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Unit information: Biochemistry: Cellular Processes in 2015/16

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Unit name Biochemistry: Cellular Processes
Unit code BIOC10004
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Gus Cameron
Open unit status Not open

A-level Biology or equivalent strongly advised



School/department School of Biochemistry
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

Biochemistry: Cellular Processes gives students the skills and knowledge needed to understand major cellular processes and how they are powered. Topics covered include cell structure, the cytoskeleton, the secretory pathway, cell division, cellular dynamics and cell movement, the basic properties of carbohydrates, the principal metabolic pathways found in cells and their regulation, membrane-based energy transduction, regulation of metabolism, hormones and signal transduction, and the cell biology of development.

The unit is supported by laboratory classes and small group tutorials that build ability and confidence in the practical, numerical and written skills required by scientists. This material is supported by online resources delivered through Blackboard and eBioLabs.

The unit is organised into three elements and will cover:

Element 1. Molecular biology in the cell (9 lectures)

  • Dynamic processes in cells
  • The cytoskeleton
  • The secretory pathway
  • Cell division
  • Cellular dynamics
  • Cell movement

Element 2. Cellular energy, use and storage (16 lectures)

  • Carbohydrate structure
  • Carbohydrate metabolism
  • Gluconeogenesis
  • Fatty acid structure
  • Fatty acid breakdown and synthesis
  • Oxidative phosphorylation and ATP
  • Regulation of metabolism

Element 3. Hormones, signalling and development (8 lectures)

  • Hormones and signal transduction
  • Cell biology of development
  • The teaching in the unit is delivered through 33 lectures and is supported by practical sessions, tutorials, workshops and a bioethics debate.

Intended Learning Outcomes

The unit aims to develop an understanding the following areas:

  1. The cytoskeleton
  2. The secretory pathway
  3. Cell division
  4. Cellular dynamics and cell movement
  5. Metabolic pathways and their energetics.
  6. The structures and properties of carbohydrates.
  7. Breakdown and synthesis of carbohydrates
  8. The structures and properties of fatty acids.
  9. Breakdown and synthesis of fatty acids
  10. Oxidative phosphorylation and the synthesis of ATP.
  11. Hormones and signal transduction
  12. The cell biology of development

The units aims to develop the following skills:

13. Logical deduction, calculation and the application of scientific methods

14. Presentation of scientific arguments both verbally and in written form in a clear and rigorous manner.

15. Completion of practical work using standard laboratory apparatus and demonstrate the proper use of scientific units.

16. Observation, measurement, calculation and interpretation of scientific data.

Teaching Information




Workshops and debate

Assessment Information

The overall mark for the unit will be determined as follows:

  • Practical work (10%): students undertake practicals throughout the unit. Marks are allocated to pre-lab tests (20% of the marks) hosted on the online lab manual, eBiolabs, and practical write-ups (80% of the marks).
  • Examination (90%): one 3-hour paper consisting of MCQs and essays.

Opportunities for formative feedback will be available on the practical reports and tutorial work (normally practice exam questions), and through examination preparation sessions (workshops).

Intended learning outcomes will be assessed as follows:

  • Learning outcomes 1-12 will primarily assessed through the three hour unit examination.
  • Learning outcomes 13-16 will be assessed through summative laboratory reports and formative tutorial work.

Reading and References

Recommended reading includes the most recent editions of:

  1. Biochemistry (Berg, Tymoczko & Stryer, Freeman, 7th Edition, ISBN-13: 978-1429276351).
  2. Instant Notes in Biochemistry (Hames & Hooper, 4th Edition, ISBN-13: 978-3137842019).
  3. Biochemistry (Voet & Voet, Wiley, 4th Edition, ISBN-13: 978-0470570951).
  4. Principles of Biochemistry (Voet, Voet & Pratt, Wiley, 3rd Edition, ISBN-13 978-0470-23396-2)
  5. Molecular Biology of the Cell (Alberts et al., Garland Science, 6th Edition, ISBN-13: 978-0815344643).