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Study contents

The B.Sc. in Molecular Medicine incorporates subjects in basic science as well as those in preclinical and theoretical medicine:

1. Physics Module

The principals of physics are explained and illustrated in this minor subject for students in the natural sciences. Topics include mechanics, deformable body mechanics, oscillations and waves, heat theory, electricity and magnetism, geometric optics, wave optics, atomic physics, and nuclei and particles.

Recommendation: Preparatory course in mathematics (prior to start of the first semester). This course details the basics of mathematical methods (differential, integral and probability calculations) and sets a foundation for their application in physics.

 

2. Chemistry Module

Encompassing both general and inorganic chemistry, foundational principles in the following themes are illustrated and explained: chemical equilibrium, acids and bases, oxidation and reduction, atomic and energy theory, chemical bonds, and the chemistry of metals and their compounds.

Within organic chemistry, an understanding of the important classes of organic chemistry, organic reactions, as well as the functions and applications of organic compounds in vitro and in vivo will be acquired.

 

3. Biochemistry / Molecular Biology Module

Focusing on the chemistry of life processes, these subjects focus specifically on the molecular structure of biological substances (amino acids, proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, hormones) and the mechanisms of metabolism (enzymes and the integration of metabolism). An understanding of molecular mechanisms of signal transmission and conduction, the integrity and recombination of genetic information, as well as immune defence and carcinogenesis will be acquired.

 

4./5. Molecular Medicine I and II Module

Virchow's disease theory describes pathological processes as malfunctions of normal cellular life processes, and consequently, requires a thorough understanding of cells and their properties. With this in mind, the Molecular Medicine Modules provide foundational knowledge of the structure, function and differentiation of eukaryotic cells. Mechanisms of DNA replication and repair, gene expression and regulation, protein folding and secretion, cell to cell interactions, signal transduction, as well as cell death and the adaptive immune system are all addressed. The principles of molecular and cell biology are deepened by means of selected clinical scenarios taken from the fields of genetic and tumour disease, and their importance in such pathological processes is clarified. The histological properties of basic tissues, the microscopic anatomy of the organs, as well as various molecular and cell biological techniques are the subject of practical courses.

 

6. Physiology Module

Students will learn principles underlying the regulation of vegetative bodily functions including general cell physiology, respiration and acid-base balance, cardiovascular function, renal function, digestion, and endocrinology. In neurophysiology, the mechanisms of signal transmission and information processing will be detailed. These include neuronal structure and function, ion channels, saltatory conduction, synaptic transmission, muscle contraction control, sensorimotor functions, sensory physiology, and integrative functions of the CNS.

 

7. Physical Chemistry Module

In this module, focus is placed on quantitative descriptions of material properties and the processes of chemical reactions. Kinetic gas theory and thermodynamics are also discussed, followed by foundational principles in chemical kinetics, electrochemistry, and spectroscopy. In laboratory work, these topics will be further illustrated and deepened along with themes related to experimental work, data evaluation, and documentation.

 

8. Human Genetics and Developmental Biology Module

The different sub-areas of Human Genetics are presented with a strong emphasis on molecular mechanisms and methods of researching genetic diseases. Among a range of issues, the different inheritance modes of monogenic and multifactorial hereditary diseases are explained. By means of various hereditary diseases –including genomic and triplet repeat diseases, tumour predisposition syndromes, cortical development disorders, and epigenetic diseases – the molecular basis and clinical consequences of disease are also discussed. The classic technologies used in these areas including coupling analysis and the new sequencing technologies are presented and their application to human genetics is discussed. Additionally, the principles of clinical and molecular cytogenetics are explained and illustrated, and microarray technology for the analysis of chromosomal abnormalities explained. During the seminar component, each student presents a current scientific publication with the aim of deepening knowledge and stimulating discussion.

In Developmental Biology, the embryonic development of the most important model organisms is described, and the methodological approaches used in developmental biology and developmental genetics presented.

 

 

9. Anatomy Module

The following macroscopic structures of the human body are explained and illustrated: skeleton; joints; muscles and musculoskeletal system; physical arrangement of the chest and abdominal situs including the cardiovascular system; respiratory tract; digestive tract; endocrine organs; urinary and genital organs; anatomy of the peripheral and central nervous system including brain, spinal cord, cranial nerves, and spinal nerves; and the anatomy of the sensory organs. Both tissue and organ structure are further clarified within the framework of microscopic anatomy. In developmental biology, early human development and the development of organ systems including the nervous system are presented.

