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Unit information: Molecular Tools in Stem Cells and Regeneration in 2021/22

Unit name Molecular Tools in Stem Cells and Regeneration
Unit code CSSBM1013
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Professor. Uney
Open unit status Not open




School/department Bristol Medical School
Faculty Faculty of Health Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

This unit will describe the powerful molecular techniques used to investigate: (i) the processes governing the control of cell fate specification and differentiation, (ii) regenerative signalling cascades. Students will also be encouraged to consider the ethical implications of using stem cells and gene therapy techniques as therapeutics. Key points that will be covered include:

  • Current methods in molecular and stem cell biology – e.g. gene cloning and analysis to study stem cell differentiation.
  • Genomics, transcriptomics and comparative proteomic approaches
  • The regulation of gene expression: e.g. by microRNAs, transcription factors and physiological cues
  • Manipulating gene expression to study the events controlling stem cell differentiation: E.g. Using Gene transfer/knockdown/editing techniques
  • Identifying pathways that mediate Regeneration: e.g. the application of genomic and proteomic techniques to investigate human neurological disease
  • Gene therapy approaches
  • To equip the student with a comprehensive understanding of the latest molecular techniques used to investigate stem cell biology and the pathways controlling regenerative processes.
  • To encourage the students to critically evaluate the merits and disadvantages of the different approaches.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students successfully completing this module will:

  • Be up to date with the latest molecular techniques used to investigate gene function in stem cells and the CNS
  • Be able to critically evaluate the advantages and limitations of the different approaches.
  • Understand how these techniques can be used to facilitate cell based and gene therapy approaches

Teaching Information

  • Web-based audio lectures and practicals.
  • Self-directed study
  • On-line discussion forums
  • Online synchronous discussion sessions

Assessment Information

Summative Assessment will comprise a number of tasks during the Unit and a final end of Unit timed assessment:

  • 1x essay contributing 40% to unit
  • 1x student presentation contributing 20% to the Unit.
  • 1x end of unit timed assessment which will occur at the end of the academic year and contribute 40% to the Unit.

Sets of multiple choice questions will help to support student engagement with the asynchronous material

Online synchronous sessions will provide support through the Unit including for coursework tasks. Students will be given formative feedback on all written assessments to aid their learning.

The pass-mark for the unit is 50%.



If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. CSSBM1013).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.