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ONC8022 : Cancer: Cell, Molecular Biology & Genetics (E-learning)

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Professor John Lunec
  • Lecturer: Dr Kelly Coffey
  • Owning School: FMS Graduate School
  • Teaching Location: Off Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


The aim of this module is to provide knowledge and understanding of the cellular changes that result from damage or alteration of cells at a molecular level. By increasing our understanding of the molecular changes found in cancerous cells we are able to firstly gain a greater understanding of the mechanisms through which cancer is generated and secondly we can design therapeutic strategies that exploit these molecular changes and gain therapeutic benefit in the clinic.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module will cover the following topics:
•Biochemical and molecular basis of cancer
•The multistage nature of cancer, including the roles of the environment and somatic mutation
•The known genetic mechanisms involved in hereditary cancer predispositions and sporadic cancers
•The roles of specific genes involved in the development and progression of cancer by mutational activation of oncogenes and inactivation of tumour suppressor genes
•Molecular targeted approaches to therapies for different cancers, plus predictive and prognostic biomarkers

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion220:0040:00Independent assessment preparation
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading127:0084:00Online content
Guided Independent StudySkills practice110:0010:00Including systematic literature and genetic database sourcing
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity61:006:00eJournal
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study123:0036:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyOnline Discussion122:0024:00Via discussion board
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Through a series of online tutorials as well as private study (including directed reading, and literature and database sourcing of information), students will gain detailed knowledge and understanding of basic cancer biology and cancer genetics.

Furthermore, students will be encouraged to participate in collaborative learning via the Discussion Board. Personal development will be encouraged through the use of reflective journal postings, shared only with the module leader. As the students proceed through the module, they will complete a number of interactive activities and informative tests that will help to consolidate their understanding of the curriculum.

This will facilitate the development of interpersonal and communication skills as well as team working and peer assessment skills.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
PC Examination1502M45Online MCQs (Including extended matching and ordering multiple answer)
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Portfolio2M10Participation in collaborative e-learning activities throughout the module
Oral Examination2M45Recorded powerpoint presentation (max 15 slides, max 10 minute presentation)
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
PC Examination2MMCQ tests
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The MCQ examination reviews the students’ achievement of knowledge learning outcomes and consolidates knowledge acquired throughout the module. This examination is held online and each test is time limited with forced completion once the test is initiated.

The recorded PowerPoint presentation will allow students to synthesise and present data in a way that reflects on the impact of developments in the molecular biology of cancer in their working roles, and demonstrate that learning outcomes of acquired knowledge and understanding have been met. The information and sources used to produce the presentations will show that the skills outcome has been met.

Formative MCQ assessments and worksheet assignments are used throughout the course of the Module.

Assignments are posted on the Discussion Board to encourage students to share resources and promote communal learning.

A participation grade is included to encourage and reward the student's engagement with the
collaborative activities.

Should a student fail the participation assessment and have to undertake a re-sit they will have to
complete a different form of assessment. The student will be asked to look at 2 participation
activities identified by the module leader/team and submit a 500 word written summary (approx. 250 words per activity).

Reading Lists