Biomedical Science

Biomedical Science with a Sandwich Year - BSc (Hons)

UCAS code B942

This is an archived page and for reference purposes only


Are you interested in a career in the health services, in a pharmaceutical company or in medical research? Would you like to explore diseases like cancer or the response to infection? Are you intrigued to learn how medicines are discovered and how they work?


In the School of Biosciences, we have a community spirit and students learn with and from each other. We are also renowned for our innovative teaching methods.

  • New ways of using IT in lectures allow you to revisit the teaching at a later date.
  • Our academics have developed animations to help explain tricky concepts.  
  • Special communication projects teach you how to share scientific knowledge with the public.

Our degree is accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS) and the Royal Society of Biology (RSB).

Our degree programme

During your studies you explore the biochemical processes that occur in the human body, learn how they respond to diseases and how this knowledge can be used to identify and treat diseases. In your future career, this scientific knowledge could be put to practical use within medical healthcare.

In your first and second years, you develop your skills as a bioscientist, covering areas including biological chemistry, genetics, molecular and cellular biology, human physiology and disease, and metabolism.

In your final year, your modules cover areas such as immunology, haematology and blood transfusion, and pathogens. Optional modules cover areas including the biology of ageing, neuroscience and cancer biology.

You also complete your own research project. Our research funding of around £4.5 million a year means that you are taught the most up-to-date science and this allows us to offer some exciting and relevant final-year projects.

We also offer between 20 and 30 paid Summer Studentships each year. You can apply to work in our research labs during the summer holiday and gain hands-on research experience before your final year of study.  

Sandwich year

Biomedical Science offers the possibility of doing a one-year placement away from the University between Stages 2 and 3. Sandwich placements provide an excellent opportunity to gain relevant work experience, usually in the pharmaceutical industry or a research institute. These placements can be in the UK or abroad. You are paid by your employer and produce an independent research project.

You can also study or work abroad as part of your degree with our Biomedical Science with a Year Abroad programme or you have the option to take this programme as a three-year degree, without the year in industry. For details, see Biomedical Science.

Study resources

We recently spent £2 million on our laboratories to ensure that you develop your practical skills in a world-class environment. We give you extensive practical training and you spend up to two days a week in the laboratory.

Extra activities

You can join BioSoc, a student-run society. Previous activities have included research talks and social events.

We also encourage our students to attend outside conferences and events. In 2015, Kent students competed with 280 teams and won the gold medal at the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Giant Jamboree in the USA.

Professional network

Our school collaborates with research groups in industry and academia throughout the UK and Europe. It also has excellent links with local employers, such as:

  • NHS
  • GSK
  • MedImmune
  • Eli Lilly
  • Lonza
  • Aesica Pharmaceuticals
  • Sekisui Diagnostics
  • Cairn Research
  • Public Health England.

Think Kent video series

Echoing the tale of the Trojan Horse, National Teaching Fellow, Dr Dan Lloyd, explains how antibodies are being used as vehicles to target toxic molecules and radioisotopes to cancer cells exclusively, therefore resulting in more specific therapies and potentially minimising side effects.

Independent rankings

In the National Student Survey 2016, Biomedical Science at Kent was ranked 3rd for the quality of its teaching. Biosciences at Kent was ranked 8th for course satisfaction in The Guardian University Guide 2017.

Biomedical Science students who graduated from Kent in 2015 were the most successful in the UK at finding work or further study opportunities (DLHE).

Course structure

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.  

On most programmes, you study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also be able to take ‘wild’ modules from other programmes so you can customise your programme and explore other subjects that interest you.

Stage 1

Modules may include Credits

This course will provide an introduction to biomolecules in living matter. The simplicity of the building blocks of macromolecules (amino acids, monosaccharides, fatty acids and purine and pyrimidine bases) will be contrasted with the enormous variety and adaptability that is obtained with the different macromolecules (proteins, carbohydrates, lipids and nucleic acids). The nature of the electronic and molecular structure of macromolecules and the role of non-covalent interactions in an aqueous environment will be highlighted. The unit will be delivered though lectures, practicals, workshops and small group teaching. Frequent feedback will be given to the students to ensure that they fully understand what is expected of them. Short tests will be used throughout the unit to test the students' knowledge and monitor that the right material has been extracted from the lectures.


Introduction. What is Biochemistry? The chemical elements of living matter. The central role of carbon and the special properties of water. The underlying principle in the use of monomers to construct macromolecules. The nature of weak interactions in an aqueous environment.

Nucleic Acids. Types - DNA and RNA. Chemical structure, properties of phosphodiester linkage, primary structure. Nucleic Acids. Secondary structure - Watson Crick DNA model, A and Z DNA. Tertiary structure - circular DNA, supercoiling. Stability of nucleic acids - sugar phosphate chain, base pairing, base stacking. Biological functions of Nucleic Acids. Overview of replication, transcription and translation. Role of RNA - types, post-transcriptional processing, tRNA structure, ribosomes.

Proteins. Amino acids - structure, classification, properties. Peptides and peptide bond. Secondary structure. Structural proteins. Tertiary structure - role in function. Factors determining secondary and tertiary structure. Quaternary structure. Protein Function - Myoglobin versus Haemoglobin. Haemoglobin variants. Subcellular fractionation. Protein isolation and purification. Use of Molecular Graphics packages.

Carbohydrates. Monosaccharides, stereoisomers, conformation, derivatives. Disaccharides, glycosidic bond stability and formation (a and ß). Polysaccharides. Storage (e.g. starch, glycogen), structural (e.g. cellulose, chitin, glycosaminoglycans bacterial cell walls). Glycoproteins.

Lipids: lipids, fatty acids, triacylglycerols, glycerophospholipids, sphingolipids, glycosphingolipids, steroids, waxes. Membranes: lipid bilayers, hydrophobic effect, fluid-mosaic model, membrane-bound proteins. Membrane transport systems: passive transport, ionophores, active transport, double-membrane systems, porin.

General techniques in biomolecular science: spectroscopy of small molecules, chromatography and electrophoresis.


1. Preparation and identification of nucleic acids.

2. Protein characterisation - spectroscopy, DTNB and disulphide bonds.

3. Analysis of the sugar composition of honey and TLC separation of lipids.

4.. Chromatographic separation of proteins

5. Assessed practical.


1. Molecular modelling using Jmol or similar

2. Model building workshop mono and di saccharides

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This course aims to introduce the 'workers' present in all cells – enzymes, and their role in the chemical reactions that make life possible.

The fundamental characteristics of enzymes will be discussed – that they are types of protein that act as catalysts to speed up reactions, or make unlikely reactions more likely. Methods for analysis of enzymic reactions will be introduced (enzyme kinetics). Control of enzyme activity, and enzyme inhibition will be discussed.

Following on from this the pathways of intermediary metabolism will be introduced. Enzymes catalyse many biochemical transformations in living cells, of which some of the most fundamental are those which capture energy from nutrients. Energy capture by the breakdown (catabolism) of complex molecules and the corresponding formation of NADH, NADPH, FADH2 and ATP will be described. The central roles of the tricarboxylic acid cycle and oxidative phosphorylation in aerobic metabolism will be detailed. The pathways used in animals for catabolism and biosynthesis (anabolism) of some carbohydrates and fat will be covered, as well as their control. Finally how humans adapt their metabolism to survive starvation will be discussed.

