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2020/21 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

BIOL3398 Research Tools and Applications

20 creditsClass Size: 50

Module manager: Dr Anastasia Zhuravleva

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2020/21

Pre-requisite qualifications

Continued progression on MBIOL from Level 2 to Level 3 (minimum average of 65%)


BIOL3399Extended Research Project Preparation

This module is not approved as a discovery module


Module objectives are to:
- provide direct practical experience of scientific research;
- develop the personal and intellectual skills required to become producers as well as consumers of scientific data and ideas;
- provide experience of working in a research environment (laboratory, major facilities and computer suites), using a range of biological methods and interacting with research scientists;
- provide experience in planning experimental research;
- expose students to a range of research tools and applications used in the modern biosciences;
- develop confidence working as part of a team;
- provide experience of analysis and presentation of scientific data.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students will have:
- completed a project that combined laboratory work with the use of high-level instrumentation (such as mass spectrometry, electron microscopy and FACS, as appropriate) and computational approaches;
- gained experience in the collation, analysis and presentation of scientific data, including the use of appropriate analytic software;
- developed skills in the appropriate and selective use of library resources, including computer based search tools such as ISI Web of knowledge, Medline and PubMed;
- prepared and submitted a detailed report, in the form of a scientific manuscript

The manuscript will include an abstract, an appropriate summary of relevant literature, an outline of the aims of the project, descriptions of the methods used, details of the results obtained, conclusions drawn from these results and indications for future studies that might be undertaken.

Skills outcomes
Project formulation, data collection and analysis, presentation of data in the forma of a manuscript and an oral presentation.


Students will undertake a scientific investigation that requires project planning, the selection and adaptation of experimental protocols, the execution of laboratory and computer-based work, the interpretation of experimental data, literature searching, reading and reviewing and report (manuscript) writing. The scientific investigation will combine multiple experimental approaches and introduce students to major research facilities.

The scientific investigation will commence with basic laboratory methods, such as cloning using the Gateway system, the expression of the cloned gene and purification of the encoded product. The protein may then be characterised by PMF, non-dissociating MS, ITC, SPR, EM, NMR or AUC as appropriated. Envisage that X-ray crystallisation may also be incorporated. For those students with interests leaning towards cell biology rather than molecular biology, the protein of interest may be tagged with a fluorescent marker such as GFP to allow cellular localisation by confocal microscopy, and perhaps FAC sorting. Students will work as a group, particularly in early stages, and individually. Individual students will be expected to analyse all the data that is collected. Facility managers and lead academics will provide introduction to facilities and underlying principles, and assist with data interpretation. An academic will coordinate the activities outlined above.

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Supervision Meetings101.0010.00
Independent online learning hours55.00
Private study hours45.00
Total Contact hours100.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

This includes associated reading, project planning, analysis of experimental data, writing of results.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Project supervision meetings normally weekly. Supervisors to comment on one draft of written report.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Practical ReportScientific paper < 30 pages60.00
PracticalExecution, originality, diligence30.00
Oral Presentationpresentation on project to staff and peers10.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

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

Reading list

There is no reading list for this module

Last updated: 13/11/2020 08:18:59


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