MF9135 – Biomarkers in clinical research

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Choose semester

Course content

The purpose of the course is to introduce the use of biomarkers in clinical research today and tomorrow, as well as presenting the principles for quantification in selected analyses. Such understanding is fundamental for the selection of appropriate choice of analysis and interpretation of data obtained.

Biomarkers can be plasma molecules, cellular molecules, morphologies, enzymatic activities and organelle integrity. Biomarker quantifications will be exemplified as applied in specific techniques, and illustrated in distinct disciplines. Analyses that are introduced will differ in automatization: from large-scale platform instruments (medical biochemistry), to manpower-intensive techniques. The principles behind the following assessment methods for biomarker quantifications will be presented: antibody-based detection methods (Elisa, Western), nucleic acid-based techniques (PCR, RFLP, FISH), mass spectrometry analyses (MALDI TOF), suspension techniques (flow cytometry), imaging techniques (laser capture microscopy).

Included is also a brief introduction of the formal requirements for initiating a clinical research project.

Learning outcome

The candidate will learn how to initiate a clinical research study, learn how platform analyses of selected biomarkers are dependent on proper choice of method and proper sample preparation, learn underlying principles in quantification of biomarkers in central techniques designed on subcellular fractions, learn to critically judge the robustness of the data from the choice of method.

Knowledge and skills
This course will give you knowledge about:

  • Biomarkers heterogeneity: what to measure depends on the stability of the sample, resolution of method and preparation of the sample.
  • Understanding the underlying principles of antibody-based analyses
  • Understanding the underlying principles of nucleic acid-based techniques
  • Understanding the underlying principles of functional assays and correlating pitfalls.
  • Understanding the underlying principles  of mass-spectrometry analyses and 
  • Understand the principles, limitations and pitfalls associated with platform analyses
  • Critical selection of Method
  • Critical view on reference range
  • Novel biomarkers
  • Therapy biomarkers



Enrollment to this course is automatically registered in StudentWeb. Applicants will be notified immediately if their application to the course is granted, if the course is full or if the candidate does not meet the formal prerequisite knowledge for admission. Applicants will be put on a waiting list if the course is full.

PhD candidates admitted to a PhD programme at UiO apply in StudentWeb

Applicants who are not admitted to a PhD programme at UiO must apply for a right to study in SøknadsWeb before they can apply for PhD courses in medicine and health sciences. External applicants should apply for a right to study minimum 3 weeks before the course application deadlines. 


Formal prerequisite knowledge

The student should hold a MSc, MD or similar and be enrolled in the PhD program. 


The course will run for 5 full days and mainly based on lectures and group work.

The compulsory literature will be provided after registration, and include a mixture of hand-outs, published literature and web-based resources.

You have to participate in at least 80 % of the teaching to be allowed to take the exam. Attendance at lectures will be registered.


A take-home exam will be given at the end of the course. There will be 1-2 days of preparatory.

The exam paper is in English, but it is optional for the candidate to answer the exam in Norwegian or English

Submit assignments in Inspera

You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read about how to submit your assignment.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a pass/fail scale. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






Spring 2020

2.3. - 6.3.2020

Application period       

1.12.2019 - 1.2.2020

Course registration

How to apply

Registration type

Automatic reply



Spring 2020

Teaching language