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CMB1006 : Practical Skills in Biomedical and Biomolecular Sciences 2

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Alison Howard
  • Lecturer: Mr Jan Deckers, Dr Nick Morris, Mr Jan Deckers, Dr Jonathan Lane
  • Practical Supervisor: Dr Lindsey Ferrie, Dr SarahJayne Boulton, Dr Michele Sweeney, Dr Damian Parry, Dr Colin Brown, Dr Christopher Eggett, Dr Carys Watts, Dr Beth Lawry
  • Other Staff: Dr Michelle Miller, Mr Alex Inskip, Dr Emma Kampouraki
  • 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 further 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.
• 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; timed essay assignment; oral presentation assignment; Excel spreadsheet data handling exercise; basic methods of ethical reasoning and basic bioethical theories and their application.

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

The Physiology practical skills strand consists of laboratory-based practicals on the following topics: physiological responses of the cardiovascular system; respiratory physiology and lung function; neurophysiological responses.

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.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion11:001:00Class Tests
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture81:008:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical103:0030:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching31:003:00Seminars
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1108:00108:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

1. Lectures will provide factual information to explain the basic methods of ethical reasoning. Identify the strengths and weaknesses of different ethical theories and provide information about using the internet to search for scientific literature, including use of PubMed database.

2. Seminars will provide students with the opportunity to develop their data handling skills using Excel spreadsheets and to deliver an oral presentation on a scientific topic.

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 synthesis, numeracy & use of computer application.

4. Class test provides an opportunity for students to write a scientific essay under exam conditions.

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.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report2M25Microbiology & Immunology Practical Strand: In-course written worksheets and short answer questions.
Practical/lab report2M25Physiology Practical Strand: In-course written worksheets and short answer questions.
Practical/lab report2M25Pharmacology Practical Strand: In-course written worksheets and short answer questions.
Prof skill assessmnt2M25Timed essay exam conditions - 15%, Group oral presentation - 5%, Setting own MCQs - Peer Learning - 5%
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Students must pass each strand with a minimum mark of 40% in order to pass the module. This system is in place to ensure students who pass the module have achieved all learning outcomes. Failure in any of the four strands will result in a capped module mark of 35% only retrievable to a 40% pass on completion of any reassessment considered necessary to meet the learning outcomes

1. Practical reports will test the students' knowledge and understanding of practical techniques, ability to record and analyse biological data, ability to carry out scientific calculations and ability to use computer aided learning packages (K1, K3, S1-5, S8).

2. The timed essay will assess the students' writing skills, information literacy skills and ability to write a well structured essay on a scientific topic under exam conditions (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).

4. By asking the students to set novel MCQ questions in a subject area, the peer learning excercise assesses the students deeper understanding of that subject (K1, K2, K4).

Reading Lists