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BGM2063 : Approaches to analysis of genes and genomes

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Jeremy Brown
  • Lecturer: Dr Andreas Werner, Dr Elizabeth Veal, Dr Simon Cockell, Dr Amy Vincent, Professor David Lydall, Professor David Elliott, Dr Simon Whitehall
  • Practical Supervisor: Dr Josana Rodriguez Sanchez
  • 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 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0
European Credit Transfer System


1. To provide insight into modern genetic approaches to analysis of gene expression and its regulation.

2. To consider current research methods for identifying regulatory interactions in gene expression.

3. To develop understanding of resources available to the modern geneticist in terms of datasets describing different levels of information available on genes – sequence, expression, interactions, function, pharmacogenetics etc. and the links between them.

4. To provide information on epigenetic mechanisms & post-transcriptional control of gene expression

Outline Of Syllabus

What is modern genetics? The field of genetics has changed dramatically over recent years, with the availability of extensive genomic sequence making new approaches to genetic analysis possible. Allied to this a number of new technologies and understandings have also opened up significant opportunities in studying expression of genes and interaction of gene products. This module aims to broaden and deepen understanding of gene expression through both taught (lecture/seminar), practical and computer-based exercise making use of databases, datasets and bioinformatic tools.

The syllabus will cover:

epigenetic & long range regulation of gene expression

the complexity of RNA expressed in cells, post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression, and specifically alternative splicing, regulation of mRNA use and determinants of mRNA fate

practical uses of microRNA-mediated silencing

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion23:006:00In-course presentation 2x3hr sessions on same day, total time dependent on student number
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture81:008:00In person - Key route for knowledge transfer. Some direction for additional reading provided.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical23:006:00In person - Lab based practical session.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching13:003:00In person - Key background info on methods aimed at prep for enhancing the practical & workshop
Guided Independent StudyProject work18:008:00Completing /writing up work based on workshops.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops22:004:00In person - PC Cluster based database searches and information compilation.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study165:0065:00Writing up lecture notes, revision and general reading
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will be used to introduce basic knowledge, and also a number of key genetics methodologies.

Seminars will expand significantly the emphasis of the module on methods, and will be geared towards the practical and workshop sessions.

The practical will give the students an opportunity to generate data from the analysis of genes by RNAi and epigenetics, whereas the workshops will be focused on gathering data about specific genes. The oral presentation will provide opportunity for the students to investigate a specific topic related to the module, increasing their learning and to present this to the cohort.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Research paper2M60Write up on information compiled in workshops and independent study. (2000 words)
Practical/lab report2M40Practical observation proforma and pre-set questions. All questions must be answered
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
Case study2MIn person - Oral Presentation summarising the research paper summative assessment 5 slides max (5mins+5 mins questions)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The ‘Research paper’ assessment will be based on work initiated during the workshops and small group teaching which will provide familiarity with databases and interpreting complex genetic datasets, students will build on this in their independent study. This will provide a foundation for work in third year modules, where specific genes and conditions are discussed, frequently with reference to databases and information within them. As the write up of this part of the module will be in the form of a research paper, it will also provide relevant experience for the third year project modules, which are also written up in this form.

The linked formative oral presentation will afford students an opportunity in presenting before an audience of peers. It shall require each student to deliver a short presentation using at most 5 slides and then answer questions from the audience.

The practical write up will provide practice at analysing and writing up experimental data.

Reading Lists