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This course will expose students to key themes and experimental techniques in molecular biology, genetics and eukaryotic cell biology illustrated by examples from a wide range of microbial and mammalian systems. It will cover basic cell structure, and organisation of cells into specialized cell types and complex multi-cellular organisms. The principles of cell cycle and cell division will be outlined. The control of all living processes by genetic mechanisms will be introduced and an opportunity to handle and manipulate genetic material provided in practicals. Lectures and practicals will run concurrently as far as possible and monitoring of students' knowledge and progress will be provided by multi-choice testing and feedback in workshops.

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.

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 including recombinant protein expression, trangenics/knockouts, RNAi, genome projects, DNA typing, microarray and '…omics' studies (genome, proteome, interactome, metabolome etc).

Practical: Restriction digestion of DNA and gel analysis (whole day)

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This module will consider the anatomy and function of normal tissues, organs and systems and then describe their major pathophysiological conditions. It will consider the etiology of the condition, its biochemistry and its manifestation at the level of cells, tissues and the whole patient. It will cover the diagnosis of the condition, available prognostic indicators and treatments.

It will include:

Cells and tissues

Membrane dynamics

Cell communication and homeostasis

Introduction to the nervous system

The cardiovascular system

The respiratory system

The immune system and inflammation

Blood cells and clotting

The digestive system, liver and pancreas

The Urinary system

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Subject-based and communication skills are relevant to all the bioscience courses. This module allows you to become familiar with practical skills, the analysis and presentation of biological data and introduces some basic mathematical and statistical skills as applied to biological problems. It also introduces you to the computer network and its applications and covers essential skills such as note-taking and essay writing.

Topics covered in lectures/workshops:

How biosciences is taught at UKC - lectures, supervisions, problem solving classes, practicals. Effective study and listening skills, note taking and use of the library. Support networks.

General principles of analytical biochemistry - quantitative/qualitative analysis, making and recording measurements. The quality of data - random and systematic error, precision, accuracy, sensitivity and specificity.

The manipulation and presentation of data - SI units, prefixes and standard form

Molarities and dilutions -concentration (molarity) and amounts (moles), dilutions.

Acids, bases and buffers in aqueous solutions - Definition of pH, acid and bases (including a revision of logarithms). Acid-base titrations. Buffer mixtures, buffering capacity and the Henderson-Hasselbalch equation.Dissociation of polyprotic, weak acids. Biochemical relevance of pH e.g. pH dependant ionisation of amino acids.

Spectroscopy - The range of electromagnetic radiation. Absorption and emission of radiation. Molecular absorptiometry - the use of the Beer-Lambert relationship for quantitative measurements using absolute or comparative methods (molar and specific extinction coefficients).

Reaction Kinetics. Reactions and rates of change: Factors affecting the rate of a reaction. Zero, first and second order reactions. Rate constants and rate equations (including integration). Worked examples of rates of reactions.

Statistics Descriptive statistics: definition of statistics, sampling, measurement scales, data hierarchy, summarising data, averaging, mean, mode, median, quantiles, graphical methods, displaying proportions, charts and chart junk. Parametrising distributions: coefficient of variation, normal distribution, properties of the normal curve, skewness and kurtosis, accuracy and precision.

Probability: definition, events, exclusivity and conditional probability, throwing dice and tossing coins, independent and dependent events, permutations, multiplicative rule, binomial distribution, unequal probabilities, Pascal's triangle, factorials and combinations.

Hypothesis testing: null hypothesis, p-value, normal curve, z-score and t-score, t values and confidence interval, t-tables, comparing two samples, degrees of freedom, t-tests for same and different sample sizes, paired samples, difference between means.

Correlation and covariance: two-dimensional distributions, scatter diagram, degree and limits of correlation, spurious correlation, correlation and causality, time correlation, normalising the covariance, covariance in spreadsheet calculations.

Regression: the regression line, slope and intercept parameters, regression in spreadsheet calculations, history of regression, assumptions in regression, effect of outliers, how not to use statistics.


1. Introduction to basic laboratory techniques-

a) preparation of buffer solutions and

b) determination of accuracy

2. pH and buffers

3. Colorimetry and Spectrophotometry

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The principles of chemistry are an essential foundation for biochemistry. Building up from the atomic level, this module introduces periodicity, functional groups, compounds and chemical bonding, molecular forces, molecular shape and isomerism, and chemical reactions and equilibria, enabling you to understand the importance of organic chemistry in a biological context.

Phase A: Autumn Term (5 x 2 hr Workshop)

Basic chemical concepts for biology will be taught and applied through examples in a workshop atmosphere. The five workshop topics covered are: (i) Atoms and states of matter (ii) valence and bonding (iii) basic organic chemistry for biologists (iv) molecular shapes and isomerism in biology and (iv) chemical reactivity and chemical equations.

Assessment feedback of basic chemistry (1 session/lecture)

Phase B: Autumn Term (8 lectures, 1 x 2 hr Workshop)

Chemical and biochemical thermodynamics (6 lectures, 1 workshop). Topics covered are: (i) energetic and work, (ii) enthalpy, entropy and the laws of thermodynamics (iii) Gibbs free energy, equilibrium and spontaneous reactions, (iv) Chemical and biochemical equilibrium (including activity versus concentration and Le Chatelier's principle). The two hour workshop is designed to be delivered as small group sessions to cover the applications and practice of thermodynamics concepts.

Chemistry applied to biological concepts (2 lectures): bonding, valence, hybridisation as well as biological applied thermodynamic process (biomolecular association/dissociation).

Phase C: Spring Term (15 lectures, 1 x 2 hr Workshop)

Fundamental organic chemistry with biological examples. Topics covered:(each being 1 lecture unless stated): (i) Introduction and basic functional chemistry, (ii) Isomerism and stereochemistry - 2 lectures (iii) Reaction mechanisms - 2 lectures (iv) Alkanes/alkyl halides/alkenes/alkynes - 2 lectures (v) Aromatic compounds - 2 lectures (vi) Heterocyclic compounds (vii) Amines and alcohols (viii) Carbonyl compounds and carboxylic acids - 3 lectures and (ix) Biological inorganic chemistry. The two hour workshop is designed to be delivered as small group sessions to cover the applications of reaction mechanisms and reaction schemes.

Phase D: Spring Term (8 lectures, 1 x 2 hr Workshop)

Advanced topics for A2 Chemistry entrants for Biochemistry and Biomedical Science. Topics covered: (i) Uses of spin-resonance spectroscopies in Biology - 3 lectures (ii) Proteins and Amino Acid Chemistry in enzymes - 1 lecture (iii) Chemical Biology concepts: Globins:structure/function, sugars and phosphates, metabolism and biochemistry of Glucose, nucleotides and nucleic acid chemistry - 4 lectures.

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This module is an introduction to Mendelian genetics and also includes human pedigrees, quantitative genetics, and mechanisms of evolution.



An introduction to the genetics of a variety of organisms including Mendelian inheritance (monohybrid and dihybrid) and exceptions to the predicted outcomes due to incomplete dominance, co-dominance, lethal alleles, epistasis and genetic linkage, the chromosomal basis of inheritance, organelle based inheritance and epistasis. The inheritance of human genetic disease and its investigation by human pedigree analysis will also be introduced. Bacterial genetics.


