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NES3303 : Biotechnology: Applications

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Maxim Kapralov
  • Lecturer: Professor Angharad MR Gatehouse, Professor Grant Burgess, Professor William Willats
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


Biotechnology provides food and materials used by humans, and is central to modern medicine. This
module aims to show how genes can be modified and transferred among organisms; to illustrate how
this technology leads to practical applications.
The module’s teaching is research-led, using up-to-date scientific literature and interactive teaching
sessions. Students will read research papers and learn how to critically analyse them to facilitate
learning and design their own research.

Outline Of Syllabus

The genetic modification of organisms to enhance their usefulness to humans is becoming
increasingly important in industry, agriculture and medicine. This module deals with how and why
various organisms are genetically transformed using a suite of technologies, and how these
technologies have led to practical applications in industry, agriculture and medicine.

Lecture topics: modern research techniques including DNA assembly, gene editing, antibodies and
synthetic biology. The use of genetically modified microorganisms to produce enzymes for
industrial applications. Genetic modification of plants for herbicide and pest resistance, to improve
food quality, and for industrial and medical applications.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials201:0020:00In-person lectures; Online lecture materials available via Canvas
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00At home assessment, to be submitted via Canvas.
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00Wiki based research project on genetic modification
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading162:0032:00Online - lecturers will give students relevant reading for module topics throughout the semester
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching41:004:00In-person tutorial to facilitate Wiki based research project on genetic modification
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity401:0040:00Lecture follow up
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study441:0044:00Reading of textbooks and research papers, reviewing on-line lecture materials and videos
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lecture materials will explain key concepts and outline illustrative examples using PowerPoint slides. For each lecture 50 min videos (ReCap) or PowerPoint Audios will be made available to students. This will be followed up by scheduled sessions (4 in total) to facilitate Wiki based research project on genetic modification. Each lecturer will also engage in discussion to answer questions or set up discussion points to help students prepare for final assessments. Private study will augment the framework given by lectures and engender depth of understanding through extensive reading of primary literature with a high scientific impact. Coursework is directed towards preparing and critically synthesising information in a concise manner, encouraging teamwork, and developing practical research skills.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise2A30Wiki based research project on genetic modification which counts for 30% of module mark
Written exercise2M70Home assessment to be submitted via Canvas.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The at-home assessment (70%) will consist of essays that will cover all topics presented in the lectures. The essay-type format of answers will allow students to demonstrate their understanding and critical synthesis of the concepts outlined by the lectures, enhanced by the depth resulting from additional reading of the scientific literature that is recommended throughout the course. The wiki based project (30%) tests the ability of students to analyse a particular topic in depth, interpret research literature, and design their own research project in collaborative manner.

Reading Lists