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2024/25 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

BIOL3114 Advanced Topics in Molecular and Cellular Biology

20 creditsClass Size: 150

Module manager: Dr Natalia Riobo-Del Galdo

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2024/25

Pre-requisite qualifications

Completion of year two in an undergraduate degree in the school of molecular and cellular biology

Module replaces


This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Research into molecular and cellular biology underpins much of what we know about how life works, and what happens when things go wrong. In this module, we will take you beyond textbook examples and into the world of research. Experts in their field will guide you through current and ongoing research allowing you to see how research is done whilst also going into key topics from this subject area like you haven’t done before.


This module will provide learners enrolled on programmes in the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology the opportunity to advance their understanding of key cutting edge topics from the disciplines of molecular and cellular biology going beyond knowledge they will have acquired at levels 1 and 2. The aim is to provide learners with an opporutnity to explore more deeply about key biologial processes at the molecular and cellular level whilst also allowing them to see how research progresses our understanding and how that knowledge can be harnessed. Learners should also build on their ability to critically analyse data presented in papers and draw appropriate conclusions from such data.

Teaching on the module will be split into 5 key topical areas in which learners will receive 6 in-person lectures from experts in their fields. Lecturers will focus on setting out the core content that learners should understand, and learners are expected to build upon this through either directed or self-directed learning around the subject. As part of the directed learning activities, learners will be provided with data analysis problems which will build on their learning from the lectures and allow them to apply their knowledge to a research question.

Learning outcomes
On successful completion of the module students will be able to:
1. Evaluate what is known about key molecular and cellular processes in scientific writing using knowledge from the current state of the art in a given field.
2. Identify knowledge gaps and propose research strategies towards addressing open questions in the field.
3. Critically analyse and draw conclusions from data derived from techniques commonly used in molecular and cellular biological research.

Skills Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the module students will be able to:
4. (Academic/Work-ready) Gather information from disparate sources and synthesise it in written form for a specified audience.
5. (Work-ready) Explain and evaluate how challenge-led research can contribute to developing sustainable solutions to global problems.


Advanced Topics in Molecular and Cellular Biology will be split into 5 topics with each topic comprising of 6 lectures. The specific topics have not yet been determined. Of the topics available from the current ATUs in 2023/24, 5 topics selected from the following are likely a good fit to the module:
1. Innate Immunity
2. How to Build an Organelle
3. Membranes
4. DNA Damage Control
5. Signal Transduction in Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease
6. Stem Cells

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours168.00
Total Contact hours32.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

To ensure students have opportunities to receive formative feedback:
• Lecturers may choose to use active-learning components during their lectures to help students assess their level of understanding.
• Students will be provided with formative data analysis questions for each topic and will be able to self-assess their answers following release of model answers.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
EssayLearners will write an essay on one of two topics, allowing learners to demonstrate an application of subject knowledge.50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)50.00

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

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Open Book exam3 hr 50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)50.00

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: 14/05/2024


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