The nature of mutation, including molecular mechanisms leading to the mutation of DNA, and the role of both mutation and horizontal gene transfer in evolution. Historical views on evolution, Darwin’s observations, the fossil record to modern techniques. Microevolution, population genetics and analysis of the distribution of genes within populations and mechanisms of gene flow, genetic drift, selection and speciation.

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Stage 2

Modules may include Credits

Medically important microbial diseases

Gastrointestinal infections, Upper respiratory tract infections, Genital infections

Lower respiratory tract infections, CNS infections, Infections of the skin, Urinary tract infections, Ear and eye infections, Parasitic infections, Mycoses

Immunological Topics

Introduction to the basic concepts of innate and adaptive immunity to pathogens. Immune defence mechanisms against bacterial, viral and parasitic infections. Antibody classes, antigen processing, complement, cytotoxic cells, interferons, the generation of antibody diversity. Cell communication, and the regulation of immunity by T cell . Immunopathology, including autoimmunity, allergy and transplant rejection.

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Reproductive System: Male and female reproductive systems; Endocrine control of reproduction; Fertilisation; Early embryogenesis; Pregnancy and Parturition; Reproductive disorders.

Muscle: Muscle types: skeletal, smooth and cardiac; Structure of muscle; Molecular basis of contraction; Regulation of contraction including neural control; Energy requirements of muscle; Types of movement: reflex, voluntary, rhythmic; Muscle disorders.

Nervous System Cells of the nervous system: neurons and glia; Electrical properties of neurons: action potential generation and conduction; Synaptic structure and function: transmitters and receptors; Structural organization of the central nervous system (CNS) and function of individual regions; Organization and function of the peripheral nervous system (PNS): somatic motor, autonomic (sympathetic and parasympathetic) and sensory; Sensory systems: vision, hearing, taste, smell, pain. Disorders of the nervous system.

Endocrine System: Endocrine glands; Classes of hormones; Mechanisms of hormone action; Regulation of hormone release; Endocrine disorders.

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Pharmacodynamics and chemical transmission

• Introduction and basic principles of drug action

• Structure and function of receptors and ion channels

• Neurotransmission. Neurons and synapses, neuromuscular junctions, autonomic nervous system, adrenergic and cholinergic nerve terminals, neuromodulation

• Local transmission. Inflammatory response: role of histamine

Systematic pharmacology

• The Cardiovascular System. Regulation of blood pressure, angina and cardiac failure

• The Respiratory System. Pathogenesis of asthma, mode of action of bronchodilators and anti-inflammatory agents

• The Central Nervous System -Central neurotransmitters and opioids, Local and general anaesthetics, Treatment of anxiety and sleep disorders, Treatment of schizophrenia, Parkinson's

disease and mania/depression, Drugs of abuse and withdrawal symptoms

• The Gastrointestinal Tract. Pathogenesis and treatment of peptic ulcers, constipation and diarrhoea

• The Endocrine and Reproductive Systems. Corticosteroids, contraception and pregnancy, treatment of subfertility

• Chemotherapy. General principles of antibiotic/antiviral/antifungal/anticancer agents


Drug receptor binding data analysis

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This module describes how errors in metabolic processes result in the development of human diseases such as phenylketonuria, gout, hypercholesterolarmia, diabetes and porphyria.


Introduction: Revision of metabolism taught previously.

Overview of inherited metabolic disease processes: Accumulation of substrate; Accumulation of a normally minor metabolite; Deficiency of product; Secondary metabolic phenomena. Relation to genetics: Autosomal recessive disorders; X-linked recessive disorders; Autosomal dominant disorders;

Electron transport and oxidative phosphorylation in mitochondria. The chemiosmotic hypothesis. Ragged red fibre mitochondrial myopathies

Human metabolism in relation to the Nitrogen cycle

The urea cycle: diseases associated with enzyme deficiencies.

Metabolism of amino acids and nucleotides: diseases including phenylketonuria and gout.

Vitamins and malnutrition

Biosynthesis of cholesterol: familial hypercholesterolemia and atherosclerosis.

Sugar metabolism: Glucose transporters and disease; Glycogen storage disease; Pyruvate dehydrogrenase complex defects.

Diabetes and insulin: diabetic ketoacidosis.

Heme synthesis and breakdown in health and disease: Metabolic defects in heme synthesis and the porphyrias.

Cancer: metabolic adaptations and relation to chemotherapy.

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This module will introduce the student to two of the four main branches of laboratory medicine, Clinical Biochemistry and Cellular Pathology, and begin to develop the skills students will require to work effectively and safely within a clinical setting.

Clinical Biochemistry:

1. The use of the laboratory, quality assurance and techniques (including Instrumentation and Automation, Clinical Applications, Antigen-Antibody Reactions, Separation techniques) will be introduced using the various screening and testing procedures as below.

2. Screening for disease – concepts, rationale and screening programmes, application of biochemical techniques to paediatrics and inborn errors of metabolism, tumour markers, liver function, iron and porphyrias, enzymes and their use in laboratory medicine, clinical applications of protein biochemistry, nutrition in health and disease, lipids and atherosclerosis.

Cellular Pathology:

1. Application of histological and cytological techniques in a clinical setting including cell and tissue sampling techniques for histological and cytological diagnosis;

2. Use, histochemical and immunohistochemical stain techniques for diagnosis and selection of treatment.

3. Microscopic methods used in cellular pathology

4. Quality control and quality assurance

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A. Communication Skills in Biosciences: Essay writing, oral presentations, laboratory reports, the scientific literature and literature reviews. Working in groups.

B. Techniques in Biomolecular Science: Immunochemistry. Monoclonal and polyclonal antibody production, immuno-chromatography, ELISA and RIA.

Electrophoresis, Immunoblotting, Protein Determination, Activity Assays, Purification

C. Computing for Biologists: Bioinformatics, phylogenetic trees, database searches for protein/DNA sequences

D. Mini-project – introduction to research skills: Students will work in groups of eight to undertake directed experimental work (Group Project) before extending the project further through self-directed experiments working as a pair (Mini Project).

E. Careers: The programme will be delivered by the Careers Advisory Service and will review the types of careers available for bioscience students. The sessions will incorporate personal skills, careers for bioscience graduates, records of achievement, curriculum vitae preparation, vacation work, postgraduate study, interview skills and action planning.

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Introduction: The ecological, medical, scientific and commercial importance of bacteria. Bacterial evolution and taxonomy.

Microbial biodiversity at the structural level: Composition of the average bacterial cell and basic bacterial cell structure. Gram positive and gram negative. Archea. Organisation of DNA. Membranes and the transport of small molecules into and out of the cell. Peptidoglycan and LPS and their importance in pathogenesis. The location and function of proteins. Capsule, flagella and adhesins.

Introduction to growth, fuelling and biosynthesis: Division by binary fission, including growth equations. Growth in batch and chemostat cultures; liquid vs. solid media. Nutritional and non-nutritional factors affecting growth (temperature, osmolarity, pH and antibiotics). Physiological state and balanced growth. Adaptation to extreme conditions.

