Biotechnology (6th Semester)

Compulsory/Elective Code Semester Lectures Practicals Credits ECTS
Elective 13B038 6th 4 Hrs/Wk 3 Hrs/Wk 5 6,5

The course deals with the different areas of Biotechnology, related to health, nutrition, industry, primary production, energy and environment. Specifically, references will be made to the cell culture of micro-organisms and their use in the production of biomass or microbial products, the types of bioreactors, the use of biological control agents in the protection of agricultural crops and the organisms that are used, latest methods of bio-recycling, bio-rerestoration and recovery methods of rare metals using microbes. In addition, lectures involve plant biotechnology, cell- and tissue-culture applications in molecular and genetic analysis as well as plant breeding, plant-microbial interactions of Rhizobiaceae, various transformation methods, recent genetically modified organisms, recombinant DNA techniques and their use in the development of proteins, enzymes, new diagnostic tools and genetic tests, gene and cell therapy, pharmacogenomics, the development of bioengineering, in conjunction with the social implications of biotechnology, safety issues and the resulting ethical and social problems.


Knowledge: Students are expected to understand: a) the use of microorganisms in biotechnology along with their opportunities for industrial and commercial exploitation, b) bioreactor technology, c) the use of biological control agents in protection of agricultural crops, d) recent methods of bio-recycling and bio-restoration of metals using microbes, e) the use of cell- and tissue-culture in molecular and genetic analysis as well as in plant breeding, f) plant-microbe interactions and transformation techniques, g) latest genetically modified organisms, h) the development of proteins, enzymes, novel diagnostic tests through genetic engineering, i) the development of new technologies in gene and cell therapy, pharmacogenomics and bioengineering, j) economic and social implications of Biotechnology

Skills: Students should: a) be able to select the optimum cell culture conditions of microorganisms for the production of biomass and microbial products and the different types of bioreactors, b) be able to compare and select appropriate organisms for the protection of agricultural crops, c) be able to select methodologies for utilization and optimization of secondary metabolites, d) list the various applications of cell and tissue cultures, e) explain the roles of cell and tissue cultures in genetic engineering and plant breeding, f) understand the interactions of plants and microbes and transformations using different methodologies, g) operate scientific instruments reliable, h) utilize various methodologies in gene therapy, drug production for personalized medicine and artificial tissue development

Abilities: Students should be able: a) to compare and evaluate data of micro-organisms used for greater and better biomass production and microbial products, b) to select the most efficient organisms on the protection of agricultural crops, c) to evaluate microbe properties and select the most suitable for bio recovery of rare metals, d) to compare the different applications of cell and tissue cultures and to choose the appropriate experimental approach to address a scientific query, e) to combine methods and interpret scientific results in order to answer biological questions concerning gene therapy, drug and/or tissue development for  personalized medicine or even live tissue development


Introduction (1 hour): Evolution of Biotechnology and various aspects.

Microbial Biotechnology and Bioreactor technologies (5 hours): Microorganisms selection and optimization of cell culture conditions for biomass production or microbial products. Types of bioreactors. Introduction to microbial and enzyme bioreactor and cost analysis.

Principles of Metabolic Engineering and Synthetic Biology (4 hours): Introduction to the principles of mathematical modeling of metabolism (metabolic flows, loops for metabolites recycling, locating control points). Introduction to Synthetic Biology (basic concepts, microorganisms models, biological tools, modeling).

Green Biotechnology (4 Hours)The use of Biological Control Agents (BCAs) for the protection of crops, their advantages and disadvantages compared to the chemical approaches, the organisms used, their mode of action and possible implementations with the use of genetic improvement.

Environmental Biotechnology (4 Hours): Electric and Electronic wastes (E-wastes), the problem they pose to the environment, modern methods of biorecycling, bioremediation and biorecovery of rare elements (e.g. gold) using microbes.

