Introduction to DNA Analysis and Bioinformatics - Laboratory Training Course

Practical Skills required for Genetic Research

The field of genetics and ‘gene cloning’ has been revolutionised by PCR, the Polymerase Chain Reaction. By clever design of primers this technique can be used for classical gene cloning, addition, mutation or deletion of genes, sequencing of DNA, and for the preparation of gene libraries for use in comparative gene expression studies or Next Generation Sequencing. The complete annotated genome sequences of many different organisms are available in free online databases (genomics), as are many analysis tools (bioinformatics).

This two day course offers laboratory-based tuition in the molecular biology techniques needed in almost any field of biological research. Students will be able to use their new skills to express a target gene in a cell line for drug discovery, produce recombinant proteins for therapeutic applications, or identifying species of micro-organisms for diagnosis of infectious diseases.

You will learn how to extract and purify nucleic acids using modern laboratory methods, then use extracted DNA in a polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and analyse the results by agarose gel electrophoresis. You will be introduced to free online programmes and databases that can be used to design primers for PCR, and practice using these online tools to identify species from a gene sequence.

Course overview:

Day 1:

  • Introduction to molecular biology techniques
  • Students collect own cheek cells for DNA extraction
  • Extraction of DNA from cheek cells
  • Introduction to the PCR method, and essential components of the reaction mixture
  • Students set up a PCR reaction mixture using their extracted DNA and programme the amplification cycle.
  • Introduction to online genomics and bioinformatics tools, and their use in primer design
  • Computer activity: design and check a set of PCR primers
  • Agarose gel electrophoresis of PCR samples
  • Discussion of results

Day 2:

  • Introduction to RNA, its uses, and the pitfalls of working with it
  • Students collect own cheek cells for RNA extraction
  • Extraction of total RNA from cheek cells
  • Methods of messenger RNA extraction
  • Agarose gel electrophoresis of RNA samples
  • Discussion of results
  • Video on DNA sequencing and Next Generation Sequencing technologies
  • Computer activity: identification of species

This course introduces essential practical molecular biology skills and we expect that students will understand how to use basic laboratory equipment, make stock solutions, follow UK H&S policies including Risk Assessments and COSHH, and maintain a laboratory note book. Students without any previous laboratory experience should attend the laboratory skills course or laboratory skills summer school before commencing this course. The Discovering Practical Microbiology course and the Introduction to Mammalian Cell Culture form useful complements to this course.

Students are advised to wear comfortable clothes and shoes (ensuring legs and feet are covered when in the laboratory). We advise layered clothing as it can become warm during the course of the day, especially under a lab a coat and gloves.

All personal protective equipment is provided during the course however students should bring a note book for recording their results. Some students might find a laptop or tablet useful to work on the computer assignments and to download images of their gels to take away at the end of the course.

We will happily take photographs of students working in the laboratory which often serve as excellent profile pictures for work related social networking (such as LinkedIn). Our lectures will also endorse your new skills and provide a reference if requested.

We have active links with the recruitment agencies SRG and Network Scientific, students will be provided with the contact details of our recruitment consultants if requested, and references can be provided directly to these agencies.

Courses are carried out with high levels of staffing to encourage questions, interaction and discussion. Refreshments, lunch and snacks are provided during both days of the course; please advise BioGrad of specific dietary requirements at the time of booking.

Accommodation is not included with this course however we are happy to recommend local hotels at the time of booking.


Current Academic Year 2021/2022
Date: 4th June - 5th June 2022
Location: Science Park, Liverpool
Accommodation available?: No
Date: 6th June - 7th June 2022
Location: Science Park, Liverpool
Accommodation available?: No
Date: 27th August - 28th August 2022
Location: Science Park, Liverpool
Accommodation available?: No
Only 1 places left on this course
Date: 29th August - 30th August 2022
Location: Science Park, Liverpool
Accommodation available?: No

Sorry, we don't have any of these courses planned at the moment in the next academic year.


For further information please contact us using this form or email us at


If you are booking this course more than 28 days in advance, you can pay a 25% deposit to secure your place. The outstanding balance is payable 28 days prior to the start of the course. You will be sent an invoice for the remaining balance 6 weeks before the course begins. You can also opt to pay for this course in full after registration.

If you are booking this course less than 28 days in advance, full payment is required after registration.

All payments are taken sucurely with PayPal. All major debit and credit cards are accepted and you don’t need to have a PayPal account.


  • “My lab tutor was a skilful and talented teacher. He was able to simplify complex topics so all of the students could understand and then followed up to ensure we all fully grasped the techniques being taught. He made sure that any errors were rectified immediately so that we were always learning the correct techniques"
    Lucy - Introduction to Genetics
  • "I attended the course because I wanted to work in the pharmaceutical industry but didn't have enough lab based experience. After the course I had experience in some of the most up to date techniques, taught by researchers working in the pharmaceutical industry. During the lunch time I was able to chat with all of the tutors and seek their advice for securing the job I wanted. Through the experience and advice I received I managed to secure a graduate level job in a small pharmaceutical company. I cannot recommend this course enough!"
    Josep (Graduate researcher) - Practical skills in drug discovery
  • "I received excellent tuition from a patient teacher who had an incredible enthusiasm for laboratory research. Under her tutelage and supervision, I acquired many laboratory skills in the area of cell culture techniques and high throughput screening for pre-clinical drug discovery."
    Akang (Research Scientist) - Introduction to mammalian cell culture and Practical drug discovery
  • "This was the first time I had the chance to perform practical laboratory techniques which I had only seen in lectures before this point. The tutors let us try a number of different ways to quantify cells and gave us the time and guidance to perfect our own techniques."
    Mark - Introduction to mammalian cell culture
  • "I was taught by an experienced researcher who gave us the opportunity to work with many different cell types. I was able to see the differences between the morphology and growth rates of different cells for myself. I also had the opportunity to try a number of different techniques which gave me confidence to apply for PhD's requiring cell culture experience."
    Gail (PhD researcher) - Introduction to mammalian cell culture
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