Microbial biodiversity at the physiological and biochemical level: The diversity in bacterial metabolism (nutrient sources (particularly carbon and nitrogen)), photosynthesis, aerobic and anaerobic growth and alternative terminal electron acceptors. Fermentation. The inverse relationship between growth factor requirements and biochemical complexity. The ecological significance of bacteria.

Synthesis, localisation and assembly of macromolecular structures: DNA replication and transcription. Translational and protein localisation, assembly of flagella and adhesins. Membranes, including LPS. Peptidoglycan. Antibiotics that inhibit peptidoglycan biosynthesis. Capsules.

Microbial communities and ecology: growth and survival in the real world (e.g. soils and sediments), studying populations and individuals. Biofilms and complex communities. Diauxie and growth.

Signalling and physiological control: Introduction to bacterial genetics. The regulation of gene expression at the transcriptional and post-transcriptional level in response to environmental factors Chemotaxis.

Practical: "Antibiotics" in which students follow the growth of bacteria upon treatment with bacteriostatic and bactericidal antibiotics and answer questions about data concerning the mode of action of antibiotic resistance presented in the laboratory manual.

Workshop: "Growth and viable counts" in which the students are given numerical data + growth equations and have to define factors such as (i) dilutions needed to give specific cell numbers, (ii) generations of growth to achieve specific cells numbers (iii) growth rate/doubling time. Designed to give students the skills required to manipulate bacterial cells to achieve correct cell density and growth phase for practical work.

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This module describes the integration of the many chemical reactions underpinning the function of cells. For example, how cells make ATP and use it to drive cellular activities, and how plant cells harvest energy from the sun in the process of photosynthesis.

Part A: principles of metabolic regulation

Metabolic regulation maintains molecular homeostasis. Metabolic controls that lead to changes in output of metabolic pathways in response to signals or changes in circumstances.

Common points of regulation: reactions far from equilibrium. Examples from carbohydrate metabolism of relationship between equilibrium constants, mass action coefficients and free energy changes.

Metabolic control analysis

Mechanisms of regulation: examples from e.g. carbohydrate metabolism. Timescale; transcriptional regulation; post-translational modification; signalling via e.g. Ca2+ and metabolites especially AMP.

Part B: plant metabolism


C3 and C4 pathways

Glyoxylate cycle

Secondary metabolites: morphine, quinine, nicotine, caffeine and others

Part C: microbial metabolic adaptations

Microbial genomics: analysing metabolic pathways using genomic information

Microbial metabolism in the nitrogen cycle

Examples of specialised metabolism: Salmonella, Campylobacter and others

Secondary metabolites: certain antibiotics

Part D: metabolism in biotechnology

Manipulating microbial metabolism for the production of useful compounds: citric acid, amino acids etc.

Manipulating mammalian cell metabolism in biotechnology: production of complex molecules by animal cells in culture, and its relation to metabolic processes.

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The module deals with the molecular mechanisms of gene expression and its regulation in organisms ranging from viruses to man. This involves descriptions of how genetic information is stored in DNA and RNA, how that information is decoded by the cell and how this flow of information is controlled in response to changes in environment or developmental stage. Throughout, the mechanisms in prokaryotes and eukaryotes will be compared and contrasted and will touch on the latest developments in how we can analyse gene expression, and what these developments have revealed.


A. The genome - Human genome, human chromosomes, mapping and cloning human genes, DNA testing and disease diagnosis, genome organisation, analysing genomes.

B. The gene - Gene organisation. Gene evolution. Gene transcription in prokaryotes and eukaryotes: RNA polymerases, promoters, regulatory sequences. mRNA processing in eukaryotes: intron splicing, the spliceosome, turnover pathways, catalytic RNA. mRNA translation: tRNA, the ribosome, mechanism (initiation, elongation, termination).

C. Gene regulation - Transcriptional regulation in prokaryotes: operons. Transcriptional regulation in eukaryotes: simple vs complex systems, promoters and enhancers. Post-transcriptional regulation: mRNA processing and turnover, translational control, non-coding RNAs. Epigenetic control.

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The cell is the fundamental structural unit in living organisms. Eukaryotic cells are compartmentalized structures that like prokaryotic cells, must perform several vital functions such as energy production, cell division and DNA replication and also must respond to extracellular environmental cues. In multicellular organisms, certain cells have developed modified structures, allowing them to fulfil highly specialised roles. This module reviews the experimental approaches that have been taken to investigate the biology of the cell and highlights the similarities and differences between cells of complex multicellular organisms and microbial cells. Initially the functions of the cytoskeleton and certain cellular compartments, particularly the nucleus, are considered. Later in the unit, the mechanisms by which newly synthesised proteins are secreted or shuttled to their appropriate cellular compartments are examined.


Cell motility and the cytoskeleton. - types of cell movements. Actin-based mechanisms - actin/myosin systems in muscle and other cells in higher eukaryotes and the discovery of corresponding microbial systems. - microtubules and their role in intracellular transport: dynein and kinesin. Microtubules in cilia and flagella. ATP and GTP driven processes - the family of intermediate-sized filaments; their structure, cellular role. Concepts of the evolution of intermediate filaments between microbes and man.

Regulation of the mitotic cell cycle and the dynamic structure of the nucleus. – the

interphase nucleus - chromatin structure (histones, nucleosomes, higher order folding;

telomeres; kinetochore etc), nucleolus, nuclear envelope structure, biogenesis of ribosomes,

genetic approaches to analysis of regulation of mitosis, definition of yeast cdc genes;

comparison with biochemical approaches, regulation of progression from G1 ? S ? G2 ? M.

Cycle exit to G0 and return. Growth factor, signalling and apoptosis. Chromatin structure and

its regulation through the cycle, Dynamics of the nuclear envelope and chromosome/chromatid


Overview of membrane traffic in eukaryotic cells. - relationship of endocytotic and

exocytotic pathways, compartments and sorting.

Biogenesis of proteins destined for organelles or for secretion.- experimental approaches –

yeast and bacterial sec genes vs biochemical dissection of mammalian secretory tissue, signal

sequences targeting proteins to different organelles, folding and post-translational modification

of proteins in the secretory pathway, eukaryotic and prokaryotic secretory pathway –

biochemical and genetic dissection of compartments, transport mechanisms and targeting.


Actomyosin contraction in myofibrils using phase microscopy .


Reading and précis of a scientific paper in cell and molecular biology. Presentation of its chief findings and impact

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Year in industry

Biomedical Science offers the possibility of doing a one-year placement away from the University between Stages 2 and 3. Sandwich placements provide an excellent opportunity to gain relevant work experience, usually in the pharmaceutical industry or a research institute. These placements can be in the UK or abroad. You are paid by your employer and produce an independent research project.

On a sandwich placement you acquire additional skills and gain first-hand experience of a particular type of work, which will help to inform your career decisions at the end of your degree. Students have worked at companies including: GlaxoSmithKline MedImmune, Lonza, BASF, Eli Lilly and Bayer Crop Science.

Progression: To progress to stage 2 you must achieve an overall average of 65% in Stage 1 unless you applied before July and met the conditions of the entry offer made. If the 65% requirement is not met, you will be transferred to the equivalent 3-year programme which is identical except for the year spent away from the University.

Visit the School of Biosciences web pages for more information about the sandwich option, including comments from past students.

