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Unit information: Advanced Options in Biochemistry in 2015/16

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Advanced Options in Biochemistry
Unit code BIOC30600
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Kelly Moule
Open unit status Not open

BIOC20202 BIOC20201


Core Skills BIOC30603 Advanced Cell Biology BIOC30601 The Dynamic Proteome BIOC30604 Cellular Information BIOC30602

School/department School of Biochemistry
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

Students study advanced topics from a variety of specialist lecture elements. These topics are largely based around the research specializations of staff within the School. There are seven elements available, each containing 8 lectures. Students study four of these elements. The elements are:

  1. Synthetic Biology
  2. Protein Science in Therapy and Technology
  3. DNA-Protein Interactions
  4. Molecular Basis of Disease
  5. Neurobiochemistry
  6. Cardiovascular Disease
  7. Cancer

Students on the Biochemistry with Molecular Biology and Biotechnology degree programme pathway (C790) study elements 1-4, while those on the Biochemistry with Medical Biochemistry degree pathway (C720) study elements 4-7. Students on the Biochemistry degree programme (C700) have free choice of elements. The unit is be assessed by a single 3 hour examination paper.

The unit aims to develop an understanding of key concepts in specialist areas of Biochemistry. The elements aims are as follows:

Synthetic Biology

  • Rational protein design and engineering
  • Synthetic biology and the ethics associated with engineering biological systems

Protein Science in Therapy and Technology

  • Engineering proteins for therapeutic uses
  • Biotechnology for alternative energy sources

DNA-Protein Interactions

  • How proteins recognise specific DNA sequences and move along the DNA molecule
  • DNA unwinding and transcription

Molecular Basis of Disease

  • Virus assembly
  • Malaria and other blood disorders


  • Prion diseases
  • Neurobiochemistry

Cardiovascular Disease

  • Atherosclerosis, its consequences and cardioprotection
  • The biochemistry of cardiovascular disease


  • The molecular basis of cancer
  • Viruses and cancer

Intended Learning Outcomes

  • An in-depth knowledge and understanding of the advanced topics covered in the unit and an ability to keep abreast with recent developments in the relevant field.
  • The ability to gather information from the primary scientific literature and to critically evaluate the material and appraise competing theories.
  • An understanding of the importance of specialist medical biochemistry and molecular biology and biotechnology.

Teaching Information


Assessment Information

The unit will be assessed through one 3 hour examination in May/June. Students will be given a choice of essay titles and will be expected to answer 3 questions. The paper will be divided into seven sections based on the different elements. Students will only be able to answer one question from any section.

Reading and References

Reviews and primary articles from the current scientific literature.