Study Abroad and Exchanges



BIO2030 : Methods in Biotechnology: Principles, Theory and Practice

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


To inform students about the technology that is currently used in the analysis and engineering of genes and to give students practical experience in this technology. Also to introduce the principles of allied technologies (proteomics, transcriptomics, and cell culture) and expose students to industry through a site visit and an introduction to intellectual property.

Lab practicals will provide students with intensive training in modern molecular biological methods centred around tools and techniques for DNA and protein isolation and characterisation. Students will be taken through a logically connected sequence of experiments on a biological system that will allow them to collect experimental data for presentation and analysis. This provides formative training, assessment and feedback, equipping students to carry out final year laboratory based research projects in module BIO3196, as well as increasing their practical and data processing skills. The practicals concentrate specifically on molecular biology and biochemistry tools and techniques, and introduce students to the rigour of scientific experiments and data interpretation.

The module, along with others, provides students with the appropriate underpinning theoretical knowledge and practical skills for the final year biotechnological modules and projects offered by the School.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module introduces the technology currently used in the analysis and engineering of genes. It also introduces the principles of allied technologies (proteomics, transcriptomics, and cell culture) and exposes students to industry through a site visit to a biotech company and provides and an introduction to the use of a model-guided design for experimentation in biotechnology.
1. How to clone a bacterial gene.
2. How to isolate a cDNA encoding a specific protein.
3. DNA sequencing.
4. Site-directed mutagenesis.
5. High-level regulated expression of heterologous genes in microbial systems (E. coli, P. pastoris).
6. Genome analysis.
7. Creation of transgenic plants, animals and microorganisms; introduction to applications of the technology in medicine, agriculture and industry.
8. Outlines of proteomics, transcriptomics.
9. Outline of plant and animal cell culture.
10. Introduction to model-guided design for biotechnology.
11. Site visit to Centre for Product Innovation (CPI), Redcar.
12. Revision sessions/Exam surgeries.

The lectures will be underpinned by a series of practicals, which will focus on:

1) PCR from plasmid DNA
2) Preparing antibiotic screening plates
3) Transformation of E. coli
4) Colony PCR to confirm transformation success and calculation of transformation
5) Plasmid extraction and restriction digestion
6) Protein extraction, chromatography, quantification, and protein gels
7) Experimental manipulation of bacterial gene expression using nutrients

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture141:0014:00Directed reading
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion62:3015:00Lab skill assessment reflection
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion11:301:30Final exam
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion140:307:00Revision for final exam
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00Data analysis report
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture141:0014:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion150:0050:00Comprehension questions
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture31:003:00Revision sessions / exam surgeries
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical65:0030:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork15:005:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity90:304:30Reflective blog
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study62:0012:00Practical preparation and follow-up
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study141:0014:00Lecture follow up
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures provide factual material; the practical classes introduce and allow students to practise laboratory skills and important techniques; the seminars provide periods to introduce and discuss topics not practised in the laboratory; the field trip exposes the students to a biotechnological company, to their industrial site, and to explanations of their purposes and methods.

The practicals give students hands-on experience in fundamental laboratory techniques with appropriate supervision and guidance. Practical skill assessment completed during the workshop will assess knowledge outcomes of methodology. Private study, both during and after the workshop, is necessary for students to absorb information gained from instruction and practical work, to deepen knowledge and understanding through reading of supporting references, and to prepare assignments on data analysis and comprehension.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination902A50N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise2M25Comprehension questions 1500 words
Report2M15Data analysis report 1000 words
Prof skill assessmnt2M10Lab skills assessment
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Reflective log2MReflective blog on the peer marking exercise
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The exam is designed to test understanding, synthesis and analysis, and retention of the important concepts of recombinant DNA technology. The assessed practical work will assess both the practical skill and knowledge based learning outcomes of the workshop. The comprehension questions will test knowledge-based learning outcomes through understanding of the biological system studied. Both subject-specific and key skill learning outcomes are assessed by the requirement to present a piece of data analysis and presentation in an acceptable scientific format.

Reading Lists