Modules may include Credits

A placement typically is a 9-12 month internship with a commercial or public sector or charity organisation which provides opportunities for the student to develop graduate level subject-specific and generic employability skills. Choice of placement by student will be guided and facilitated at UoK with the learning outcomes listed above in mind. It is requested by UoK that the student be closely guided in work (usually with a named supervisor) involving specialist training. Placements are expected to have a scientific research focus and incorporate a project element that may be written up as a scientific report, however, the specific type of work undertaken may vary significantly from placement to placement. The research project should occupy not less than thirty percent of the sandwich year.

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Stage 3

Modules may include Credits

Bacterial pathogens:

1. Microbial pathogenicity: variations on a common theme.

2. Methodology of studying bacterial pathogenesis.

3. Virulence factors including toxins and adhesins.

4. Mechanisms of Pathogenesis.

5. Applications of virulence factors in the treatment and prevention of disease.

Viral pathogens:

1. Viruses and Human Disease - transmission and spread, overview of important human virus infections, mechanisms of transmission (Aerosol, Oro-fecal, Sexual etc.), epidemiology - patterns of endemic and epidemic disease.

2. Mechanisms of Pathogenesis - spread in the body, disease mechanisms, mechanisms of cell killing (Herpes simplex and Polio), immunopathology and auto-immune disease.

3. Virus infection – long term consequences for the host, escape through mutation and natural selection, disabling the immune system, avoidance mechanisms.

4. Viruses and Cancer - mechanisms of virus transformation (EBV, Retroviruses & Papilloma), viruses and human cancer (Cervical carcinoma, Hepatocellular Carcinoma & Burkitt Lymphoma).

Human fungal pathogens:

1. Fungi and Human Disease - overview of major human fungal infections, clinical picture, diagnosis and mechanisms of transmission, epidemiological aspects of fungal infections.

2. Mechanisms of Pathogenesis - adherence, invasion of eukaryotic cells, morphogenesis, virulence factors: Candida albicans, Aspergillus fumigatus, Cryptococcus neoformans, Histoplasma capsulatum.

3. Whole genome analysis of fungal pathogens

4. Host resistance to infection and antifungal chemotherapy - host defense mechanisms to fungal infections, role of the humoral and cellular immune response, antifungal chemotherapy: azoles, polyenes, echinocandines and antimetabolites, future developments for the treatment of fungal infections.

Eukaryotic pathogens (parasites):

1. Parasites and pathogenicity, transmission and diversity.

2. Definitions on parasitic lifestyle.

3. Investigations on worldwide parasitic outbreaks (e.g. malaria, trypanosomiasis, cryptosporidiosis)

and their socio-economical effects.

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Since the discovery of HIV, astonishing progress has been made in our understanding of how the immune system functions. The aim of this Advanced Immunology module is to review topical aspects of this fascinating subject, placing emphasis on the regulation of the immune response, and the role of dysfunctional immune systems in the aetiology of a variety of disease states. Students will be expected to devote time to private study, consulting course texts, reviews and primary literature.

Topics to include –

Antigen processing and presentation - Role of antigen presenting cells; dendritic cells;

processing and presentation of endogenous and exogenous antigens

Transplantation immunology - Basis of tolerance and graft rejection; clinical applications of transplantation; general and specific immunosuppressive therapy

Hypersensitivity - Type I (IgE-mediated); type II (antibody-mediated cytotoxic); type III (immune-complex mediated) and type IV hypersensitivity; clinical manifestations and therapies for hypersensitivity

Autoimmune disease - Organ-specific autoimmune diseases; systemic autoimmune diseases; induction of autoimmunity; treatment of autoimmune disease

Role of cytokines in the immune system - Properties of cytokines; cytokine receptors; cytokine-related diseases, including inherited immunodeficiencies; therapeutic applications of cytokines and their receptors

Cell migration and inflammation - Lymphocyte recirculation; role of adhesion molecules; neutrophil and lymphocyte extravasation; the inflammatory process; chronic inflammatory diseases

Tumour immunology - Tumour-specific and associated antigens; immune response to tumours; tumour evasion of immune responses; cancer immunotherapy,

Applied Immunology - appears throughout the lecture series

Autophagy and the Microbiome

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This module describes the anatomy, physiology, pathology, and therapy of the blood and blood forming tissues, including the bone marrow. It covers a wide range of disorders including haematological malignancies, infection with blood-borne parasites that cause malaria, and inappropriate clotting activities such as deep vein thrombosis.


An introduction to haematology: module outline, aims and objectives.

Haemopoiesis and the bone marrow.

The red cell: structure and function.

Inherited abnormalities of red cells.

Anaemias – acquired and inherited.

White blood cells in health and disease.

An introduction to haematological malignancies.

Bleeding disorders and their laboratory investigation.


Blood borne parasites.

Blood transfusion:

The ABO and Rhesus blood group systems

Other blood group systems.

Blood banking techniques.

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Early in the Autumn term, projects are assigned to students by the project co-ordinator (a member of academic staff), where possible in accordance with student choice. Students then meet with their project supervisor to discuss the objectives of the project and obtain guidance on background reading. During the Autumn term students write a brief formative literature review on the project topic providing them with a good background before embarking on the project work.

The main project activities take place in the Spring term. Students taking laboratory projects spend 192 hours (24 hours per week for 8 weeks) in the lab planning, carrying out and documenting experiments. A further 108 hours are allowed for background reading and report writing. There are informal opportunities to discuss the project work and relevant literature with the supervisor and other laboratory staff. Formal meetings may be arranged at the discretion of the student and supervisor. Students undertaking non-laboratory projects are based in the library or, occasionally, in the laboratory; they are expected to dedicate 300 hours to their project work. Non-laboratory students are strongly encouraged to meet with the supervisor at least once a week to discuss progress and ideas and to resolve problems. At the end of the formal project time, students are allowed time to complete the final project report, although they are encouraged to start writing as early as possible during the Spring term. The supervisor provides feedback on content and style of a draft of the report. In addition, students are expected to deliver their findings in presentation lasting 10 minutes with 5 minutes of questions.

Organisation and Content:

Projects are designed by individual members of staff in keeping with their research interests and fall into one of four categories:

• Wet/Dry Laboratory and Computing: practical research undertaken in the teaching laboratories, or on computers followed by preparation of a written report

• Dissertation: library-based research leading to production of a report in the style of a scientific review

• Business: development of a biotechnology business plan

• Communication: similar to dissertation projects but with an emphasis on presenting the scientific topic to a general, non-scientist audience

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The module begins by overviewing the diverse mechanisms used by cells to communicate, considering the main modes of cell-cell communication, the major classes of signalling molecules and the receptor types upon which they act. It then focuses on nuclear, G-protein coupled, and enzyme linked receptors covering in molecular detail these receptors and their associated signal transduction pathways.


Principles of Cell Signalling

Cell Adhesion and Cell Communication (adhesion and gap junctions)

Signalling Molecules: hormones, neurotransmitters, growth factors

Receptor Types: Nuclear, G-protein coupled, Ion-channel linked, Enzyme-linked

Nuclear Receptors:

Cellular location and molecular organisation of receptors. Structure/function/activity relationships. Receptors as sequence-specific DNA binding proteins.

G-Protein Coupled Receptors:

Receptors coupled to heterotrimeric guanine nucleotide binding proteins (G proteins). Composition and classification of G-proteins, their activation and modulation by toxins and disease.

