Medical Genetics and Cancer: Molecular Mechanisms

15 credits

Syllabus, Master's level, 3MG207

Education cycle
Second cycle
Main field(s) of study and in-depth level
Medical Science A1N, Molecular Medicine A1N
Grading system
Fail (U), Pass (3), Pass with credit (4), Pass with distinction (5)
Finalised by
The Master Programmes Board of the Faculty of Medicine, 8 September 2023
Responsible department
Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology

General provisions

The course is offered as part of the Master's programs in the Faculty of Medicine to students admitted to the Master's Programme in Innovative Medicine (IMIM).

Entry requirements

180 credits from educational programmes in biochemistry/chemistry, biology, biomedicine/medicine, biotechnology, cell- and molecular biology, genetics, life science, medical sciences or a similar field of study, including courses in biochemistry, cell biology, chemistry, genetics, and molecular biology/-genetics totalling at least 30 credits;

Documented knowledge of English with results from an internationally accepted test is required. The minimum test scores are:

IELTS (Academic) with an overall score of 6.5 and no less than 6.0 on each section, or Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE)/ Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) with a minimum score of 180.

TOEFL IBT (internet-based test) with an overall score of 90 - no less than 18 on reading and listening, no less than 20 on spreaking, no less than 21 on writing.

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 within 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 adressed together with current techniques for the analysis of the 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 for 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.

A part of the Bench to Bedside and Beyond (BBB) learning line curriculum of interdisciplinary project work is carried out in groups of IMIM-students from all partner universities. 


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.