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BIO8009 : Fundamentals of Cell and Molecular Biology

  • Offered for Year: 2019/20
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Ethan Hack
  • Other Staff: Dr Martin Edwards
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


To survey the fundamentals of cell and molecular biology and introduce key methods used in research on these subjects. This module is intended for students taking Masters-level courses in biological subjects who have not undertaken degree-level study of cell and molecular biology or who need to refamiliarise themselves with these topics.

Outline Of Syllabus

Introduction: genes and cells.
Proteins: composition and structure.
Organisation of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.
Protein synthesis: transcription and translation mechanisms.
Principles of regulation of gene expression.
Genomes: prokaryotic, eukaryotic nuclear, mitochondrial, and plastid.
Essential techniques in molecular biology: DNA cloning, library screening, PCR, detection and measurement of gene expression, DNA sequencing.
Revision Lecture
Lab: fundamentals of recombinant DNA technology.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture171:0017:00Lecture follow-up
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion11:301:30Final exam
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion170:308:30Revision for final exam
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion61:006:00Structured questions
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture171:0017:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical34:0012:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading121:0012:00Directed reading
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study126:0026:00Study of lectures; ReCap, Blackboard etc.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures review background, explain key concepts and outline illustrative examples. The final lecture is a revision session. The practicals give students hands-on experience, with supervision and guidance, with recombinant DNA technology and the use of computers to analyse DNA and protein sequences. Private study is necessary for students to absorb information presented in lectures, to deepen their knowledge and understanding through reading supporting material, and to complete the analysis of data from the practicals.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination901A703 Multipart questions from 6
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report1M28Structured questions
Written exercise1M2Practice exam
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The exam, assesses knowledge and understanding of the relevant subject material and the ability to integrate information from lectures and additional reading. A structured set of questions (deadline week 8) assesses students’ ability to produce, record and interpret data from experiments involving recombinant DNA technology. The exam practice (week 9) assesses students' progress in developing command of the course material and gives students the opportunity and incentive to develop their exam technique.

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 this.

Reading Lists