Secondary Metabolites and their importance to Biotechnology (6 hours): The examples of: (a) vitamin A as a biotechnological product from different organisms (e.g. plants, yeasts and algae) and genetic manipulations of the producers for its yield improvement and (b) the mycotoxins and their risks to humans and the environment, methods to analyze and detect them and secure the safety of using fungal biotechnological products.

Plant Biotechnology (6 hours): Plant tissue culture and protoplast technology. Growth factors in plant tissue culture. Plant cell and tissue culture applications. Mass gene expression analysis. Micropropagation. Somaclonal variation. Haploid, dihaploid (imbred lines), autopolyploid and allopolyploid plant production. Protoplast fusion. Plant genetic engineering. Imbred lines, hybrids and heterosis. Marker Assisted Selection & Breeding.

Molecular Plant Biotechnology (6 hours): Genomic analysis of model plants, plant – microbe interactions and the Rhizobiaceae, plant transformation methods – direct or indirect (A. tumefaciens-mediated), transgenic plant technology, GMOs: products, distribution and current state-of-the-art, genetic marker containment, plastid transformation and the generation of transplastomic plants.

Enzyme technology (3 hours): Industrial enzymes, proteases, lipases, amylases, enzymic biosensors, enzymes used in immuno-diagnosis and disease therapy.

Red Biotechnology (12 hours): Basic principles of cell cultures and their applications on artificial tissue and organ development. Basic principles of bioengineering. Stem cells and their applications on disease therapy. Drug development and transfer to target genes. Recent achievements in pharmacogenomics. Genetic tests development and their applications on personalized medicine.

Social aspects of Biotechnology (1 hour): Regulations and biosafety. Legal, social and ethical issues arising from applications of Biotechnology.   


1. Molecular detection and identification of HPV virus - 2. Isolation and culture of protoplasts – 3. Isolation and selection of microorganisms from waste - Οptimization of empirically nutrient substrate - Maintenance methods of industrial strains – 4. Bioreactors of continuous culture - Calculation of parameters – 5. Detecting enzyme activities in commercial detergents - 6. Genetic typing of entomopathogenic fungi used as BCAs – 7. Detection of recombinant proteins.

  Lectures: P. Kollia, Professor of Human Molecular Genetics (Coordinator) - C. Vorgias, Professor of Biochemistry – D. Hatzinikolaou, Associate Professor of Microbial Biotechnology - K. Haralampidis, Associate Professor of Molecular Development Plant - V. Kouvelis, Assistant Professor of Genetics & Biotechnology – Dr. A. Savvides, Laboratory Teaching Staff
  Practicals: P. Kollia, Professor of Human Molecular Genetics – C. Vorgias, Professor of Biochemistry – D. Hatzinikolaou, Associate Professor of Microbial Biotechnology - K. Haralampidis, Associate Professor of Molecular Development Plant -  V. Kouvelis, Assistant Professor of Genetics & Biotechnology - Dr. A. Savvides, Laboratory Teaching Staff -  Dr. M. Sarika, Laboratory Teaching Staff -  Dr. P. Sotiriou, Laboratory Teaching Staff -  Dr. N. Arvanitis, Laboratory Teaching Staff  -Dr. P. Skourou, Laboratory Teaching Staff - Dr. E. Katsifas, Laboratory Teaching Staff

There are no prerequisites courses for the student in order to select and attend the course.

The course is offered to Erasmus students: Teaching in Greek language - Exams in English language.

The evaluation process is carried out in Greek language (there is the possibility in English for Erasmus students), with a final examination of the whole course that includes: A. Theory: (75% of the total grade of the course) with Advanced Exam Questions and Multiple Choice Questions - B. Laboratory exercises: (25% of the total grade of the course): a) Delivering written answers b) Written examination with an Extended Response Question and a Design. The total score is the sum of the two above-mentioned individual evaluations.

  If you require more information, please contact the Course Coordinator, Prof Pan. Kollia at: Tel: +30 210 727 4401 - Εmail: pankollia[at]biol.uoa[dot]gr