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2023/24 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

BMSC2126 The Imprinted Brain

10 creditsClass Size: 60

Module manager: Dr Ian Wood

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

Pre-requisite qualifications

Successful completion of Level 1.

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

The course is based on the 2009 book by Christopher Badcock, “The Imprinted Brain”. In it, Badcock proposes that imprinted genes (parental genes that can be expressed in their offspring in favour of those of the other parent) determine our position on a spectrum of behavioural qualities between autism and psychosis. Students will be expected to apply an interdisciplinary approach to investigate the genetics, pathology, socio-economic costs and cultural differences associated with these disorders. The course will be run by Utrecht University in collaboration with University of Leeds and will involve distance learning in mixed teams of students from both universities.


The objective of the module is to expose students to interdisciplinary approaches to answering research questions. Students from the Universities of Leeds and Utrecht will work in mixed teams to investigate the proposed spectrum of neuropsychiatric disorders that encompass the diametric extremes of autism and psychosis. The module will utilise distance learning and digital communication between teams. Teams will produce a poster detailing their findings and will utilise data management tables to harmonise and integrate information from different disciplines.

Learning outcomes
By the end of this module students should be able to;
1. Define, describe and explain processes of DNA replication, protein synthesis, and epigenetics and be able to apply their knowledge;
2. Define and discuss the psychology of autism and psychosis and be able to contrast psychiatric disorders;
3. Integrate knowledge and insight from different disciplinary fields (e.g. molecular genetics and psychiatric disorders);
4. Work together in interdisciplinary teams in a structured way (according to the Repko method);
5. Recognize societal and cultural differences between countries with respect to social issues around psychiatric disorders.

Skills outcomes


There will be online teaching in molecular genetics epigenetics, clinical psychology and Badcock theory.

A number of other elective themes will also be taught from anthropology, sociology, culture, ethics, economics and pedagogy/upbringing.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
On-line Learning181.0018.00
Class tests, exams and assessment12.502.50
Group learning82.0016.00
Independent online learning hours20.00
Private study hours43.50
Total Contact hours36.50
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

Independent online learning will involve searches for relevant literature using search engines such as Web of Science, PubMed etc. Relevant review articles and original research articles will then be accessed online.

Private study will consist of reading articles and preparing data management tables for use by the whole team of students.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

- Students will discuss the research question to be answered in their interdisciplinary project in week 2. In this online meeting/teaching session students will be given verbal feedback on their ideas and thoughts regarding the subject of the project.
- Further feedback will be given in week 4 in meetings to discuss the initial results of the literature survey.
- In week 7 the insights into the research question from each discipline involved will be discussed prior to integration and verbal feedback will again be given. Finally, students will be able to discuss poster design and layout in meetings in week 7.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Reflective logReflection on interdisciplinary knowledge and skills development0.00
In-course AssessmentMid-term exam: Short answer questions and MCQ33.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

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

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 28/04/2023 14:47:37


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