 

10. Microbiology, Virology and Immunology Module

Lectures address foundational concepts in microbiology and the accompanying seminars focus on molecular biological techniques in medical microbiology. Emphasis is placed on the molecular basis of bacterial pathogenicity with basic knowledge consolidated via genetic engineering laboratory work in bacterial genetics.

Molecular principles are central to virology and the most important medically significant virus families are discussed. New vaccination strategies and viral vectors are explained, and virology-based laboratory work including specific exercises is also undertaken.

Immunological principles required for understanding pathogen-host cell interactions are explained and illustrated. A strong focus is placed on the interplay between the body and microorganisms. Further key topics include autoimmune reactions, immunodeficiency, and allergies.

 

11. Mandatory Elective Internship Module

Following an initial briefing, students select and work on current research projects of their chosen working group. Students may select a working group from the fields of biochemistry / molecular biology, chemistry, developmental biology, genetics and human genetics, immunology / immunobiology, microbiology, molecular medicine, neurobiology, neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, pathology, pharmacology / toxicology, or virology. Throughout the process, students develop both basic and specific skills in methods employed to address research questions and learn to apply these methods in an increasingly independent manner. Careful documentation and (self-critical) evaluation of results are further essential focal points. Parallel to the acquisition of practical skills, theoretical familiarization with the research subject takes place through self-study of literature – as recommended by workgroup leaders – and through discussions within the workgroup itself.

 

12. Career-oriented competencies

In the area of career-oriented competencies, students are afforded the opportunity to customise a section of ​​their course with the help of a range of targeted offers provided by specialised lecturers from diverse areas of science, business, and society. Conceived as door openers to the professional world, these subject areas enable students to establish their own interdisciplinary profile and gain insights into various professional fields, as well as to become acquainted with current training methods, negotiation and conflict resolution strategies, media and IT fundamentals, and languages. All subject areas represent a range of key qualifications essential for a newcomer’s successful entry into the world of work.

Given the essential nature of these career-oriented competences for the professional practitioner of molecular medicine, the following interdisciplinary courses are included as part of the compulsory curriculum.
 

12.1. Medical terminology

This course introduces the origin and current use of medical terminology as used in expert discussions and in doctor-patient communication. As with all technical language, medical terminology provides a means through which specific communication purposes can be efficiently and successfully achieved. These purposes are presented within the context of research work, statistical analysis, and clinical practice. In addition, attention is drawn to the limitations of technical language in doctor-patient communication. Lastly, a basic vocabulary of terminology as well as knowledge of Latin grammar rules and their application to the composition of complex anatomical expressions is detailed and explained.



12.2. Scientific English

Given the English language’s central role in scientific text composition, this course focuses on deepening and expanding knowledge of "Scientific English". Emphasis is placed on explaining and illustrating the application of specialist vocabulary in research-oriented medicine. In addition to reading and writing English texts, oral presentations are also practiced.

 
12.3. Ethical principles

This course introduces students to the ethical debates currently underway in selected intensively discussed areas of science and technology. These areas include, amongst others, stem cell research, human research, reproductive medicine, genetic diagnosis, synthetic biology, and animal experimentation. On the basis of such examples, an overview of ethical theory building, including the nature of various ethical theories (incl. utilitarianism, deontology, and hermeneutical ethics), is elucidated.


12.4. Medical statistics

The statistical methodologies and modelling techniques used to describe life processes are illustrated and applied to selected questions in clinical and experimental medicine. Emphasis is placed on performing simple statistical analyses along with their correct use and assessing the adequacy of any interpretation of statistical results. Additionally, by explaining the basic principles of experimental and observational study design and analysis, the identification of relationships between the clinical question and an associated statistical concept or method is made possible. The principles underlying a search and evaluation of the literature are also taught, and practical exercises employing a statistical software package are offered so as to clarify theoretical matters using real examples of data description and evaluation.


12.5. Bioinformatics

Computer-based genome analysis is central to bioinformatics with important aspects including identifying regulatory elements in nucleic acids, annotating functional structures of proteins through sequence comparisons, and the modelling of cellular networks and metabolic pathways. In this course, knowledge of relevant databases, associated data structures, as well as the bioinformatic approach, itself, are illustrated and explained. Knowledge in this area is especially important given current developments in individualized medicine, which seeks to extract useful information from the patient's genome analysis.

 

The module manual and the module descriptions can be found under "Modules".