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Unit of study_

MEDS2003: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Without cells, life as we know it would not exist. These dynamic assemblies, packed with biological molecules are constantly in action. But how do cells work? Why is the food that you eat so important for cellular function? How is information transmitted from generation to generation? What happens as a result of disease or genetic mutation? In this unit of study, you will learn how cells work at the molecular level, with an emphasis on human biochemistry and molecular biology. We will focus initially on how genetic information is regulated in eukaryotes, including replication, transcription and translation, and molecular aspects of the cell cycle, mitosis and meiosis. Then we will explore cellular metabolism and how cells extract and store energy from fuels like fats and carbohydrates, how the use of fuels is modulated in response to exercise, starvation and disease, and how other key metabolites are processed. Our practicals, along with other guided and online learning sessions will introduce you to widely applied and cutting-edge tools that are essential for modern biochemistry and molecular biology. By the end of this unit, you will be equipped with foundational skills and knowledge to support your studies in the medical and life sciences.

Code MEDS2003
Academic unit Life and Environmental Sciences Academic Operations
Credit points 6
6p from (BIOL1XX7 or MBLG1XX1) and 6cp of (CHEM1XX1 or CHEM1903)
BCHM2072 or BCHM2972 or MBLG2071 or MBLG2971 or BMED2405 or BCMB2001 or BCMB2901 or BMED2804

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. describe in detail the main anabolic and catabolic processes in the cell and discuss how variations in energy demand and supply affect these processes
  • LO2. compare and contrast the integration of anabolic and catabolic processes in the cells and predict how perturbations to these processes, including fuel selection and genetic mutation, affect the cell and whole organism
  • LO3. summarise the catabolic and anabolic fates of dietary nitrogen and predict how the synthesis and degradation of nitrogenous biopolymers are affected in contexts such as starvation, diabetes and cancer
  • LO4. describe the complexity of the eukaryotic genome and its structure in detail and identify the key constituent elements
  • LO5. outline the specific processes by which genetic information is transmitted from one generation to the next and analyse the flow of this information within the cell
  • LO6. describe and evaluate the steps involved in gene transcription and translation and evaluate the different ways by which gene expression can be regulated
  • LO7. evaluate the main concepts and power of modern molecular biology techniques and select the appropriate technique for specific applications in life science and medical research
  • LO8. explain, with examples, the difference between qualitative and quantitative measurements; obtain quantitative measurements of metabolite concentrations and enzyme activities, in an accurate and reproducible manner
  • LO9. adapt, develop and troubleshoot recognised procedures for novel contexts and requirements
  • LO10. assess the quality of, interpret and draw conclusions from data obtained in the laboratory
  • LO11. summarise and identify the key points from topical biochemical data from a number of published sources; synthesise and communicate the findings.

Unit outlines

Unit outlines will be available 1 week before the first day of teaching for the relevant session.