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MMB8034 : Mitochondrial Biology & Medicine

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Joanna Elson
  • Co-Module Leader: Dr Thomas Nicholls
  • Lecturer: Prof. Zofia Chrzanowska-Lightowlers, Dr Hugo De Sao Jose Martinho De Oliveira, Dr Oliver Russell, Dr Charlotte Alston, Dr Amy Vincent, Dr Tiago Gomes Bernardino Gomes, Dr Sarah Pickett, Prof. Robert Lightowlers, Dr Christin Albus, Professor Mary Herbert, Dr Uwe Richter, Professor Gavin Hudson, Dr Charlotte Warren, Professor Bobby McFarland, Dr Jane Stewart, Dr Yi Ng, Professor Robert Hirt
  • Owning School: Biomedical, Nutritional and Sports Scien
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

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

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


The module will provide detailed information on aspects of basic mitochondrial biology including the origins and essential functions of mitochondria, the maintenance and expression of the mitochondrial genome, and the metabolic processes in which mitochondria play a role. The module will also provide information on disease that results from mitochondrial dysfunction. This information will be informed by current research and the current state of knowledge in the field of mitochondrial biology.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module is designed to provide both a thorough understanding of human mitochondrial genetics; the maintenance, replication and segregation of the mitochondrial genome (mtDNA); mtDNA transcription and intra-organellar translation; and appreciation of the metabolic processes that mitochondria are involved in; a detailed understanding of oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) and the underlying biochemistry; an understanding of the interplay and coordination of nuclear and mitochondrially encoded proteins that maintains a healthy organelle; and an appreciation of the disease states and contribution to ageing that can arise as a consequence of dysfunction in any of the above and the potential for therapeutics, as well as treatment to eliminate transmission of mtDNA encoded disorders.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture11:001:00Synchronous online: Lecture
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture12:002:00Synchronous online: Lecture
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion170:0070:00Preparation for the essay (2000 word max)
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion140:0040:00Student Preparation Time for Graphical abstract for Assessment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion11:001:00Formative MCQ
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials31:003:00Non-synchronous additional material online
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading134:0034:00Making Notes and Reading from Lectures and other Sources
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching11:001:00Present in person (PIP): Tutorial on the potential of mitochondrial therapeutics
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching161:0016:00Present in person (PIP): Seminars/Debates
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity110:0010:00Reading and Reflective Learning
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study120:0020:00Identifying relevant research papers that are not on the reading list or suggested in presentations
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk21:002:00Present in person (PIP): Intro to module and revision session
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Knowledge and understanding are gained from the lectures and workshop/group sessions.

Intellectual skills are developed in the completion of the coursework assessments.

Key (transferable skills – communication, literacy, critical appraisal) are developed by the coursework and practised in the assessments.

Comprehension and ability to discuss the subject knowledge critically will be developed in the essay and graphical abstract.

There is adequate time for reading and reflection built into the module and students will be guided (in lectures and seminars) to find appropriate and up-to-date sources as well as being encouraged to find their own sources for relevant information.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Prof skill assessmnt1M30Set in Week 4, submit week 7. Graphical abstract of pre-selected paper
Prof skill assessmnt1M70Set in Week 6, submit week 9. 2000 word max essay to practice skills in succinctly summarising argument.
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 assessment1M1 hour MCQ - 50 questions
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The essay tests the student’s knowledge base, comprehension, ability to discuss the subject knowledge critically, evaluation of scientific literature.

The graphical abstract tests application of knowledge, understanding and ability to critically evaluate and interpret research data. This is coupled with the ability to cogent visual explanations.

The MCQ allows the students to appreciate how much they have understood and taken in across the whole course.

Reading Lists