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2021/22 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

MEDM5201M Preparing for the Research Project

15 creditsClass Size: 50

Module manager: Dr Milene Volpato

Taught: 1 Jan to 30 Apr View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

Pre-requisite qualifications

As per programme entry qualifications

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module will prepare students for their research projects, giving awareness of all necessary Health and Safety procedures, experience of a range of basic laboratory techniques and development of a work plan and proposal for a specific programme of research.


1. To enable the students to gain knowledge and a variety of basic laboratory skills essential for carrying out a laboratory research project
2. To plan and write a proposal for a laboratory research project

Learning outcomes
1. demonstrate a comprehensive specialist knowledge of Health and Safety procedures relevant to the execution of laboratory research in the field of Molecular Medicine
2. exhibit mastery when using a range of laboratory techniques appropriate to the study of Molecular Medicine
3. demonstrate in-depth knowledge of the background to a Molecular Medicine research question
4. be proactive and self-reflective in the formulation of a specific research question as a testable hypothesis for their research project
5. proactively define specific objectives for their research project
6. describe the protocols to be used and experiments needed for their research project
7. demonstrate a sound understanding of the ethical considerations relevant to their research project
8. creatively evaluate the types of data that will be generated by the experiments planned for their project and how these data will be analysed
9. critically analyse potential problems in a planned series of experiments and how these problems could be addressed
10. construct a work plan for their project in the form of a Gantt chart

Skills outcomes
This is a separate module from the main research project module, and is the only module for which it is necessary to pass for progression onto the research project module. It is designed to ensure students from diverse backgrounds have achieved a good level of preparation in the basic laboratory skills and relevant background essential for execution of the project.


Tutorials on Health and Safety
Development of a project proposal with named supervisor

Wet lab practicals are designed as research questions to solve using:
- genomic DNA extraction
- PCR followed by restriction enzyme digestion and agarose gel electrophoresis
- PCR using cDNA templates
- Cloning PCR products into plasmid vectors and transformation into E.coli
- Plasmid DNA preparation
- Western blotting
- Bioinformatics tasks

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 Meetings44.004.00
Independent online learning hours6.00
Private study hours102.50
Total Contact hours41.50
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

Write up of wet laboratory practicals 24 hours (included within total of 102.5h).

The majority of private study time will be spent preparing for the project by researching the literature, developing a research plan with the identified project supervisor, completing health and safety requirements and producing a proposal. The module is pass for progression to the research project.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

The write-up for the first practical with associated questions will be used as a formative exercise and individual feedback provided. There will be a formative assessment for the completion of a COSHH and risk assessment with individual feedback provided. Progress with the development of the project proposal will be monitored informally by the research project supervisors, who will provide individual formative feedback given to students on the first draft of the research proposal.

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
In-course AssessmentCOSHH and risk assessment forms exercise as preparation for future research project5.00
PracticalWrite-up 4 experiments / 2 sets of related questions25.00
Research Proposal3,000 words70.00
PracticalFormative assessment - Write up 1 experiment plus set of related questions0.00
In-course AssessmentOptional formative assessment - COSHH and risk assessment forms exercise as preparation for future research project0.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Compensation applies The programme does not follow standard University teaching dates and so the teaching on this module run over 7 weeks will commence prior to the formal start of Semester 2, ie corresponding to the start of term 2 teaching. In addition, in the event of students failing the practical assessment, a resit in the same format will not be available. Instead, the students will be offered the possibility to a different assessment: students will review exp on Minerva (as per original assessments) and watch a video recording of an experiment being performed. They will write up a lab book based on the video and answer a set of questions associated with the experiments, different from the original assessed questions. A set of result will be providedto them for data analysis.

Reading list

There is no reading list for this module

Last updated: 13/09/2021


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