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CMB1006 : Practical Skills in Biomedical and Biomolecular Sciences 2

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Alison Howard
  • Lecturer: Mx Jan Deckers, Dr Simon Wilkinson, Dr Julie Lane
  • Practical Supervisor: Dr Sarah Judge, Dr Beth Lawry, Dr Michele Sweeney, Dr Vanessa Armstrong, Professor Christopher Eggett, Dr Lindsey Ferrie, Dr Lindi Chen, Dr Damian Parry
  • Other Staff: Mr Bogdan Metes, Dr Michelle Miller
  • Owning School: Biomedical, Nutritional and Sports Scien
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 15
ECTS Credits: 8.0


This module aims to:

• Provide a range of 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 and in the performance of key analytical techniques and interpretation of data generated.

• Continue to 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 lectures on information retrieval and interpretation, essay assignment; group oral presentation assignment, an introduction to statistical analysis of data, Excel spreadsheet data handling exercises; introduction to bioethical theories and their application, and methods of ethical reasoning.

The Microbiology and Immunology practical skills strand consists of laboratory-based practicals on the following topics: introductory bacteriology; elements of the immune system and bacteriophage assays.

The Physiology practical skills strand consists of laboratory-based practicals on the physiology of the cardiovascular system, blood pressure, and respiratory physiology and lung function.

The Pharmacology practical skills strand consists of laboratory-based practicals on the following topics: drug metabolism in vitro by liver microsomes; determination of paracetamol pharmacokinetics using spectrophotometry; the absorption of paracetamol and the effect of charcoal on drug absorption.

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 ActivitiesLecture101:0010:00PIP - mod intro, info ret, bioethics, intro to stats, essay writing/feedback, Intro to oral pres.
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00Formative & summative assessments (ext essay 10h,Oral Pres 5h,Prac report 10h,Pre/post prac quiz 5h)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical53:0015:00PIP - Practical classes - 5x3hour
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical22:004:00PIP - Practical classes - 2x2 hours
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical43:0012:00PIP practical part a and b (3hr each)
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities31:003:00PIP - Technical exercises, data handling workshops (2 x 1h, 1 x 1h)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching101:0010:00PIP - Post-practical and report writing seminars
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study166:0066:00Write lecture notes, general reading, practice in Excel, pre & post-prac prep work, assessment prep
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

1. Lectures will provide information explaining the basic methods of ethical reasoning, identify the strengths and weaknesses of different ethical theories, provide information on using the internet to search for scientific literature, including use of PubMed database, and describe how to effectively read scientific literature.

2. Technical exercises will provide students opportunities to develop data handling skills using Excel spreadsheets.

3. Seminars will provide students opportunities to consolidate learning from online lectures, data handling workshops and practical classes.

4. Group oral presentation will encourage teamwork and awareness of bioscience in the news and provide experience of preparing and presenting work to an audience of peers.

5. 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. 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 synthesis, numeracy & use of computer application. Online pre-and post-practical work and seminars will encourage students to prepare for upcoming work, learn time management and organisation, and to reflect on learning experiences.

6. Essay writing will give students experience of performing literature searches, reading scientific papers, researching and collating evidence on a scientific topic, critically appraising work, opinion forming, document preparation and writing in a structured and concise manner.

7. The written practical report provides experience of recording scientific experimentation, data collection and analysis, literature searching, reading and analysis of scientific papers, reflection on learning, idea development and writing in a clear and concise manner.

8. 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.

9. In-course assessments (formative and summative practical quizzes, presentation, 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 report2M65Structured practical lab report on assigned practical 750 words + 200 words relevant article section & 200 words reflective element
Prof skill assessmnt2M15PIP Group oral presentation to group of peers (presenting groups will be 4-6, audience group ~ 25 students)
Essay2M20Extended essay (1000 words)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

In order to pass CMB1006 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 practical report will assess the students' writing and information literacy skills, as well as their ability to interpret and analyse experimental data (k1, K3, S1-5, S8).

2. The essay will assess the students' writing skills, information literacy skills and ability to write a well-structured essay on a scientific topic (S6, S7).

3. The oral presentation will assess the students' oral presentation skills, information literacy skills and ability to work as part of a team (S6, S9).

Reading Lists