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BGM2002 : Biochemistry and Genetics of Signalling and the Cell Cycle

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Catherine Meplan
  • Lecturer: Professor Craig Robson, Prof. Brendan Kenny, Dr Simon Whitehall, Dr Helen Phillips, Professor Janet Quinn, Professor Neil Perkins, Professor Brian Morgan, Professor Jane Endicott
  • Owning School: Biomedical, Nutritional and Sports Scien
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


This module aims to introduce signalling mechanisms and pathways with a specific focus on the regulation of the eukaryotic cell division cycle.
Specific aims are then:

1.To introduce the students to key concepts in signaling, within and between cells that take place during stress, cell cycle, cancer, development, apoptosis and bacterial infection.

2.To provide an overview of protein modifications (phosphorylation, ubiquitination, etc.) and their role in cell signaling.

3. To provide a knowledge and understanding of the tools available for the investigation of cell signaling and cell division, including the use of yeast as a model organism.
4. To demonstrate how biochemistry and genetics has provided information regarding the identity and function of proteins involved in the regulation of the cell division cycle.

5. To provide the opportunity for practical experience in common techniques for the manipulation of yeast.

6. To provide an opportunity to discuss the use of key signalling molecules as drug targets in the treatment of common diseases

Outline Of Syllabus

Signalling within and between cells is an essential part of many biological processes, from the functioning of the cell cycle to maintenance of homeostasis, development, response to stress and immune function. This module will: introduce common features and components of extra- and intracellular signalling pathways; describe modifications to proteins (covalent and non-covalent) that alter their activities and stability; provide expanded examples of signaling in the context of development, disease and stress states; explain the eukaryotic cell cycle and its regulation in both model yeast species and higher eukaryotes. The module will highlight some of the components that compromise signaling pathways and responses and their consequences for disease and development.

Examples of signaling that will be covered include:
Description of key cell cycle regulatory pathways and components
Oxidative stress
Signalling in cancer and combating cancer by targeting key cell cycle signaling pathways
Compromising signaling pathways during bacterial infection
Programmed cell death - apoptosis

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture241:0024:00PIP
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion125:0025:00Completion of practical write up
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials11:001:00Non-sync online - 1 hour lecture material (pre-recorded)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical26:0012:00PIP - 1 practical run over 2x6 hour sessions. 2 academic staff involved
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching11:001:00Sync online - 1 hour Support sessions full cohort attendance
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching11:001:00PIP - Class to be broken down into smaller groups for seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops12:002:00Sync online using breakout rooms - Essay Writing Guidance Session
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1133:00133:00Writing up lectures notes, revision and general reading.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk11:001:00Synchronous online
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Most lectures will be delivered in presence, apart from one lecture that will be pre-recorded and followed by a synchronous support session to encourage students' participation. During the support session, students will be able to ask questions, and will be able to evaluate their knowledge through activities such as quiz and/or data interpretation.

Lecture material is used to impart new information in a concise manner regarding principles of the regulation of cell cycle and signalling pathways, as well as expanded examples of signalling pathways. During the essay writing skills workshop, students will be encouraged to work with their peers in teams to strengthen their writing skills.

The practical laboratory classes are designed to develop practical skills in techniques commonly used in biomedical science laboratories and to familiarise the students with the use of yeast as a model organism. Students will also be able to relate the theoretical learning and to the practical laboratory works in this module. The seminar will reinforce and support lecture material as well as provide a forum for analysis of data.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination601A40Online 2 hour take home time-tabled open-book essay paper - 1 question from a choice of 2 (800 words)
Digital Examination601A40PIP Inspera Invigilated: (60 mins)Quiz format Questions (maximum 60 questions).
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report1M20Structured write up based on the laboratory practical, including data analysis (5 questions). Online
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

In course:

The practical write up will allow students to demonstrate their capacity to perform and interpret experimental data using yeast as a model organism.


The quiz format exam will allow to test student’s breadth of knowledge of taught materials.

The essay will test understanding, allowing students to demonstrate a capacity to integrate, discuss and compare underlying principles of cell cycle and signalling pathways regulation.

Reading Lists