Syllabus for Medical Genetics and Cancer: Molecular Mechanisms

Medicinsk genetik och cancer - molekylära mekanismer

  • 15 credits
  • Course code: 3MG022
  • Education cycle: Second cycle
  • Main field(s) of study and in-depth level: Molecular Medicine A1N, Medical Science A1N

    Explanation of codes

    The code indicates the education cycle and in-depth level of the course in relation to other courses within the same main field of study according to the requirements for general degrees:

    First cycle

    • G1N: has only upper-secondary level entry requirements
    • G1F: has less than 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • G1E: contains specially designed degree project for Higher Education Diploma
    • G2F: has at least 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • G2E: has at least 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements, contains degree project for Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science
    • GXX: in-depth level of the course cannot be classified

    Second cycle

    • A1N: has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • A1F: has second-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • A1E: contains degree project for Master of Arts/Master of Science (60 credits)
    • A2E: contains degree project for Master of Arts/Master of Science (120 credits)
    • AXX: in-depth level of the course cannot be classified

  • Grading system: Fail (U), Pass (3), Pass with credit (4), Pass with distinction (5)
  • Established: 2010-08-30
  • Established by:
  • Revised: 2022-12-01
  • Revised by: The Master Programmes Board of the Faculty of Medicine
  • Applies from: Autumn 2022
  • Entry requirements:

    180 credits from educational programmes in biochemistry/chemistry, biology, biomedicine/medicine, biotechnology,cell/molecular biology, genetics, life science, medical sciences or a similar field of study. Also required is:
    courses in biochemistry, cell biology, chemistry, genetics, and molecular biology/-genetics totalling at least 30 credits;
    Proficiency in English equivalent to the Swedish upper secondary course English 6.

  • Responsible department: Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

On completion of the course, the student shall be able to:

  • explain molecular and cellular mechanisms of the origin, development and diagnostics of genetic diseases including cancer
  • describe the basic characteristics that distinguish a tumour cell from a normal cell
  • explain the major risk factors for carcinogenesis and how they are connected to the molecular mechanisms of cancer development
  • explain current techniques for research, diagnostics and treatment of genetic diseases including cancer
  • interpret and discuss current research in genetics and epigenetics and how new knowledge can be applied clinically
  • discuss new therapeutic strategies targeting tumour-associated molecular mechanisms 

Competence and skills

On completion of the course, the student shall be able to:

  • independently analyse, process and formulate relevant scientific questions within the field of medical genetics and tumour biology, and discuss these orally as well as in writing
  • use basic laboratory techniques in genetic research
  • use basic bioinformatical tools including within cancer research

 Judgement and approach

On completion of the course, the student shall be able to:

  • identify and discuss ethical aspects of genetic research, diagnostics and therapy
  • apply an ethical and scientific approach
  • show an ability to critically evaluate and appraise scientific research results within the field 


The course intends to provide in-depth knowledge of the human genome, genetic variations and causes behind genetic diseases as well as the cellular and molecular mechanisms behind the origin and progression of cancer. Current clinical diagnostics and treatment of genetic diseases and cancer will be discussed as well as methods and techniques. The course will also provide an overview of the current research in genetics and cancer.


Theoretical parts and computer-based assignments will illustrate how molecular factors behind a disease can be determined. Methods for mapping of genetic diseases, genotyping with microsatellites and SNP markers as well as analysis of genetic variation in populations will be addressed, together with current techniques for the analysis of structure and function of genes. Application of DNA analyses in genotyping will be illustrated. Ethical aspects will be discussed. The course will provide students with the knowledge and tools needed to approach and formulate scientific questions relevant to cancer biology.

General tumour theory and tumour classification followed by cellular and molecular mechanisms important for the origin and growth of tumours as well as the body's immune defence against cancer will be discussed. The course covers epigenetic mechanisms in cancer, carcinogenesis, genomic instability, angiogenesis, tumour virus, oncogenes, growth factors, signal transduction, tumour suppressor genes, basic and applied immunology as well as clinical oncology. Seminars together with researchers will give the students opportunity to discuss current problems within cancer research. A number of general science-related questions are discussed during joint seminars, which also include generic competences and professional skills such as presentation skills and research ethics, with the aim to prepare the student for future career.


Instruction is given in English in the form of lectures and mandatory seminars, laboratory exercises, computer practicals as well as other compulsory theoretical and practical assignments such as problem-oriented exercises and presentations related to current research fields.


Passing grades on two written exams (total 8 credits) as well as approved laboratory exercises, written assignments, oral presentations and seminars (total 7 credits) are required in order to pass the course. The final grade is based on a weighted assessment of the student's achievement on included course components. Possibilities to complement non-approved mandatory components are given at the earliest during the next course instance and will be subject to availability of space.

If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the University's disability coordinator.

Reading list

The reading list is missing. For further information, please contact the responsible department.