Advanced Analytical and Emerging Technologies for Biotechnology and BioEngineering - BI852

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2021 to 2022
(version 2)
Spring 7 30 (15) DR R Masterton checkmark-circle


This module will consider key areas of analytical technologies used for the analysis of proteins, small molecules and cells. This will include mass spectrometry techniques (GC-MS, ESI-MS, MALDI-ToF MS), crystallography and NMR, spectroscopy (UV-vis, IR, Raman, fluorescence, ESR), chromatography, DNA and RNA sequencing, bioinformatics, microscopy (AFM, EM), electrophoresis, (qRT)-PCR, 'omics' approachs, glycosylation profiling, cell based assays, simple fermentation control and measurements. Industrial case studies will be covered to demonstrate how different techniques and approaches are integrated in a commercial environment. Students will also be expected to design and implement a protocol aim at recovering and characterising a protein molecule from mammalian cell culture within set constraints and parameters. There will also be a visit to an industrial analytical laboratory to demonstrate such technologies in the work place. This will be delivered through workshops and seminars by specialists within the CMP and involve a number of course work assignments that will consider the most current research and thinking in these areas. This will be complemented by a one week practical where the students are asked to design a process to purify and characterise a molecule and then use this to setup a crystallisation screen.


Contact hours

The module will comprise a number of practical workshops and seminars to introduce the key concepts and practical techniques in each of the disciplines to be covered. These workshops will be aligned with a one week laboratory practical, whereby the students are required to design their own analytical process and procedure to purify and characterise a protein from a mammalian cell culture and then use the subsequent material to setup a crystallisation trial. The workshops and seminars will be complemented by a series of lectures that will introduce the key fundamental knowledge that underpins the different analytical techniques. We will also have several guest lectures from industrialists working in analytics to show how the various technologies are integrated into the commercial environment. The learning will be reinforced by visits to the industrial sites to see the technologies in action.

Seminars, and workshops including preparation time (40 h)
Lectures (15 h)
Laboratory practical and write up (50 h)
Industrial site visits and preparation (20 h)
Industrial guest lectures, discussions and preparation (25 h)
Self study (150 h)

Method of assessment

Practicals 60%
In class tests 40%

In detail:
Practical 1 on mass spectrometry, CD and fluorescence and write up (20%)
Practical 2 on protein recovery, purification and purification and write up (20%)
Design an analytical approach to purification and characterisation of a monoclonal antibody presentation (20%)
In class test (one problem question, 20%)
In class test (one essay, 20%)

Indicative reading

The reading list will largely be the latest review and primary research articles in this area, which will be used to drive a case-study based approach to learning. Students will be provided with their own copies of this reading material, but in some cases they will be set tasks for receiving appropriate journal articles to which we already have access. Key Journals will be Nature Biotechnology, Analytical Chemistry, Analytical Biochemistry, Biotechnology and Bioengineering, and Genetic Engineering News to which the students can subscribe free of charge. Many basic biochemistry and chemistry text books within the Library also cover much of the material which will be delivered.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes:
a. Knowledge and understanding of key analytical technologies used in the analysis of cell based expression systems in the biotechnology and bioengineering field
b. Practical experience of modern analytical technologies utilised in academia and industry in the field
c. A fundamental understanding of the principles underlying spectroscopic, chromatographic, sequencing, microscopy and physical methods of analysis
d. Basic skills in the interpretation of data from analytical analysis of products and samples
e. Ability to design appropriate analytical experiments to answer questions to be addressed
f. An appreciation of the importance of analysis for quality assurance, process monitoring and fundamental understanding of biological systems

The intended generic learning outcomes:
a. Communication: ability to organise information clearly, present information in oral and written form, adapt presentation for different audiences including academic and industrial
b. Analytical skills: interpretation of data, marshalling of information from published sources, critical evaluation of own research and that of others. An appreciation of how to utilise multiple data sets together to characterise a system or molecule.
c. Self-motivation and independence: time and workload management in order to meet personal targets and imposed deadlines
e. Information technology: use of appropriate technology to retrieve, analyse and present scientific information


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  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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