GENE30060 Undergraduate Research 1

Academic Year 2024/2025

This is a laboratory and research-based module, aimed at students with a strong interest in genomics, genetics, and microbiology. The module will require a significant amount of independent work. You will characterise yeasts living in the Irish environment, and attempt to isolate species that have never been previously described. Samples will be collected from soil, sand or equivalent from sites around Ireland (at least 20 sites per student). Yeasts and other microorganisms will be cultured from the samples, and individual species will be identified by sequencing regions of the ribosomal DNA. Individual species will be selected (based on criteria decided by students) full genome sequencing, using very new whole genome sequencing techniques, including minION technology. Genome sequences will be assembled in a separate module (GENE30070). You will have the opportunity to design and implement a research project from scratch. You will obtain detailed laboratory experience (media preparation, culturing microorganisms, DNA sequencing) and experience in applying bioinformatics methods. Your research is likely to lead to novel findings, such as the identification of new species, or sequencing genomes of currently uncharacterised species. In previous years, students identified the first European isolates of one parent of the lager yeast, which was covered in the New York Times, The Economist, and the general scientific press. The module is restricted to 16 students. It can be taken alone, but students are urged to consider taking together with GENE30070 and/or GENE30040. The module will be examined by continuous assessment, including maintaining a lab book, group work, and individual assignments. There will NO essay type end-of-trimester exam.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

1.Learn how to prepare media and solutions for laboratory research
2. Learn how to propose and test scientific hypotheses
3. Obtain state-of-the-art training in genome sequencing
4. Learn how to design and implement a complete research project.

Indicative Module Content:

Laboratory based research module. 6 hours per week, mostly spent in the lab.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours




Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Active task/based learning: carrying out independent laboratory experiments and maintaining an online laboratory manual. Group work: contributing to group project and presentations. Enquiry-based learning: designing experiments based on findings. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Recommendations:

It is recommended that students have taken modules in molecular biology (e.g. BMOL20090) and microbiology (e.g. MICR0050)

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Group Work Assignment: Submit group projects, with presentations between weeks 7 and 9 n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Report(s): Laboratory report. Formative (feedback) supplied every week, graded report due in week 12. n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Exam (In-person): Final exam, short questions. n/a Alternative linear conversion grade scale 40% No


Carry forward of passed components
Remediation Type Remediation Timing
In-Module Resit Prior to relevant Programme Exam Board
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, on an activity or draft prior to summative assessment
• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Summative feedback will be provided on laboratory notebooks. Comments on performance on exam will be provided post assessment. Comments to groups will be provided post assessment.

Name Role
Dr Lisa Lombardi Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Professor Kenneth Wolfe Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor Peadar Ó Gaora Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor Tadhg Ó'Cróinín Lecturer / Co-Lecturer