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BGM3046 : Research in Biochemistry & Genetics

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Alessio Iannetti
  • Lecturer: Dr Brian Ortmann, Dr Louise Reynard, Dr Christopher Stewart
  • 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: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0
European Credit Transfer System


The module aims at providing an understanding of the research process to students.

Specific aims are:

1. To provide the opportunity to improve numerical skills required for scientific research in Biochemistry and Genetics.
2. To further develop abilities in collating, interpreting, critically analyzing and presenting scientific data.
3. To provide the opportunity to develop skills in data analysis and problem solving.
4. To test, encourage, and reward the ability to critically assess and present scientific literature in a publishable format.
5. To provide students with team working opportunities.

Outline Of Syllabus

1. Lectures deliver material by research-active lecturers on the wider research environment: career options in Research; how research is done in academia, providing guidance on the different steps of the research career progression (e.g work expectations from a PhD student, Post-Doc and Principle Investigator).

2. Numeracy skills for Biochemists and Geneticists

3. Individual preparation of a literature review (Part A) of 1500 words on a relevant subject, followed by the production of an open letter (Part B) of 600 words in which students detail how they plan to address and act upon feedback received by markers in Part A.

4. Data analysis and interpretation skills: group work on producing a Power point to present and interpret main findings from a research paper in a journal club format.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture71:007:00In person lectures
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture11:001:00In person - Introduction Session
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion188:0088:00Literature review supporting reading, research and writing, journal club preparation, numeracy practice
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching12:002:00Journal club group presentation - in person
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery21:002:00In person - 2 progress review/help sessions. (Q&A sessions; 1. Part A literature review/ 2. Part B literature review)
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
PED3013Research in Pharmacological Sciences
PSC3010Research in Physiological Sciences
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The students will receive lecture materials to prepare them for the calculation questions and work through a series of problem sheets to learn the required skills. (LO, S1)

The students will work in small groups to prepare a short presentation to discuss a research paper. The presentation will be in a "journal club" format, where the focus is to critically analyse and interpret the data from the paper. Questions will be asked by the seminar lead and all the students in attendance in a collective discussion. (LO, S2-S3)

To help students to familiarise themselves with the process of submission of a review article to a journal for publication, students will be asked to write a literature review (Part A) on an assigned topic. As part of this exercise, students will receive support in the form of a lecture providing an overview of the assessment and drop-in sessions in which they will receive feedback/suggestions and discuss their progresses. Furthermore, to support their understanding of the topic, relevant tools and reading material will be uploaded on Canvas. After submission of part A, students will receive feedback and will be asked to address this feedback by producing an open-letter addressed to a virtual editor where they outline their plan to address the feedback received (Part B). The exercise will support students’ understanding of the research publication process. (LO S2-S3)

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise1M70Literature Review on a provided topic in a publishable format (1500 words)
Written exercise1M30Open Letter to address feedback received on Part A (600 words)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Literature Review

Students will emulate the peer-review process of publishing a research article, via preparation and submission of a literature review (Part A) of 1,500 words (70% of the course-mark) on a provided title, followed by a “Part B” consisting of an open letter of 600 words (30% of the course-mark) addressed to the Editor of the journal in which the students detail how they would plan to address the feedback points in order to have their work accepted for publications. This assessment will train students in writing literature in a style required for publication, gaining an understanding of the peer-review exercise necessary to publish scientific literature.

Reading Lists