Second Messengers and Protein Phosphorylation (kinases and phosphatases).

Cyclic Nucleotide-Dependent Systems: G proteins in regulation of adenylyl cyclase-cAMP-protein kinase A (PKA) and guanylyl cyclase-cGMP pathways. Physiological roles e.g. in visual transduction and glycogen metabolism.

Inositol lipids in signal transduction: Regulation of phospholipase C. Inositol polyphosphates (e.g. IP3) and diacylglycerol (DAG) in regulation of Ca++-dependent kinases. Roles in specific cellular responses e.g. regulation of protein kinase C.

Interactions of Signalling Pathways:

'Cross-Talk' between different pathways and messenger molecules.

Enzyme Linked Receptors:

Receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs), e.g. epidermal growth factor receptor (EGF) family and insulin receptor, and their varied roles in cellular metabolism, cell behaviour, development and disease.

Molecular organisation of receptors, autophosphorylation of intracellular domains

Intracellular signalling pathways: activation of monomeric G-protein Ras, leading to activation of the mitogen activated protein (MAP) kinase cascade.

Integration of signalling components: Role of adapter proteins (e.g. GRB2) and their protein-protein interaction domains (SH2, SH3 etc.) in linking ligand-receptor complexes to intracellular proteins.

Practical: Characterisation of G-protein coupled receptors using a cAMP-linked reporter gene assay.

Workshop: Overview of the module in preparation for revision/exam.

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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.


1. Review of the fluid mosaic model for membrane organisation

a. Experimental evidence for fluidity – lateral/rotational/flip-flop

2. Membrane proteins

a. Types: integral vs peripheral, and their experimental definition. Asymmetry and sidedness. Overview of types of transmembrane proteins, and lessons on prevalence and functions from genome analysis

b. Transmembrane protein function exemplified through transporters. Structures of channel proteins and carrier proteins, their mechanisms and disease links

c. Monotopic membrane proteins: exposed on one side of the membrane examples and structures

d. Generation of bitopic and monotopic proteins by differential exon usage in a single gene, e.g. NCAM.

e. Peripheral membrane proteins. Domains that allowInteraction with the lipid bilayer

2. Membrane lipids

a. Types: phospholipids, sphingolipids and sterols; in vivo distributions.

b. Formation of bilayers: evidence for bilayer structures.

c. Sidedness and asymmetry of lipids: dynamics and phases.

d. Pointers to membrane lipid metabolism: phospholipases and signalling; metabolic defects and disease.

3. The in vivo structure of a mammalian plasma membrane

a. The red cell membrane: observation of the requirements of such a membrane and how those requirements are not met in certain disease states (spherocytosis, elliptocytosis and pyropiokilocytosis). The putative CO2 metabolon. Structure of the red cell membrane and its associated cytoskeleton: the spectrin/ankyrin/actin system.

b. The membrane skeleton as a mechanism for restricting the mobility of membrane proteins in the plane of a membrane: evolutionary considerations and disease states in other cell types e.g. ankyrin-linked dysfunction of cardiac ion transport in heart diseases.


An exploration of the red cell membrane focusing on the anion transporter. The practical will include computer analysis of the sequence of the anion transporter to predict its structure in relation to experimental data from the practical. An additional aspect of this practical will be recapitulation of the use of some techniques widely used in final year projects (SDS gel and blotting).

Workshop: exam preparation

Supervisions: Problem solving based on past exam papers.

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1. Introduction: Outline of how physiological homeostasis and adaptation is achieved in the bacterial cell.

2. Experimental approaches used to study microbial physiology and genetics: "Classical" and "reverse" genetics as applied to the study of bacteria. The use of reporter fusions. Transcriptomic and proteomic analysis of gene expression. Deep sequencing and metagenomics. Protein-nucleic acid interactions.

3. Transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression in bacteria: Transcription and translation in bacteria and the diverse mechanisms by which they are controlled. Phase variation and quorum sensing as modes of gene regulation.

4. Complex signalling and physiological control: Selected examples of physiological control in microorganisms, including the Sigma E envelope stress response pathway, regulation in response to nitrogen availability and nitric oxide stress, sensing, and detoxification mechanisms.

5. Microbial biodiversity at the physiological and biochemical level: Diversity of respiratory adaptations. Light harvesting: purple bacteria & cyanobacteria. Photosynthetic electron transport in purple bacteria & cyanobacteria.


Practical on E. coli demonstrating how the envelope stress response factor Sigma E and it's sRNA-controlled target regulate gene expression at the post-transcriptional level using lacZ reporter fusions.


Group presentation of a research paper relating to topic areas in "Complex signalling and physiological control" or "Microbial biodiversity at the physiological and biochemical level"

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A. Bioinformatics Data sources & Sequence analysis:

Databases and data availability. Using sequence data for analysis – sequence searching methods, multiple sequence alignments, residue conservation, Phylogenetics, Protein domains and families (e.g. Pfam, Interpro).

B. Protein Bioinformatics Methods

Protein structure and function prediction. Prediction of binding sites/interfaces with small ligands and with other proteins. Bioinformatics analyses using protein data.

C. Genomics

An introduction to DNA analysis methods moving onto omics approaches, primarily focussing on the data available from DNA sequencing – how it can be used to compare genomes (comparative and functional genomics). Metagenomics and transcriptomics will also be covered.

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BI639 Frontiers in Oncology

This module introduces the basic principles of cancer biology and cancer therapy. It will explain the characteristics of cancer and why the development of more effective anti-cancer therapies is so extremely challenging. The module includes interactive discussions on a number of recent scientific publications that highlight the relevant and important issues at the frontiers of cancer research today.

Part A: survey of the leading issues in oncology

origin of cancer

cancer biology

cancer therapies

Part B: fundamental methods applied in oncological research

Key historical methods

Current standard techniques

Novel methods

Part C: oncology research design

Grant writing

Oral presentation

Research review and evaluation

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The Molecular Biology of Cancer: Regulation of gene expression; Growth factor signalling and oncogenes; Growth inhibition and tumour suppressor genes; the Cell Cycle and apoptosis.

Cancer stem cells and differentiation; chemo-resistance and metastasis.

DNA structure and stability: mutations versus repair.

Tumour immunology; targeted cancer therapies and clinical trial design.

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The module is divided into three roughly equal sized units, each dealing with a specific aspect of neurobiology. Throughout, both the normal system and diseases and disorders that arise as a consequence of abnormalities will be covered.

Unit 1: Development of the Nervous System

Looks at how the complex and intricately wired nervous system develops from a simple sheet of neuroepithelial cells by addressing the cellular and molecular basis of:

1. Neurulation (formation of the brain and spinal cord)

2. Nerve cell proliferation (Neurogenesis)

3. Differentiation and survival of nerve cells

4. Axon growth and guidance

5. Synapse formation (Synaptogenesis)

Unit 2: Signalling at the Synapse

Considers the molecules and mechanisms involved in transmission of signals between nerve cells:

1. Neurotransmitters and neuromodulators

2. Molecular mechanisms of transmitter release

3. Neurotransmitter receptors and transporters

Unit 3: The Brain and Behaviour

Explores how the nervous system controls a variety of behaviours including:

1. Learning and memory

2. Sleep and dreaming

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The module overviews the importance of studying ageing, the organisms and methods used to do so. It considers how organisms age, together with providing a detailed understanding of the processes and molecular mechanisms that govern ageing.


