify them. Moreover, this teaching method will promote a pro-active learning prompting the ability to communicate the acquired knowledge and the autonomy in judging and interpreting the results deriving from observation or experiments.



Course unit content

The course of Applied Biology is characterized by the evolutionary approach with which the specific topics will be treated. The theory of evolution as a unifying principle of the biological sciences is the interpretative key of the levels of biological organization (from the molecular activities to the behavior of organisms). Therefore the various topics, especially focused on animal biology, which include the molecular basis of life, cell biology, genetics, reproduction, animal and human behavior are addressed on the basis of in-depth knowledge of the mechanisms of biological evolution. This type of study program is designed to provide graduates in Biomedical Laboratory Techniques with the basic biological culture in order to understand the different levels of organization of living things, the relationship between structures and functions and the consequent laboratory investigation methodologies.

Full programme

1- Biology as a science: the study of life and the scientific method. The unifying principle of biology: The theory of evolution.
2- The chemical basis of life. The biological macromolecules. Origin and evolution of life on Earth.
3- The cell as the fundamental unit of life. Prokaryotes and Eukaryotes. Structure and function of the cell. The cell membrane. Cellular communication and pluricellularity: impact on current scientific research.
4- Cell cycle and reproduction (prokaryotic division and mitosis).
5- Sexual reproduction. Meiosis and the sexual cycles.
6- Genetics. Mendel and the idea of ​​gene. Extensions of Mendelian genetics. Polygenic inheritance. The chromosomal basis of inheritance: Morgan's experiments. Sex chromosomes, sex determination and sex-linked disorders.
7- Examples of human genetics: chromosomal aberrations; autosomal recessive and dominant diseases. The molecular basis of heredity: DNA. From gene to protein: protein synthesis and genetic code. Gene mutations.
8- The mechanisms of evolution. Darwin's theory. The evidence of evolution. The modern synthesis. The Hardy-Weinberg theorem. Microevolution. The concept of species and speciation. Macroevolution.
9- Evolution of man. Evolution of primates. Hominids and the genus Homo. Evolution of the brain and language.
10- Behavioral biology. Proximate causes and remote causes. Instinct and Learning: Nature vs Nurture. Genes and behavior. Behavior development. Endocrine regulation and behavior. Imprinting and attachment theory. Social behavior. Evolutionary Psychobiology and Principles of Darwinian Medicine


Principi di Biologia. Sadava et al., ZANICHELLI
Elementi di Biologia. Solomon et al., EDISES
Fondamenti di Biologia Solomon et al., EDISES
Le basi della biologia. Curtis, et al.. ZANICHELLI

Teaching methods

The course will take place through face-to-face lessons, which will make use of multimedia systems, like image projections, and videos. During the lessons the students will be encouraged to actively interact in a constructive way. The lessons will take place with the help of iconographic material collected in presentations that will be made available to students on the Elly platform. Furthermore, seminars on scientific works (compatible with topics of the programme) chosen and presented by the students, will be promoted. This method
will encourage memorization, learning and analysis skills.

Assessment methods and criteria

The evaluation of this course will be through an oral exam in which the ability to understand and knowledge of the topics covered during the course will be analyzed. Learning and communication skills will be assessed, together with the ability to apply what has been learned for the development of critical and independent thinking.
The mark will be expressed out of thirty and will be averaged with the marks obtained in the other modules.

Other information