The University of Southampton

BIOL2046 Quantitative Skills for Biomedical Sciences

Module Overview

The focus of this module is to provide students with skills that will support them to design an experiment, produce results and analyse data. Its focus will be on experimentation in the biomedical sciences, and will also cover experiments on animals and humans (clinical trials) and the setup of laboratory experiments. Students will learn about experimental design, and how to handle data in terms of statistical analysis and presentation. It will help students in their numerical skills and prepare them for any data analysis in the third and fourth year projects.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• To understand how experiments are designed • To understand how data are collected and analysed • To appreciate different ways of presenting data • To understand basic practical laboratory mathematics- solution formulation, pH calculation, buffers, standard curve and working with radio-isotopes in biological sciences

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Understand the distinction between different data types
  • Development of linked biochemical assays - Beer's law calculations; Standard curve;Data fitting;;
  • Ordering data –The use of heat maps and dendrograms to present data
  • Appreciate the importance of sample size, and the problems associated with underpowered and overpowered studies.
  • Apply power analysis for animal based research and appreciate its use in the 3Rs.
  • Appreciate how clinical trials are conducted and the use of a double-blind random controlled trials.
  • Appreciate the benefits and drawbacks of model systems for biomedical research.
  • Develop skills to use the statistical package Graphpad Prism to analyse and present data.
  • To appreciate what is meant by statistical significance.
  • To develop skills in statistical analysis using Graphpad Prism.
  • Use the Henderson–Hasselbalch equation to make buffers


Students would be expected to gain appreciation of how to test a scientific question. Students also will gain an understanding of the need for mathematics in laboratory settings The use of controlled experiments will be explored, and how it applies to both laboratory, animal and human based (clinical trials) studies. Students will understand how experiments are powered so as to get the right number of animals/subjects, and the importance of this in terms of conducting experiments, and the failings associated with getting this correct. Students will gain an understanding of why model systems are used and given examples of their usefulness and their drawbacks- for example the use of inbred strains of mice.

Learning and Teaching

Independent Study130
Total study time150



Blackboard-based self-assessment exercises and quizzes


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 50%
Exam 50%
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