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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

BIOL3398 Research Tools and Applications

20 creditsClass Size: 40

Module manager: Dr Anastasia Zhuravleva

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

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:
1. Completed a project that combined experimental data obtained with the use of high-level instrumentation, such as affinity chromatography, FACS, CD, SPR, and NMR;
2. Gained experience in the collation, analysis and presentation of scientific data, including the use of appropriate analytic software (such as for CD, FACS, NMR);
3. 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;
4. 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;
5. Prepared and presented an oral presentation, in the form of a scientific conference talk, outlining the key results, methods used, conclusions drawn from these results and future directions. The students will also practice answering questions from their peers and academic staff.

Skills outcomes
This module will provide you with advanced experimental planning skills required in research and in employment in the pharmaceutical and other industries. You will work in teams to carry out a mini-project in molecular biology. You will learn how to work co-operatively to plan your experiments around other commitments, and to communicate effectively members of both your own and other team. Your teamwork will require problem solving both as individuals and as a group, and overall you will gain valuable transferable skills appreciated by employers.


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 the expression of the cloned gene and purification of the encoded product. The protein may then be characterised by SPR, NMR, CD, MS, and other biophysical techniques as appropriated. 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 teams of 4-5 students and learn how to work co-operatively and communicate effectively members of both their own and other team. Individual students will be expected to perform experiments and analyse the data that is collected. Each student team will be assigned to a project supervisor who will meet students regularly to discuss the progress their have made. Facility managers and lead academics will provide introduction to facilities and underlying principles, and assist with data interpretation. An academic will co-ordinate the activities outlined above.

Teaching methods

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

Weekly meetings with facility managers and lead academics; monthly meetings with Project supervisors; supervisors to comment on monthly progress reports.

Methods of assessment

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: 29/04/2022 15:27:00


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