Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2014-2015 (archived)

Module BIOL40215: Molecular Cell Biology

Department: Biological and Biomedical Sciences

BIOL40215: Molecular Cell Biology

Type Open Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Not available in 2014/15 Module Cap
Tied to


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Excluded Combination of Modules

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  • To appreciate the contribution of the structure and internal compartmentalisation of the cell to cell function.
  • To appreciate how cell function can be manipulated using molecular approaches.
  • To appreciate how the cytoskeleton and associated proteins are integrated into the cell architecture of organelles and membrane compartments.
  • To appreciate the link between lost or altered function and disease.


  • In this module students will investigate the contribution of the different elements of the cytoplasmic and nuclear cytoarchitecture to cell function. This will involve: Relating molecular detail to structure and function of cells.
  • Understanding the role played by the different cytoskeletal components in supporting the internal cell architecture of organelles and various membrane compartments.
  • It will involve studying the current understanding of cellular function in terms of the different cytoarchitectural elements and membrane compartments
  • Where possible those human diseases caused by their malfunction and/or loss will be covered utilising the latest research available in the scientific literature.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • At the end of this course the student will appreciate:
  • How cell function varies with cellular context;
  • The contribution of the cytoskeleton and associated structures to cell function;
  • How cell function is determined by the internal cell architecture;
  • The different mechanisms that can regulate cytoarchitecture distribution and therefore function;
  • The link between cytoarchitecture and disease.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Data interpretation.
  • Laboratory report writing.
Key Skills:
  • Problem solving.
  • Developing the ability to learn independently within broad guidelines.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lectures will provide the means to give concise, focussed presentation of the relevant subject matter of the module. They will be supported by reference to suitable text books and where appropriate by the distribution of written material or through links on DUO (on-line learning resource).
  • Problem sheets will be given regularly in lectures to help students gain an understanding of the concepts presented. These will be assessed formatively.
  • Student performance will be assessed summatively through examination.
  • A single practical session will be included to enable application of learning. Performance will be assessed summatively through a laboratory report.
  • Formative assessments will provide the means for the student to demonstrate their acquisition of subject knowledge and the development of their problem solving skills. The tests will also provide opportunities for feedback, for students to gauge their progress, and for the Management Committee to monitor progress throughout the duration of the module.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 20 2 1 20
Practical 1 6 6
Self Study 130
Total 156

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 70%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Examination 1.5 100% Y
Component: Practical Report Component Weighting: 30%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Practical Report 3 100% Y

Formative Assessment:

Problem sheets distributed in lectures.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University