Published: 01 June 2021

Undergraduate biosciences experiments

As an undergraduate biosciences student, you'll get access to our multi-million-pound labs where you'll use industry-standard equipment to complete a host of experiments. Find out what types of experiment you can expect to complete during your first, second and final year studies.

Year 1

In your first year, you’ll familiarise yourself with some of the basic equipment by completing introductory experiments. Depending on the modules you study, the other experiments you’ll complete will vary.


  • Carrying out serial dilution
  • Enumeration techniques for bacteria
  • Handling cultures
  • Isolating bacteria
  • Performing Gram stains
  • Using diagnostic tests to identify groups of bacteria


  • Enzyme properties and the effect of substrate concentration
  • Protein assay and standard curve generation
  • Thin-layer chromatography
  • Titrations and use of a pH meter

Cell Biology

  • Histological staining
  • Light microscopical examination of histological specimens
  • Observation of dividing cells and their chromosomes
  • Subcellular fractionation of cauliflower by differential centrifugation

Evolutionary Origins of Biodiversity

  • Lake chemistry – turbidity, pH, nitrate and orthophosphate concentration, and dissolved oxygen, carbon dioxide and chlorophyll determination
  • Microscopy and identification of algae protozoa and planktonic life
  • Sampling


  • Analysis of data
  • Culture techniques
  • Good microbiology practice
  • Microscopy

Molecular Biology

  • Gel electrophoresis
  • PCR
  • Using bacterial conjugation to illustrate the link between an organism's genotype and phenotype


  • Cardiovascular function
  • Haematology – performing blood cell counts, measuring haematocrit and packed cell volume, and determining the ABO and rhesus blood groups of samples
  • Lung function testing

Years 2 and 3

As you move into your second- and third-year studies, you’ll complete more complex experiments, that again vary depending on the modules you take.

Analytical Biochemistry

  • Urinalysis for the investigation of clinical samples

Biomedical Microbial Products

  • Screening and discovery of bioactive products

Cellular Microbiology and Virology

  • Haemagglutination and haemagglutination inhibition assay
  • Plaque assay

Energy and Lipid Metabolism

  • Determination of total plasma cholesterol
  • High-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triacylglycerol

Food Microbiology

  • Food poisoning – outbreak investigation
  • Meat microbiology
  • Milk microbiology
  • Yoghurt fermentation

Food Science

  • Analysis of caffeine by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)
  • Chemical and physical characterisation of fats and oils
  • Compositional analysis of sausage
  • Determination of sugars
  • Functional properties of starch

Introduction to Immunology

  • Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)
  • Flow cytometry

Microbial Communities

  • Antimicrobial resistance
  • Dental biofilms and quorum sensing
  • Environmental biofilms

Molecular Biology and Genetics

  • Casting, running and visualising a gel, then analysing results
  • Genomic PCR
  • RNA isolation, quantification and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR)

Pathology and Medicine

  • Buccal smear staining and analysis using light microscopy
  • Liquid-based cytology for cervical screening

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