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CSC8331 : Bio-design Automation (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Tim Rudge
  • Lecturer: Dr Jichun Li
  • Owning School: Computing
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

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

Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0
European Credit Transfer System


• Synthetic biology is the application of engineering principles to the design and implementation of biological
• Synthetic biology is paradigm shift in biology allowing biological systems to be built at a genome scale from
parts derived from a diverse range of organisms or even completely synthetic devices
• The ability to apply engineering principles to biology opens up the possibility of applying automated
strategies to the design, build and testing of synthetic biological systems
• The latest research in synthetic biology has resulted in the development of automated software systems for
the design of biological systems, and downstream robotic systems for building and testing biological systems
• These approaches have led to a step-change in the rate at which synthetic systems can be built and tested for
many applications
• This research focussed module will explore the latest approached to automating the synthetic biology life

Outline Of Syllabus

Automating the Engineering biological system – overview
Joining up the DBTL
Parts assembly strategies
Automating design using standards and modelling
Combinatorial planning and assembly
Process build automation: including robotics, liquid handling, microfluidics,
Software workflows
Equipment interfacing
Synthetic Biology foundries
Standard approaches to data representation and provenance
Appropriate aspects of machine intelligence
Statistical learning and reasoning over test data
Advanced use case and literature reviews

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials101:0010:00PiP Lectures
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading142:0028:00Lecture follow up
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical33:009:00Asynchronous online practicals
Guided Independent StudyProject work121:0012:00Coursework carried out in the computer and wet laboratory.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery13:003:00Tutorial feedback session to support formative and summative assessment- C/W 1 PiP
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery31:003:00To support queries about lecture material or practicals, PiP.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study351:0035:00Background reading
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will be used to introduce the learning material and for demonstrating the key concepts by example. Students are expected to follow-up lectures within a few days by re-reading and annotating lecture notes to aid deep learning.

Discussions, both using canvas and in drop-in surgeries will be used to emphasise the learning material and its application to the solution of problems and exercises set as coursework.

This is a very practical subject, and it is important that the learning materials are supported by hands-on opportunities provided by practical classes.

Students aiming for 1st class marks are expected to widen their knowledge beyond the content of lecture notes through background reading

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report2M100Group Practical Exercise -A practical report on the design and automation of synthetic biology exercise. Max 2,000 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
Report2MFormative assessment: Initial design report for student feedback
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Students will analyse problems as individuals and in teams. This group practical exercise gives a group mark.

Reading Lists