LSC-30016 - Structural Biology & Macromolecular Function
Coordinator: Trevor J Greenhough Room: HUX202 Tel: +44 1782 7 33405
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 6
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 150
School Office: 01782 734414

Programme/Approved Electives for 2020/21


Available as a Free Standing Elective






Barred Combinations


Description for 2020/21

Advances in biotechnology, biology and biomedicine, and their impact on the quality of life, the economy, medicine and health care increasingly depend on the application of structural biology which provides detailed three-dimensional structural information at the atomic level of the proteins which are central to all life processes. While structural biology includes a variety of different techniques such as crystallography and electron microscopy, this module concentrates on the outcomes of these techniques rather than the techniques themselves, with in-depth analysis of how proteins, enzymes and viruses recognise and bind their targets, and how detailed structural information is used to intervene in or enhance these processes. An important aspect of health and well being in all forms of life is the ability to prevent, resist, fight and recover from infection and disease, and much of the module concentrates on how an increased understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved provides a unique opportunity for the design of potential diagnostic and therapeutic agents and strategies.

The aims of this module are to show how our knowledge and understanding of biological function and the molecular basis of disease are enhanced and underpinned by detailed structural information and to develop skills in the evaluation of published scientific literature.

Intended Learning Outcomes

describe and critically discuss examples of the contribution of structural information to our understanding of the molecular basis of disease: 2
describe and critically discuss the importance and uses of structural information in the detailed investigation of some or all of enzyme function, DNA recognition, tumorigenic mutations, cell signalling, recognition in innate immunity, virus architecture and pathogenicity, structure and function in adaptive immunity, cell cycle regulation, apoptosis: 2
describe and critically discuss examples of the uses of structural information in the design of therapeutic agents: 2
search for, select and retrieve information from the scientific databases and literature: 1
abstract, synthesise, integrate and critically evaluate information from the scientific literature: 1
describe and critically discuss examples of the relationship of protein structure to its function: 1,2

Study hours

14 Hours Lectures
02 hours on-line Q&A / graphics / revision sessions
02 hours on-line tutorial / Q&A sessions on the ICA
02 Hours End of module examination
40 Hours Research and completion of in-course report
90 Hours Private study, preparation for examination

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment

1: Report weighted 25%
Report 1500-2000 words
Early in the module students are given the reference of a published scientific paper in structural biology. They are expected to find this paper on the web of knowledge (WOK) or through the Keele electronic on-line Journal facility and to write a short summary of its major findings. Students then locate other published papers in the same scientific field through the WOK, choose 5 of these to study, and discuss briefly how each of these relates scientifically to each other and to the original article. Based on the available objective evidence, including the number of citations of each paper and the impact factor of the journals, students then estimate and discuss the relative importance and impact in the field of both the original paper and the 5 additional papers. The completed report is to be submitted via the KLE (Turnitin).

2: Open Book Examination weighted 75%
Online open book exam
The exam paper will be released on KLE as a word document at 9am on the morning of the exam with the requirement to submit through Turnitin by 5pm. The exam paper will consist of essay style questions only with two out of five questions to be answered. The recommended length for each essay answer will be stated on the exam paper as 500-750 words.