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BIO1023 : Cells and Biomolecules

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s):
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


The module aims to enable students to appreciate the fundamental importance of cellular and biochemical processes for whatever aspect of biology they subsequently specialise in. It aims to provide basic information about: (i) the major biological macromolecules; (ii) how structures of biomolecules relate to their functions; and (iii) how biomolecules are synthesised and degraded through central metabolic pathways and the links to production and use of energy. It also provides the opportunity for students to gain hands-on experience of studying cells and biomolecules and to develop skills needed to work effectively in a laboratory, perform relevant calculations, display and interpret experimental results and prepare laboratory reports.

Outline Of Syllabus


Basic chemistry
Calculations for biosciences
Macromolecules and their constituents:
• Proteins as enzymes and structural molecules
• Carbohydrates as structural and storage molecules
Lipids and membranes
Metabolic processes:
• Energy generation by glycolysis, fermentation and respiration
• Anabolic pathways:gluconeogenesis
• Photosynthesis
• Lipid breakdown and synthesis
• The nitrogen cycle
Research seminars: cover relevant current research topics, reinforcing material covered during lectures and helping students to appreciate the importance of research on cells and biomolecules across the life sciences.


Cell structure
Properties of proteins

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion280:3014:00Revision for examinations
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion33:009:00Preparation of formatively and summatively assessed lab reports
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion12:002:00Examination
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture301:0030:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical33:009:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching41:004:00Seminars
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1111:00111:00Student selected study of lectures, ReCap, Blackboard, textbooks, etc. to enhance understanding
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study280:4521:00Routine lecture follow up to identify areas requiring further, more detailed study
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will provide students with the essential factual and conceptual information for the module. The practical classes give students the opportunity for hands-on study of cells and biomolecules, developing their skills in using laboratory equipment and in collecting, manipulating (including numerical calculations), presenting and interpreting experimental data. On-line material will be provided for students who need to gain confidence with or to revise basic chemical principles.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
PC Examination1201A70N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report1M30One lab report
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Practical/lab report1MPractice in analysing and reporting on experimental results (1 report)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The formal examination will assess the breadth of students’ knowledge of material covered in the module through a mixture of short answer (such as fill in blanks, multiple choice, label diagrams, draw structures) questions and the depth of their knowledge through short essay answers on specific topics.

Assessment of laboratory reports will appraise data collection, presentation and numerical manipulation skills, and the ability to link results of practical experiments to theoretical knowledge. The Blackboard self-test quiz will help students to review and assess what they have learned from the seminars.

Formative assessment through practice lab reports will help students prepare for the summatively assessed reports and for the exam by allowing them to gauge their preparedness and identify where improvement is needed.

Study Abroad students may request to take their exam before the semester 1 exam period, in which case the format of the paper may differ from that shown in the MOF. Study Abroad students should contact the school to discuss.

Reading Lists