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SS022 Laboratory Skills for Biology and Health

This short lab-school provides the opportunity for laboratory-based practical work, helping to build confidence in practical science techniques including recording, interpreting and reporting data.

The module consists of practical work that you will carry out in laboratories and will build on learning outcomes from your study of other modules, particularly those from S285, S290, S295, S296, SK297, SK298 and SK299. The laboratory work will focus on the acquisition of, and screening for, antibiotic resistance in bacterial populations.

Information for 2024

Venue: The Open University Campus, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA
Lab-school dates: Tuesday 18th June to Thursday 20th June 2024 (this week is now full). A second (and final) week has been released: Tuesday 25th to Thursday 27th June
Tuition Fee:  £300
Registration: for SS022 can only be completed by telephone. Call +44 (0) 300 303 5303. Lines are open between 8am and 5:30pm Monday to Friday. Places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis and registration will close on 20 May 2024.

Information for 2025

Venue: The Open University Campus, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA
Lab-school dates: Tuesday 17th June to Thursday 19th June 2025. 
Tuition Fee:  £318
Registration: we will update this page when registration for 2025 is open.

Travel and accommodation
You will need to book and pay for your own accommodation, travel and food associated with the lab-school. The tuition fee for the course and these additional costs cannot be covered with a part time tuition fee loan. When booking accommodation please be aware of transportation requirements as the campus is several miles from the centre of Milton Keynes.

Experiments and techniques covered in the practical sessions 

Working in small teams, you will gain 18 hours of ‘hands-on’ laboratory practice with several widely used molecular and microbiological techniques to investigate bacterial antibiotic resistance. 

Techniques used include PCR, qPCR, agarose gel electrophoresis, bacterial plasmid transduction, micro-pipette handling, sterile working, serial dilution for bacterial enumeration and analysis of GFP expression. The laboratory protocols are designed to develop both good laboratory practice (GLP), good microbiological practice (GMP) and appropriate application of health and safety requirements in laboratory work.

You will perform 5 different activities:

Experiment 1: Selection of bacterial colonies using antibiotic resistance.

Experiment 2: Enumeration of bacterial inactivation

Experiment 3: Bacterial conjugation

Experiment 4: PCR amplification and agarose gel electrophoresis

Experiment 5: qPCR analysis of antibiotic resistance genes.

In addition to the hands-on laboratory work, you will also be developing your problem solving, numeracy, time-management, collaboration and communication skills.

There are no assignments for this practical school.  However, to pass and for your attendance to be included in your academic transcript on StudentHome, you will need to meet the participation requirement of attending more than 80% of the school. Whilst at the school you will record data, analysis and interpretations in your lab manual.  You may then include this as evidence within your portfolio for employability purposes.

What students completing SS022 in 2023 said about the lab-school:

“Great few days, learnt a lot and great to put learnt knowledge into practice.”

“Really useful addition to my studies and great to contextualise practical techniques.”

“I really appreciate the fact that this lab school was available to those studying standalone modules, not just those doing a full degree. This has helped unlock other opportunities for me and I feel a lot more confident. Importantly I also very much enjoyed the lab school!”

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