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BGM2002 : Biochemistry and Genetics of Signalling and the Cell Cycle

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Catherine Meplan
  • Lecturer: Professor Neil Perkins, Professor Brian Morgan, Professor Jane Endicott, Professor Craig Robson, Dr Kate Harris, Dr Simon Whitehall, Dr Helen Phillips, Professor Janet Quinn
  • 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


This module aims at introducing 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 signalling, within and between cells that take place during stress, cell cycle, cancer, development, apoptosis and infection.

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

3. To provide a knowledge and understanding of the tools available for the investigation of cell signalling 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 pathogen infection
Programmed cell death - apoptosis

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture261:0026:00In person
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials11:001:00Non-sync online - 1 hour lecture material (pre-recorded)
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion125:0025:00Completion of practical write up
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical26:0012:00In person - 1 practical run over 2x6 hour sessions. 2 academic staff involved
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching11:001:00In person - Class to be broken down into smaller groups for seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops12:002:00In person - Essay Writing Guidance Session in Computer Cluster
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1132:00132:00Writing 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 person, apart from one lecture on essay writing that will be pre-recorded and followed by a 2 hour in person workshop to support students with writing skills. During the essay writing skills workshop, students will be encouraged to work with their peers in teams to strengthen their writing skills.

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.

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 Examination601A40In person invigilated handwritten exam, essay format, choice of 1 from 2 questions & Digital Inspera invigilated exam, quiz format, max 60 questions. Part 1 Inspera, Part 2 written, exams to be scheduled together. Inspera to be open for the duration of the examination - 120 mins)
Digital Examination601A40Digital Inspera invigilated exam, quiz format, max 60 questions & In person invigilated handwritten exam, essay format, choice of 1 from 2 questions. Part 1 Inspera, Part 2 written, exams to be scheduled together. Inspera to be open for the duration of the examination - 120 mins)
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 understand 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