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CSC8320 : Fundamentals of Cell and Molecular Biology

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Ethan Hack
  • Owning School: Computing
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


To survey the fundamentals of cell and molecular biology and introduce key methods used in research on these subjects. This module is intended for students taking Masters-level courses who have not undertaken degree-level study of cell and molecular biology or who need to re-familiarise themselves with these topics.

Outline Of Syllabus

Introduction: genes and cells. Proteins: composition and structure.
Organisation of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.
Protein synthesis: transcription and translation mechanisms. Principles of regulation of gene expression.
Genomes: prokaryotic, eukaryotic nuclear, mitochondrial, and plastid.
Essential techniques in molecular biology: DNA cloning, library screening, PCR, detection and measurement of gene expression, DNA sequencing.
Practicals: fundamentals of recombinant DNA technology.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion112:0012:00Preparation for summative coursework assessment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion13:003:00Computer practical (asynchronous)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture81:008:00PIP Lectures
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion112:0012:00Completion of summative coursework assessment
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities116:0016:00Prep for practicals; interpretation of practical results and completion of formative assessment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical24:008:00PiP - laboratory practicals
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading121:0021:00Recommended reading and students' own follow-up
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study161:0016:00Lecture material follow up: study of recordings and supplementary material (asynchronous)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk41:004:00PiP - discussion linked to non-synchronous lecture materials to introduce module and contents
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The online lecture materials explain key concepts and provide illustrative examples, which are developed further through directed research and reading and independent study. The laboratory practical's give students hands-on experience with recombinant DNA technology. The computer practical introduces DNA sequence assembly and phylogenetic analysis.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise1M100Structured Questions - Limit 1500 words
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Computer assessment1MQuestions linked to the practical's
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

A structured set of questions assesses students’ understanding of and ability to apply concepts from the relevant subject material and ability to interpret data from experiments involving recombinant DNA technology. The formative questions linked to the practicals help students develop their awareness and understanding of the principles underlying these experiments

Reading Lists