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MMB8018 : Biomolecular Research in Health and Disease

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Paula Salgado
  • Lecturer: Dr Aikaterini Gatsiou, Dr David Bolam, Dr Debbie Hicks, Dr Josana Rodriguez Sanchez, Dr Christopher Duncan, Dr Suzanne Madgwick, Professor Wyatt Yue, Professor Matthias Trost
  • 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: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


How does biomolecular research really work?
What is the “research process”?
How do you go from a research idea to experiments to successful publication?
How do you work out the molecular mechanism of disease?
What are the current state-of-the-art biomolecular techniques?
How do you take fundamental research to the bedside?

In this module, we aim to:

•       Engage students with the research process, from conception through to publication, by lectures from active researchers describing their own published work, how they developed the idea and what led to successful publication

•       Develop students' ability to clearly present biomolecular science in oral and written form

•       Enhance student's knowledge of a variety of methods and techniques that allow the study of molecular, genetic and cell biology in a range of health and disease scenarios – from cancer to fertility, from pathogens to drug discovery.

Outline Of Syllabus

The course will comprise a series of lecture materials, seminars and workshops that discuss novel concepts within biomolecular research:

RNA in gene regulation
Carbohydrate-protein recognition in gut microbiota
Innate antiviral immune signaling
Molecular mechanisms of cancer
Protein complexes in cell polarity
Cell cycle biology and fertility
Surface structures in bacterial pathogens
Drug target identification proteomics
Drug discovery for novel targets

A range of different methods to study biomolecules in health and disease – from fertility to cancer and pathogens, from cell biology to drug discovery - will be covered in the interactive sessions, presented by researchers active in these fields.

Intended learning outcomes include an understanding of these methods but, importantly, a deeper engagement and perception of the research process, from ideas to the process that brings findings to publication as peer reviewed articles.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion115:0015:00Preparation of Assessed Group Presentation on Paper
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion160:0060:00Preparation & Submission of 2000 word Essay
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion125:0025:00Creation of powerpoint file
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching12:002:00Present in Person: Group presentations and discussions
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching92:0018:00Present in Person: Seminars
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity130:0030:00Additional Reading & Reflective Learning
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study481:0048:00Preparing Notes from Lectures & Reading
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk11:001:00Present in Person: Introductory session to outline the module
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk11:001:00Present in Person: Essay preparation discussion
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Sessions will be interactive encouraging students to question concepts and ideas and to develop critical analytical skills when interrogating the wider literature. The development of this expertise will underpin the capacity of the students to undertake private study.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report1M702000 words; article for general scientific readership describing an original paper selected from lecture presentations
Report1M30Design a graphical abstract for a research publication
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
Prof skill assessmnt1MPiP: Group oral presentation (Present in person) ; 15-20 minutes comprising presentation and critique of an original research paper.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The report on the content of a research paper describing a recent advance in biomolecular research tests the students’ analytical skills, their capacity to interpret experimental data and their ability to explain complex scientific principles, approaches and findings in terms accessible to a more general audience. The graphical abstract makes the students aware of the need for clear representation of scientific ideas in an accessible format and provides a skill which students will use in their future career. The group presentation develops insight into the process involved in generating data for high-quality scientific publications as well as developing ability to appraise critically data in biomolecular research

Reading Lists