Skip to main content


BGM2063 : Approaches to analysis of genes and genomes

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Jeremy Brown
  • Lecturer: Dr Andreas Werner, Dr Elizabeth Veal, Dr Nick Watkins, Professor David Elliott, Dr Simon Whitehall
  • Owning School: Biomedical, Nutritional and Sports Scien
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


To provide insight into modern genetic approaches to analysis of gene expression and its regulation
To consider current research methods for identifying regulatory interactions in gene expression.
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.
To provide information on epigenetic mechanisms & post-transciptional control of gene expression

Outline Of Syllabus

What is modern genetics? The field of genetics has changed dramatically over recent years, with the availabilty 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
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture81:008:00Key route for knowledge transfer. Some direction for additional reading will be provided.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical23:006:00Lab based practical session.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching31:003:00Key background information on methods,aimed at preparation for enhancing the practical & workshop.
Guided Independent StudyProject work12:002:00In course Presentaion
Guided Independent StudyProject work18:008:00Completing /writing up work based on workshops.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops22:004:00PC Cluster based database searches and information complilation.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study169:0069:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will be used to introduce basic knowledge, and also a number of key genetics methodologies. This material is most effectively delivered by lectures. Seminars will expand significantly the emphasis of the module on method, 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 focussed 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 paper2M40Write up on information compiled in workshops and independent study. (2000 words)
Practical/lab report2M35N/A
Case study2M25Presentation.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The workshops will be lab/computer based and will provide students with knowledge of how to access and use databases of various kinds. This will provide the necessary tools for the students to investigate and compile information on genes/genetic diseases, from genomic sequence and variation through to alternative splicing, expression patterns and consequences of mutations. A proportion of the information gathering necessary to generate the ‘Research paper’ assessment will be carried out during these sessions, and the 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.

Reading Lists