Biological Membranes - BI604

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2020 to 2021
Spring 6 15 (7.5) DR C Mulligan checkmark-circle


Cells and subcellular compartments are separated from the external milieu by lipid membranes with protein molecules inserted into the lipid layer. The aim of this module is to develop understanding of both the lipid and protein components of membranes as dynamic structures whose functions are integrated in cellular processes.


This module appears in the following module collections.

Contact hours

Total contact hours: 38
Private study hours: 112
Total study hours: 150

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods
Practical (17.5%) 2500 word limit based on combined computer and wet lab investigation
Assignment (17.5%) Problem from past exam paper, 2500 word limit
Exam, 2 hr (65%)

Reassessment methods
Reassessment Instrument: 100% exam

Indicative reading

Core texts:
• Alberts et al. "Molecular Biology of the Cell" or Lodish et al. "Molecular Cell Biology".
AND One of the standard biochemistry texts (e.g. Lehninger/Nelson & Cox, Voet & Voet, Stryer etc.).
In addition, students will be given references to articles in a number of key review journals (Annual Review series, Trends series, Current Opinions series), and to primary research papers in (among others) Journal of Cell Biology, Journal of Biological Chemistry and Cell.
Supplementary (available in the Library).
• Luckey. M, "Membrane Structural Biology" Yeagle, P.L. “Membranes of cells”, 2nd edn. Jones, M.N. and Malcolm, N. “Micelles, monolayers, and biomembranes”.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
• Demonstrate an understanding of membrane structure, traffic and transport, and understand the molecular basis of several common genetic diseases in this area.
• Demonstrate ability to integrate data from laboratory and computer-based analyses.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
• Be enabled in a number of computer skills important to final year projects and to scientific research.
• Demonstrate ability to solve honours level problems based on scientific data.


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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