Skip to main content


CMB1005 : Practical Skills in Biomedical & Biomolecular Sciences 1 (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Harley Stevenson-Cocks
  • Lecturer: Dr Simon Bamforth, Dr Michele Sweeney, Dr Damian Parry, Dr Beth Lawry, Dr Lindi Chen, Professor Robert Hirt, Dr Jun-yong Huang, Dr Alison Howard, Dr Jeremy Brown
  • 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: 15
ECTS Credits: 8.0
European Credit Transfer System


This module aims to:

• Provide a range of both practical laboratory skills and generic study skills essential to students studying biomolecular and biomedical sciences.
• Provide opportunities for students to apply and strengthen theoretical knowledge gained in complementary and co-requisite modules in the performance of key analytical techniques and interpretation of data generated.
• Develop safe laboratory practice

Outline Of Syllabus

The module is structured into four strands, three that align with the co-requisite theoretical modules and a generic skills strand.

The generic skills strand consists of: basic biology, chemistry and maths assessments; maths support and skills seminars; lectures on good academic practice and scientific writing (essays and lab reports); information retrieval exercise; and basic data analysis.

The Biochemistry practical skills strand consists of laboratory-based practicals on: spectrophotometry, ion exchange chromatography and enzyme kinetics; as well as online practical material covering the control of gene transcription.

The Cell Biology practical skills strand consists of laboratory-based practicals on: microscopic observation of unicellular eukaryotes; osmosis, pH and buffers; and neuromuscular function.

The Genetics practical skills strand consists of laboratory-based practicals on: genetic transformation of E.coli and use of PCR/electrophoresis for genetic analysis; as well as a computer-based practical covering gene linkage.

Online material will supplement practical skills in advance of and following each session as formative pre-and post-practical quizzes.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture81:008:00PIP - Module intro. maths, study skills, plagiarism, essay writing/essay feedback, data handling
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00Completion of formative and summative assessments, including PIP practical skills test
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities21:002:00Virtual laboratory class completed in students' own time
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical53:0015:00PIP practicals
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical42:008:00PIP Practicals
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching101:0010:00sync online - Post-practical seminars.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching31:003:00Writing feedback and skills support seminars. PIP
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study174:0074:00Writing up lecture notes, revision, general reading and preparation for assessments
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

1. Lectures will provide an introduction to the module and provide information about referencing, structure of scientific reports and essays, good academic practice, numeracy and study skills. PIP.

2. Seminars will provide students with the opportunity to develop their knowledge and practical experience of information retrieval and numeracy skills and review practical classes. PIP.

3. Practicals will provide experience of laboratory work; information presented in practicals will include knowledge and understanding of the underlying principles of essential practical techniques and laboratory health and safety. Students will gain hands-on experience of a range of practical techniques and safe laboratory practice. Practical classes will allow students to develop skills in recording and analysing biological data, carrying out scientific calculations and using computers. Practicals also provide an opportunity for students to ask questions and exchange ideas with peers, demonstrators and academic staff in a relatively informal setting. Skills practiced include critical thinking, data analysis, numeracy, and use of computer applications and virtual laboratory resources. 9xPIP practicals plus 1xasynchronous online practical.

4. Class tests (formative) are used to assess students’ numeracy skills and basic biology and chemistry knowledge. This provides students with early feedback on their skills in these areas and there is opportunity to attend seminars for further support.

5. Private study is used for self-directed learning and includes: reading lecture notes and texts; preparation for seminars and practicals; using learning resources on the Web. Skills practiced include critical thinking, active learning, goal setting and planning, information literacy and independence.

In-course assessments (formative practical quizzes, information retrieval, essay and practical report) spread throughout the module will teach students time management and organisation and encourage independent working.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report1M65Structured practical lab report on assigned practical (750 words) plus 200 words relevant article section submitted via Canvas
Prof skill assessmnt1M15Online information retrieval
Written exercise1M20In-course extended essay (750 words)
Zero Weighted Pass/Fail Assessments
Description When Set Comment
Lab exerciseMPIP - Practical skills assessment
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Computer assessment1MOnline Maths test - expected completion 1 hr via Canvas
Computer assessment1MOnline Biology test - expected completion 1 hr via Canvas
Computer assessment1MOnline Chemistry test - expected completion 1 hr via Canvas
Computer assessment1MOnline practical quizzes - expected completion 30 mins each (10 total)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

In order to pass CMB1005 students must achieve an overall mark of at least 40% and achieve at least 40% in the practical lab report assessment (essential component). Failure of the practical lab report assessment will require a resubmission of an additional practical lab report.

Students are expected to complete all formative pre and post-practical quizzes. Pre-practical quizzes form part of the practical pre-work and are requisite for students to access subsequent practical materials online and for attendance at laboratory classes. It is in students’ best interests to understand and complete all work associated with each practical, as they may be assigned any practical to submit a written report which contributes 65% of the overall module mark; access to report-writing materials will be dependent upon completion of associated practical work.

The range of assessment styles and system of assessment will ensure students passing the module achieved all learning outcomes.

1.       The online information retrieval exercise will assess students’ ability to find scientific information via the library catalogue, in textbooks and on the internet. This exercise will provide early feedback to the students on their information retrieval abilities.

2.       The practical report will assess the students’ writing and information literacy skills, as well as their ability to interpret and analyse experimental data.

3. The extended essay will assess the students' writing skills, information literacy skills and ability to write a well-structured and correctly referenced essay on a scientific topic.

4.       The practical skills assessment will assess students’ ability to perform basic laboratory techniques.

5.       The formative maths, chemistry and biology tests will allow students to determine their own level of ability in these areas and to practice their numeracy, chemistry and biology skills.

6. The formative practical quizzes will ensure students are familiar with the underlying theory of practicals and will allow students to develop their numeracy, data handling and data interpretation skills.

Reading Lists