LSC-10066 - Molecular Cell Biology
Coordinator: Sheila A Hope Room: HUX230 Tel: +44 1782 7 33674
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 4
Credits: 30
Study Hours: 300
School Office: 01782 734414

Programme/Approved Electives for 2022/23


Available as a Free Standing Elective






Barred Combinations


Description for 2022/23

This module is an introduction to molecular cell biology. Starting with the cell as the basic unit of life, you will look at the subcellular architecture of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. You will explore the diversity of prokaryotic cells and you will also look at the incredible diversity of cells within a multicellular organism and how these cells interact with and communicate with each other. You will find out the important roles of cellular membranes and be introduced to key signalling pathways. You will discover the importance of the genetic material and how the information stored in DNA is processed via RNA intermediates to produce proteins and how this genetic information is passed from one generation to the next (at the cellular and organismal levels). You will look in detail at structures of nucleic acids and compare and contrast the processes of transcription and translation in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells and how these different types of cells control which genes are expressed. You will be introduced to how we can exploit some of the DNA processing enzymes used by bacterial cells for recombinant DNA technology and will investigate some of the bioethical implications of research used to study our genomes or create new DNA molecules.
Core material (lectures) will be delivered asynchronously with supplementary material available on the KLE page. This frees up the contact time for interactive workshops and support sessions.
On this module, the assessments are designed not only to test your knowledge, but to help you to develop some of your key communication skills.

This module introduces students to the fundamentals of molecular cell biology, focusing on the mechanisms involved in the storage, processing and controlling the expression of the genetic information and the subcellular locations thereof. We investigate how cells within a multicellular organism interact with and communicate with each other. The module also looks at the diversity of cells and organisms, showing how genetic diversity is generated and how evolutionary pressures contribute to the wide biodiversity of organisms.
The workshop programme aims to equip students with, problem solving, bioethics, communication and analytical skills.

Talis Aspire Reading List
Any reading lists will be provided by the start of the course.

Intended Learning Outcomes

describe and compare the architecture of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, explaining the roles of cellular organelles and the cellular and molecular interactions involved in the formation of tissues: 1,2
explain the fundamental differences between the processes of bacterial cell division and mitosis and meiosis in eukaryotic cells and the implications these different types of cell division have on the genetic diversity of offspring (Mendelian genetics): 2
describe the chemical structure and function of the key nucleic acids and describe the molecular mechanisms of DNA replication, transcription and processing of RNA molecules, explaining how these processes differ in prokaryotes and eukaryotes: 2
compare and contrast the processes of translation and post-translational processing of proteins in prokaryotes and eukaryotes: 2,3
describe some of the major mechanisms of controlling gene expression in prokaryotes and eukaryotes and relate phenotypic diversity of cells within a multicellular organism to differences in gene expression: 3
describe the major mechanisms for generation of genetic variation at the level of DNA and relate phenotypic diversity of prokaryotes and eukaryotes to the process of evolution by natural selection: 2
discuss the structure and properties of biological membranes and describe the general mechanisms by which molecules are transported across them: 3
describe the different types of intra- and inter-cellular signalling systems in eukaryotic cells: 3
describe the practical applications of some of the naturally occurring DNA processing enzymes in recombinant DNA technology and the ethic implications of their use: 3
analyse and interpret experimental data and discuss the ethical implications of the use of animal models: 1,4,5
communicate in a variety of different formats (poster, bioethics blog, oral presentation, essay) to different audiences: 1,4,5

Study hours

Scheduled learning:
14x 1 hour workshops
1x 3 hour tutorials
1x 1 hour oral presentation
Independent Study:
36x 3 hours engagement with asynchronous material
1 hour completion of online class test
2 hours completion of open book examination
50 hours completion of the communication skills portfolio (including reflection from labs delivered as part of LSC-10087)

40 hours revision for online class test
81 hours revision for open-book examination

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment

1: Poster Presentation weighted 10%
Communication Skills Portfolio 1
Students will submit a poster based on the results of an experiment. This will usually be done in collaboration with a lab partner.

2: Online Tasks weighted 30%
Online Class Test
This paper will be released as a timed test in Blackboard. Students will find a link to this test on KLE on the day of the assessment. Once started, students will be given 2 hrs to complete. This is 1 hour more than we expect most students will actually need. International students will be asked to notify the School if they need an extension due to different time zones. This test will comprise a number of multiple choice and short answer questions. Questions will be based on the first 1/3 of the module content. All questions are compulsory. Students should pay careful attention to the number of points that each question is worth. In general, we would expect only one or two sentences for each point. Adjustments We have added an additional 1 hour to this test than is ordinarily needed to complete. By doing this, we do not expect that any student will require additional time due to dyslexia or disability.

3: Open Book Examination weighted 50%
Online open book exam
The paper will be released on KLE as a Word document at 9am on the morning of the exam. Essay style exam, with students answering 2 questions from a choice of 3. Expected length of essay 500-750 words. This will cover the last 2/3 of the module content. Students should answer each question using Word, clearly labelling each question as they provide their answers. Work will be submitted to Turnitin no later than 5pm on the day of release. International students will be asked to notify the School if they need an extension due to different time zones. Although students have been given significant time to complete this exam script, we expect most students to spend no more than 2 hrs . Answers should be as accurate and concise as possible. For essay-based questions, typical answers would be in the range of 500-750 words per question. We recommend that students do not exceed 750 words per essay-based question as we will be assessing the quality of your answer, not the quantity.

4: Online Tasks weighted 5%
Communications skills portfolio 2
Students will work in groups to produce a blog on the ethics of the use of animals in experimentation. The mark will be a group mark

5: Oral Presentation weighted 5%
Communications Skills Portfolio 3
Students will give an oral answer to a seen question based on the material for their posters. This will be approx 2 minutes. This will be an individual mark.