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CSC8320 : Fundamentals of Cell and Molecular Biology (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Emanuela Torelli
  • Owning School: Computing
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0
European Credit Transfer System


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.
• Organization of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.
• Protein synthesis: transcription and translation mechanisms. Principles of regulation of gene
• Genomes in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.
• Use of biological or synthetic DNA/RNA as building material to synthesize self-assembled
nanostructures. Origami technique: principles, design (main software available), synthesis,
characterization, imaging (eg. TEM and AFM) and related applications (in vitro and in vivo), such as
gene silencing.
• Essential techniques in molecular biology: DNA/RNA extraction, DNA/RNA purification,
DNA/RNA quantification, enzymatic digestions, agarose or polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis
(native and denaturing conditions), in vitro transcription, DNA cloning, PCR and real-time
PCR, nucleic acids self-assembly, cell free extracts.
• Practicals: fundamentals of main synthetic biology techniques.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture81:008:00Lectures
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion112:0012:00Completion of summative coursework assessment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion112:0012:00Preparation for summative coursework assessment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion13:003:00Wet lab's practical
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities116:0016:00Prep for practicals; interpretation of practical results and completion of formative assessment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical24:008:00Laboratory 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 talk41:004:00Discussion linked to non-synchronous lecture materials to introduce module and contents
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures 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 molecular/synthetic biology.

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

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

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. The formative questions linked to the practicals help students develop their awareness and understanding of the principles underlying these experiments.

Reading Lists