1. Importance and principles of ageing research

2. Why do organisms age and theories of ageing: e.g. Damage theory, telomeres, genetics and trade off theories.

3. How ageing and lifespan is measured.

4. Overview of processes and pathways controlling ageing.

Methods in ageing research

1. Model Organisms: Benefits and problems associated with studying ageing in model organisms, including: yeast, worms, flies, mice, primates.

2. Systems approaches to studying ageing: e.g. high throughput DNA/RNA sequencing, high throughput proteomics and, metabolomics. Pros and cons of these methods, what we have learned from them?

Signalling pathways that control ageing

1. Insulin signalling pathway and Target of Rapamycin (ToR) pathway.

2. Organisation of pathways and the molecules involved, how they were discovered to be implicated in lifespan and ageing, ways of modelling and studying their molecular detail in animals e.g. genetic/ epistasis analysis.

3. The processes downstream of these pathways that allow them to control lifespan/ageing e.g. stress resistance, autophagy, reduced translation, enhanced immunity etc.

4. Cross-talk between pathways.

5. Dietary restriction, lifespan and ageing.

6. How dietary restriction works in different organisms, what signalling pathways and processes it affects.

Diseases of ageing

1. What these are e.g. Alzheimer's, Huntington's.

2. Overview of 'normal ageing' associated processes e.g. muscle weakening.

3. How they can be studied in model organisms and the importance of ageing research for treating these disorders.

Ethics of ageing research

1. Pros and cons of studying ageing with a goal of extending human lifespan e.g. insurance, health system, social, psychological implications.

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This module focuses on the endocrine system, which in conjunction with the nervous system, is responsible for monitoring changes in an animal's internal and external environments, and directing the body to make any necessary adjustments to its activities so that it adapts itself to these environmental changes.

The emphasis will be on understanding the underlying principles of endocrinology, the mechanisms involved in regulating hormone levels within tight parameters in an integrated manner and the central importance of the hypothalamic-pituitary axis.

During the lectures each major endocrine gland or functional group of glands will be explored in turn and specific clinical disorders will be used to illustrate the role of the endocrine organs in the maintenance of whole body homeostasis. The systems studied will include the following: thyroid gland, parathyroid gland and bone metabolism, adrenal gland, renal hormones (water and salt balance), pancreatic hormones, gut hormones and multiple endocrine neoplasia, gonadal function and infertility.

Consideration will be given to the methods available for the diagnosis of specific endocrine diseases, including the measurement of electrolyte and hormone levels, and the role of dynamic testing.

The role of the endocrine system in integrating metabolic pathways will be emphasised throughout the module and particular scenarios such as infertility, diabetes mellitus

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This module is designed to provide students across the university with access to knowledge, skill development and training in the field of entrepreneurship with a special emphasis on developing a business plan in order to exploit identified opportunities. Hence, the module will be of value for students who aspire to establishing their own business and/or introducing innovation through new product, service, process, project or business development in an established organisation. The module complements students' final year projects in Computing, Law, Biosciences, Electronics, Multimedia, and Drama etc.

The curriculum is based on the business model canvas and lean start up principles (Osterwalder and Pigneur 2010) on designing a business plan for starting a new venture or introducing innovation in an established organisation. It includes the following areas of study:

• The new business planning process and format, developing and evaluating the business idea, producing a business plan, which includes four main sections, namely, business concept, marketing plan, operational plan and financial plan.

• Researching internal and external environment – market research, value co-creation with customers, company’s macro (i.e. PESTEL) and industry (Porter’s five forces) environment analysis, internal company analysis (Resource Based View), external collaborator analysis, and SWOT

• Developing the business concept – Identifying/developing the value proposition, specifying the business offer (i.e. use product anatomy analysis for presentation), deciding an appropriate ownership structure, laying out mission, aims and objectives (i.e. using SMART), and identifying legal formalities including intellectual property strategies.

• Developing the marketing plan – Identifying target customer groups, designing customer relationship management strategies and distribution channels, planning the sales and marketing processes, customer perceptions and customer care, developing quality standards for the business (i.e. using 7 Ps analysis for presentation).

• Developing the operation plan – Identifying key activities to be carried out, matching key activities with resources for an effective and efficient use of resources, planning and employing staff, planning and obtaining premises, physical and financial resources; phased implementation of the business plan.

• Developing the financial plan – Identifying appropriate sources of finance, and evaluating and managing the financial viability of a business by developing Forecast cash flow statement, Sales and Profit account and Profit and Loss Account, a description of the composition of the balance sheet, financial indicator- Breakeven analysis, by highlighting underlying assumptions.

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Teaching and assessment

Teaching includes lectures, laboratory classes, workshops, problem-solving sessions and tutorials. You have an Academic Adviser who you meet with at regular intervals to discuss your progress, and most importantly, to identify ways in which you can improve your work further so that you reach your full potential.

Most modules are assessed by a combination of continuous assessment and end-of-year exams. Exams take place at the end of the academic year and count for 50% or more of the module mark. Stage 1 assessments do not contribute to the final degree classification, but all stage 2 and 3 assessments do, meaning that your final degree award is an average of many different components. On average, 26% of your time is spent in an activity led by an academic; the rest of your time is for independent study.

The Sandwich Year is assessed by a presentation and a written report and contributes 10% to the overall mark.

Programme aims

The programme aims to:

  • instil a sense of enthusiasm for biomedical science, confront the scientific, moral plus ethical questions and engage in critical assessment of the subject material
  • provide an understanding of scientific investigation of human health and disease
  • provide a stimulating, research-active environment in which students are supported and motivated to achieve their academic and personal potential
  • educate students in the theoretical and practical aspects of biomedical science
  • facilitate the learning experience through various teaching and assessment methods
  • give students the experience of undertaking an independent research project
  • prepare students for further study, or training, and employment in science and non-science based careers, by developing transferable and cognitive skills
  • develop the qualities needed for employment in situations requiring the exercise of professionalism, independent thought, personal responsibility and decision making in complex and unpredictable circumstances
  • provide access to as wide a range of students as practicable
  • provide an opportunity to gain experience as a biomedical scientist working in a professional environment such as hospital, government and industrial research laboratories
  • to develop employment skills, including an understanding of how you relate to the structure and function of an organisation, via the sandwich year.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • the structure, function and control of the human body
  • the main metabolic pathways used in biological systems in catabolism and anabolism, understanding biological reactions in chemical terms
  • the variety of mechanisms by which metabolic pathways can be controlled and the way that they can be co-ordinated with changes in the physiological environment
  • the genetic organisation of various types of organism and the way in which genes can be expressed and their expression controlled
  • molecular genetic techniques and the causes and consequences of alterations of genetic material
  • the structure and function of the main classes of macromolecules such as DNA, RNA, proteins, lipids and polysaccharides
  • the immune response in health and disease
  • the structure, physiology, biochemistry, classification and control of microorganisms
  • the main principles of cell and molecular biology, biochemistry and microbiology
  • the microscopic examination of cells (cytology) and tissues (histology) for indicators of disease
  • the qualitative and quantitative evaluation of analytes to aid the diagnosis, screening and monitoring of health and disease (clinical biochemistry).
  • immunological disease/disorders
  • the different elements that constitute blood in normal and diseased states (haematology)
  • the identification of blood group antigens and antibodies (immunohaematology and transfusion science)
  • pathogenic microorganisms
  • the main methods for communicating information on biomedical sciences
  • the way that a professional biomedical scientist can contribute to the organisation in which they work.

