A biology book is covered y tissue rolls and a set of post its with Karolinska Institutet written on it.

Your tissue and you : a biomedicine course review

Welcome to the course review on Tissue Biology, a 2nd-year course in the Bachelor’s Programme in Biomedicine. This short and intense course comes right after Biostatistics (read the course review), and teaches the fundamentals of tissue preparation, staining, fixing, and an understanding of what some important body parts look like underneath a microscope.

In addition to regular lectures, there were 3 important components in this course:

  • The lab project + oral exam
  • The microscopy lectures
  • The final exam

For this course review, I’m actually going to give more opinions than I usually do, and live up to the “review” in “course review”. This course was a bit of a mixed bag for me, and I wanted to be authentic in communicating it!

A very important tip: the Tissue Biology course forms the foundation for the Pathology course (review soon) in Semester 4. So do your best to put what you learn into your long term memory and hang on to your notes!

The microscopy lectures

Content: We had a compendium outlining different types of staining and discussing the important features of various tissues. We explored different tissue sections under a microscope whilst the lecturer explained what we could look for and glean from what we saw.

A tissue section with handwritten labels and annotations
Image credits: Tissue section from course content of Tissue Biology. Annotations by Inika Prasad

Opinions: Absolutely fantastic, and I really do mean that. Gareth, if you’re reading this, I thought that the lectures were super fun, and you made histology very approachable for me. Don’t get me wrong, it was challenging and intense – I’m still working on building the skills needed to evaluate what’s under the microscope. But it was interesting too!

Advice: Take notes! It’s best if you have a printout/image you can annotate so that you can revisit the tissue section later and try to identify important features. We had recorded lectures, so listening to them a second time was surprisingly useful. Practice identifying tissues and structures, and try to recall their relevance or importance for the body.

The lab project

Content: The lab project (all online for us) focussed on experiment design and protocol planning. There was a lot of independent work,

Opinions: The lab project was extensive and well-adapted to the digital teaching style, and had a very good set of concepts behind it! However, I found that some things could definitely be improved.

  • Many questions I had about the project were met with replies analogous to “You should figure it out because that’s part of the project”. This is alright usually, but it was very frustrating when I was trying to clarify things like why some control samples were missing.
  • The grading of the lab report/oral exam brought up some concerns about whether the results varied depending on the lab teacher one was assigned.

I found the lab project to be quite draining because I spent more time trying to work around the instructions and emailing the teachers than I did learning things. However, the class gave a lot of feedback regarding these points, so I hope these aspects improve for the upcoming years!

Advice: Be well prepared for the introduction and question-answer sessions by reading the lab manual in advance! It helps a lot to start early as well. Whilst it’s common that lab partners split the work so that one person does the bulk of calculations and the other does a lot of writing, I’d suggest mixing it up a little. Both of you need all the skills for the exams anyways, so take the opportunity to practice – you’ll be less likely to make mistakes too!

The exam

The tissue biology exam was online for us, with MCQs and long answer questions. I think it was quite well designed, and covered the course material well.

The time pressure was quite high for the MCQs, especially since the exam was designed to not allow you to go back and check or change answers – a joyous feature of online exams. Otherwise, it went quite smoothly.

A cat sleeping next to a paper that gives a summary and outlines the goals of the Tissue Biology course.
Nothing like a napping cat to liven up a picture of course information. Image credits: Inika Prasad

Finally

I hope this course review was useful for you! I know it’s different from my previous ones, but I thought it best to retain authenticity and try out this style for a change. What did you think?

As always, you can find me at inika.prasad@stud.ki.se

🖤 Inika

Inika Prasad — Biomedicine BSc

Inika Prasad — Biomedicine BSc

Hello, Inika here. I’m a second-year Biomedicine bachelor’s student at KI. I'm from India and a little bit from Sweden. As a Digital Ambassador Blogger, I'll be writing about my programme, things happening in and around KI, and giving insights into university life.

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