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NES8805 : Bioactive Natural Products (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Prof. Bernard Golding
  • Lecturer: Dr Cristina Navarro Reguero, Dr Agnieszka Bronowska
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • 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


To equip students with a knowledge of natural products obtained from a range of sources including plants and marine organisms with the emphasis on the medicinal properties of substances; to describe extraction techniques and how these influence the chemical composition of the extract; to define compound classes of active constituents; to delineate the biosynthesis of selected compound classes; to show how selected compounds can be synthesised including a description of some industrial syntheses; to equip students with a basic understanding of how bioactive natural products are believed to work; to place natural products in the wider context of bioactive compounds.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module is a beacon for decolonising the curriculum as many natural products were/are discovered in non-European/USA locations (e.g. Africa, India), which enables the important contribution of local knowledge and expertise to be highlighted. Furthermore, one of the most seminal contributions in the field of medicinal natural products was made by the African-American Percy L Julian, which was introduced for the first time in the 2020-2021 session and was the foundation of one of the module assessment questions.


1-2 Introduction - Classes of natural products; isolation of natural products. Role of local knowledge
highlighted (e.g. disease treatment with certain Caribbean plants).
3-4 Isolation, structure determination by scientists in Jamaica of the toxin responsible for Jamaican vomiting
sickness' covered and synthesis of selected natural products. Laval's work discussed in detail at this
5-6 The alkaloids morphine, quinine and cocaine
7 Colchicine, galanthamine
8 Marine natural products
9-10 Aromatic natural products; fatty acid biosynthesis; polyketides;
11-12 Shikimic acid; terpenes
13-14 Steroids, prostaglandins and thromboxanes
+ plus 6 workshops (Laval's synthesis of the drug physostigmine is the basis of one workshop)

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion210:3010:30Revision for end of semester examination
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion12:002:00End of semester examination
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture141:0014:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion115:0015:00Preparation and completion of computer assessment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching71:007:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study151:3051:30Study course handouts and background reading
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures convey the key concepts and factual data and introduce problem solving skills. Seminars allow application of the concepts introduced in the lectures.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Digital Examination1802A100N/A
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The formal exam allows the understanding of the concepts; application/problem solving based on the concepts to be assessed.

Reading Lists