Intellectual skills

You gain the following intellectual abilities:

  • understand the scope of teaching methods and study skills relevant to the biomedical sciences degree programme
  • understand the concepts and principles in outcomes recognising and applying biomedical specific theories, paradigms, concepts or principles. For example, the relationship between biochemical activity and disease
  • acquire the skills for analysis, synthesis, summary and presentation of biomedical information.
  • demonstrate competence in solving extended biomedical problems involving advanced data manipulation and comprehension using biomedical specific and transferable skills
  • integrate scientific evidence, to formulate and test hypotheses
  • structure, develop and defend complex scientific arguments
  • plan, execute and interpret data from a short research project
  • recognise the moral and ethical issues of biomedical investigations and appreciate the need for ethical standards and professional codes of conduct.

Subject-specific skills

You gain subject-specific skills in the following:

  • to handle, biological material and chemicals in a safe way, thus being able to assess any potential hazards associated with biomedical experimentation
  • perform risk assessments prior to the execution of an experimental protocol
  • to use basic and advanced experimental equipment in executing the core practical techniques used by biomedical scientists
  • to find information on biomedical topics from a wide range of information resources and maintain an effective information retrieval strategy
  • plan, execute and assess the results from experiments using acquired subject-specific knowledge
  • identify the best method for presenting and reporting on biomedical investigations using written, data manipulation/presentation and computer skills.

Transferable skills

You gain transferable skills in the following:

  • the ability to receive and respond to a variety of sources of information
  • communicate effectively to a variety of audiences using a range of formats and approaches
  • problem-solve by a variety of methods, especially numerical, including the use of computers
  • use the internet and other electronic sources critically as a means of communication and as a source of information
  • interpersonal and teamwork skills that allow you to identify individual and collective goals, and recognise and respect the views and opinions of others
  • self-management and organisational skills and the capacity to support life-long learning
  • awareness of information sources for assessing and planning future career development
  • function effectively in a working environment.


Graduate destinations

Our recent graduates have gone on to careers including:

  • healthcare in the NHS
  • medical research based in academic, government, industrial and medical labs
  • biotechnology
  • teaching
  • industry and commerce
  • scientific publishing
  • marketing
  • information technology.

Help finding a job

The School of Biosciences runs employability events with talks from alumni outlining their career paths since graduation.

The University also has a friendly Careers and Employability Service, which can give you advice on how to:

  • apply for jobs
  • write a good CV
  • perform well in interviews.

Career-enhancing skills

You graduate with an excellent grounding in scientific knowledge and extensive laboratory experience. In addition, you also develop the key transferable skills sought by employers, such as:

  • excellent communication skills
  • teamwork
  • the ability to analyse problems
  • time management.

You can also gain new skills by signing up for one of our Kent Extra activities, such as learning a language or volunteering.

Professional recognition

Our degree is accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS) and the Royal Society of Biology (RSB). For future employers, this accreditation helps to demonstrate a wide-ranging scientific education with practical skills and experience.

Independent rankings

Bioscience students who graduated from Kent in 2015 were the most successful in the UK at finding work or further study opportunities (DLHE).

According to Which? University (2017), the average starting salary for graduates of this degree is £18,000.

Professional recognition

Our Biomedical Science degree programme is accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS) and the Royal Society of Biology (RSB).

University tends to be when you grow up… There’s no better place to do this than at Kent.

Bal Sandher Biomedical Science BSc

Entry requirements

Home/EU students

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications, typical requirements are listed below. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact the Admissions Office for further advice. It is not possible to offer places to all students who meet this typical offer/minimum requirement.

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
A level

ABB including Biology or Human Biology grade B and the practical endorsement of any science qualifications taken.


Mathematics grade C

Access to HE Diploma

The University of Kent will not necessarily make conditional offers to all access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis. If an offer is made candidates will be required to pass the Access to Higher Education Diploma with 36 level 3 credits at distinction and 9 at merit, and to obtain a proportion of the total level 3 credits in particular subjects at distinction or merit grade.

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

The university will consider applicants holding BTEC National Diploma and Extended National Diploma Qualifications (QCF; NQF;OCR) on a case by case basis. Typical offers when made are Distinction*, Distinction, Distinction

International Baccalaureate

34 points overall or 16 points at HL including Biology 5 at HL or 6 at SL and Mathematics 4 at HL or SL

International students

The University welcomes applications from international students. Our international recruitment team can guide you on entry requirements. See our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country.

If you need to increase your level of qualification ready for undergraduate study, we offer a number of International Foundation Programmes.

Meet our staff in your country

For more advise about applying to Kent, you can meet our staff at a range of international events. 

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of 'pre-sessional' courses in English for Academic Purposes. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme. 

General entry requirements

Please also see our general entry requirements.


The 2017/18 tuition fees for this programme are:

UK/EU Overseas
Full-time £9250 £16480

UK/EU fee paying students

The Government has announced changes to allow undergraduate tuition fees to rise in line with inflation from 2017/18.

In accordance with changes announced by the UK Government, we are increasing our 2017/18 regulated full-time tuition fees for new and returning UK/EU fee paying undergraduates from £9,000 to £9,250. The equivalent part-time fees for these courses will also rise from £4,500 to £4,625. This was subject to us satisfying the Government's Teaching Excellence Framework and the access regulator's requirements. This fee will ensure the continued provision of high-quality education.

For students continuing on this programme, fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* 

The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.

Fees for Year Abroad/Industry

As a guide only, UK/EU/International students on an approved year abroad for the full 2017/18 academic year pay an annual fee of £1,350 to Kent for that year. Students studying abroad for less than one academic year will pay full fees according to their fee status. 

Please note that for 2017/18 entrants the University will increase the standard year in industry fee for home/EU/international students to £1,350.

General additional costs

Find out more about accommodation and living costs, plus general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.


University funding

Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details. 

Government funding

You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.

The Government has confirmed that EU students applying for university places in the 2017 to 2018 academic year will still have access to student funding support for the duration of their course.


General scholarships

Scholarships are available for excellence in academic performance, sport and music and are awarded on merit. For further information on the range of awards available and to make an application see our scholarships website.

The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence

At Kent we recognise, encourage and reward excellence. We have created the Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence. The scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of AAA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages.

The scholarship is also extended to those who achieve AAB at A level (or specified equivalents) where one of the subjects is either Mathematics or a Modern Foreign Language. Please review the eligibility criteria.

The Key Information Set (KIS) data is compiled by UNISTATS and draws from a variety of sources which includes the National Student Survey and the Higher Education Statistical Agency. The data for assessment and contact hours is compiled from the most populous modules (to the total of 120 credits for an academic session) for this particular degree programme. Depending on module selection, there may be some variation between the KIS data and an individual's experience. For further information on how the KIS data is compiled please see the UNISTATS website.

If you have any queries about a particular programme, please contact