Molecular and Cellular Biology - BIOS3020

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Autumn Term 4 15 (7.5) Jill Shepherd checkmark-circle


This module addresses key themes and experimental techniques in molecular and cellular illustrated by examples from a range of microbes animals and plants. It covers basic cell structure, and organisation including organelles and their functions, cytoskeleton, cell cycle control and cell division. The control of all living processes by genetic mechanisms is introduced and an opportunity to handle and manipulate genetic material provided in the laboratory. Monitoring of students' knowledge and progress will be provided by a multi-choice test and the laboratory report, with feedback.

Functional Geography of Cells: Introduction to cell organisation, variety and cell membranes. Molecular traffic in cells. Organelles involved in energy and metabolism. Eukaryotic cell cycle. Chromosome structure & cell division. Meiosis and recombination. Cytoskeleton.

Molecular biology: The structure and function of genetic material. Chromosomes, chromatin structure, mutations, DNA replication, DNA repair and recombination, Basic mechanisms of transcription, mRNA processing and translation.

Techniques in molecular and cellular biology: Methods in cell Biology - light and electron microscopy; cell culture, fractionation and protein isolation/electrophoresis; antibodies, radiolabelling. Gene Cloning – vectors, enzymes, ligation, transformation, screening; hybridisation, probes and blots, PCR, DNA sequencing. Applications of recombinant DNA technology.

Laboratory: PCR amplification of DNA and gel analysis.


Contact hours

Contact Hours 27
Self Study: 123
Total hours 150

Method of assessment

Laboratory report – 1500-2000 words (20%)
MCQ assessments – 40 questions (20%)
2hr Examination 60%

Indicative reading

Alberts B, et al. Essential Cell Biology, 5th Edition, Garland Science Pub., 2019 ISBN: 978-0393680393

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

Intended subject specific learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
Demonstrate a basic understanding of cell structure, organisation and division, cellular control by genetic material and the range of techniques used in investigating cell and molecular biology.
Demonstrate a basic understanding of, and practical competence, in research methods in cell and molecular biology and of problem-solving in cell and molecular biology assessed by the multiple choice question format.

Intended generic earning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will have:
Developed and demonstrated time management and organisational skills
Developed skills at interpreting and retrieving information (knowledge management) and be able to demonstrate this in examinations
Developed, and be able to apply, problem-solving skills
Developed, and be able to demonstrate in examinations, written communication skills


  1. Credit level 4. Certificate level module usually taken in the first stage 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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