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BGM3039 : Medical Biotechnology

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Neil Keegan
  • Lecturer: Professor Kevin Marchbank, Professor David Elliott, Dr Andrew Pike, Dr Philip Manning, Dr Bill Scott, Dr Andrew Knight
  • 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:

1) inform students of the range of therapeutic molecules and diagnostic tools developed by the biotechnology industry over the last few years.
2) explain the mechanisms whereby these therapeutic molecules and diagnostic tools work.
3) identify the methods whereby these therapies and diagnostic tools are produced.
4) identify and explore new and novel areas of research in the biotechnology industry, including regenerative medicine and nanotechnology.

Outline Of Syllabus

The use of therapeutic proteins, including expression systems and importance of glycosylation. Applied immunology, how therapeutic antibodies can be selected and engineered for use as therapeutics. Further applied immunology relating to complement, chronic diseases caused by complement failure and potential therapeutic approaches. Vaccines, including live vaccines, recombinant vaccines, conjugate vaccines, cancer vaccines and Covid-19 vaccines. Antisense technology, RNAi, for use as therapeutics and recognition molecules in diagnostics. Diagnostics and biosensors including electrochemical sensors, enzyme and antibody detection systems, cutting edge new and novel areas in biosensor and diagnostic research including microsystems. Nanotechnology, the future potential of nanoscale objects, such as DNA scaffolds in electronics and sensing. A view into current developments in regenerative medicine research, specifically organ transplantation and tissue engineering.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture261:0026:00In person - Lectures will be used as primary method of knowledge transfer
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion401:0040:00Assessment preparation and completion, including revision and extra reading for assessment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching11:001:00In person x 1 seminar - class divided into groups and students will attend one session each
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study811:0081:00Updating lecture notes with extra knowledge from reading references & wider lit directed reading
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study521:0052:00Reflective learning. Writing up lecture notes and understanding basic material provided
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will provide students with key information, relating to knowledge outcomes (K1-5).

Seminar will encourage critical interpretation and synthesis of information through discussion (S1).

Private study will allow students to extend their knowledge through reading of journal articles and other recommended references (K1-5)(S3). Preparation for the timed essay will support the knowledge and skills outcomes, but most importantly provide the students with experience of a pressurised written exam condition in preparation for the final invigilated examination (K1-5; S1-3).

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1202A70In person Invigilated exam. 2 essay questions to be answered from a choice of 4.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise1M30In person Invigilated timed essay (1 hour)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The final exam provides evidence of knowledge and understanding of the topics (K1-5; S1-3). The timed essay and seminar tests the analytical and research skills of the students as well as developing their written communication skills which helps prepare them for the examination (S1-3).

FMS Schools offering Semester One modules available as ‘Study Abroad’ will, where required, provide an alternative assessment time for examinations that take place after the Christmas vacation. Coursework with submissions dates after the Christmas vacation will either be submitted at an earlier date or at the same time remotely.

Reading Lists