Biomarkers for Precision Medicine (online) MED5488

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Medicine Dentistry and Nursing
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Taught Wholly by Distance Learning: Yes

Short Description

There is an increased need of studies aiming to improve accuracy of disease classifier and develop new biomarkers for future clinical trials. Both pathologists and clinical scientists are uniquely positioned to be able to provide the essential information regarding the use of biomarkers in clinical practice and understand the limitation of laboratory testing. Done correctly, such research is valued as a part of work plans and a rewarding aspect itself. This course is designed to facilitate the acquisition of skills and knowledge necessary to initiate and complete biomarker studies, to ensure that the right research questions are asked, that they are answered using appropriate methods and quality assured, and to take control of the use of patients' diagnostic and trial tissues.


Online delivery of core taught materials (lectures, videos/quizzes etc) supported by weekly tutorials.

Requirements of Entry


Excluded Courses





Written work in the format of a scientific report or critical review essay (approx. 3000-4000 words) (100%)

Course Aims

The course aims to provide students with a critical understanding of the need of novel biomarkers and disease classifiers, how they relate to current translational strategies for better patients' response and benefit, how the research towards their identifications, optimization and validation should be conducted and evaluated. The course also aims to provide additional training in molecular pathology diagnosis cases and research. The knowledge gained should allow students to more effectively contribute and communicate within the biomarker research team, and to facilitate leading such studies.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

 By the end of this course students will be able to:


1. Critically discuss the definitions of various biomarker types and how they relate to current translational strategies, including disease stratification, responsiveness to drug therapy and personalised medicine.

2. Critically discuss the methods in identification, optimisation and validation of new and better biomarkers, including statistical evaluation and limitations.

3. Critically discuss the biomarker strategies within the clinical trial design, including the current approaches and practice of patient selection.

4. Critically evaluate the biomarker identification and validation studies, including those in primary publications and systematic reviews

5. Communicate effectively the results of critical evaluation of biomarker identification and validation, and new strategies.

6. Critically discuss the necessity of pathologists and clinical scientists' contributions in research for the improved biomarkers for patients' response and benefit, and training of future generations.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.