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2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

BIOL1112 The Molecules of Life

10 creditsClass Size: 190

Module manager: Dr Sue Whittle
Email: S.R.Whittle

Taught: Semester 1 View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

This module is mutually exclusive with

BLGY1115Introduction to Cell Biology: from Molecules to Cells and Ti
FOBS1135The Basis of Life

This module is not approved as a discovery module


Living cells are able to perform a huge variety of different and complex functions, yet 99% of their mass is made up of just common 6 elements.

This module will cover areas of Chemistry that are of direct relevance to the understanding of biological processes and provide an understanding of how simple inorganic elements are organised into the large macromolecular structures and polymers (nucleic acids, proteins, polysaccharides and lipids) that are crucial for life.

The importance of chemical structure in determining biological roles is a key theme. You will study the properties and kinetics of enzymes, the biological catalysts that control metabolic processes, and how those metabolic processes provide cells with the energy needed for life.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students should be able to demonstrate a good understanding of:
1. The basic concepts of chemistry and how this helps us understand the structures and functions of the principal macromolecules of cells including proteins and an introduction to enzymes.
2. How the structures of carbohydrates and lipids relate to their major functions;
3. The structures of DNA and RNA, and the enzymology of aspects of their replication, transcription and translation.
4. Energy metabolism and adaptive processes to optimise the use of biomass or other energy sources from a cellular perspective.


This course will provide the core concepts central to biochemistry, covered by two central themes:
1. Molecules of life
2. Energy & Metabolism

- Cell chemistry. functional groups, bonding and macromolecules
- Lipids and membranes
- Sugars and polysaccharides
- Amino acids and proteins, protein structure and function, protein folding and disease
- Enzymes, introduction to basic thermodynamics, substrate binding and catalysis, enzyme kinetics and measuring reaction rates.
- Nucleic acids and the central dogma
- DNA Replication, genome organization and DNA repair
- RNA, transcription and non-coding RNA, differences between prokaryote/eukaryote translation, introduction to post-translational modification
- Introduction to metabolism and fatty acids
- Glycolysis and the TCA cycle
- Oxidative phosphorylation
- Nitrogen metabolism and amino acid synthesis
- Photosynthesis

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent online learning hours30.00
Private study hours48.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

48 hours of private study.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

- Student attendance at lectures will be monitored in line with standard faculty practice.
- Completion of coursework MCQs and exam.
- Engagement with VLE resources.
- voluntary drop-in sessions.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
In-course MCQCompletion of open book online MRQ tests x 220.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)20.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated.

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)1 hr 80.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)80.00

Exam consists of MRQs. BIOL1112 will share parts of FOBS1135 paper

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 17/04/2019


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