Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2017-2018 (archived)


Department: Biosciences


Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2017/18 Module Cap Location Durham


  • • Level 2 Development (BIOL2471) AND Level 2 Cell Biology (BIOL2481) OR Level 2 Haematology (BIOL2541)


  • • At least one other Level 3 Biological Sciences Module selected from the following list: Behavioural Ecology BIOL3561, Conservation Biology BIOL3551, Ecology in the Anthropocene BIOL3541, Advanced Topics in Development BIOL3521, Stress and Responses to the Environment BIOL3491, Crops for the Future BIOL3611, Biochemistry and Biotechnology BIOL3601, Ageing and Age-Related Diseases BIOL3591, Advanced Cell Biology BIOL3481, Biology of Disease BIOL3621, Genomics BIOL3xxx.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To provide an advanced overview of aspects of stem cell science and the experimental methods used to study stem cells and their application.
  • To develop an understanding of the theoretical and practical basis underpinning tissue engineering.
  • To provide an overall appreciation of the strategies and technologies employed in the development of translational research in the stem cell/tissue engineering fields and their biological rationale.


  • Cell technology: experimental methods in mammalian cell and organ culture.
  • Embryonic and adult stem cells; applications in regenerative medicine.
  • Tissue engineering – techniques and applications.
  • Case study: basic research through to application and impact (e.g. neurogenesis, engineering neural tissues, clinical application).

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Understanding of how mammalian cell culture is used experimentally for basic research and understanding biological mechanisms.
  • Knowledge of how cell and organ culture is used experimentally for stem cell and tissue engineering research.
  • Comprehension of how stem cells from embryonic and adult sources are identified, isolated, specialised aspects of their biology and the functional significance of their behavior (e.g. self renewal and differentiation).
  • Knowledge of how the discovery process and regenerative strategies can benefit from understanding and applications of stem cells.
  • Knowledge of clinical applications of tissue engineering and stem cells.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • To be able to recognize and describe some of the limitations and difficulties associated with translational research.
  • To be able to integrate information from different sources to understand diverse types of stem cells, their biology and applied potential.
  • To critically evaluate and discuss experimental data pertaining to stem cell biology and tissue engineering.
Key Skills:
  • Literacy, in being able to consult and extract information from printed and on-line archives.
  • Data analysis, in interpretation and critical analysis of data relevant to stem cells and tissue engineering (e.g. assessment of primary literature).
  • Self-motivation, in self-guided learning.

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

  • Lectures deliver subject-specific knowledge.
  • Workshops support the development of key and subject-specific skills.
  • Self-guided learning contributes to subject-specific knowledge and self-motivation.
  • Reports / Data Handling Exercises are based on subject-specific knowledge.
  • Unseen examinations demonstrate achievement of the appropriate level of subject-specific knowledge of development, with an emphasis on understanding and communication (essay and problem-based questions).

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 35 Weekly 2 hours p/w 35
Workshops 2 Termly 1 hour 2
Preparation & Reading 163
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 80%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Unseen formal examination 3 hours 100% No
Component: Continuous Assessment Component Weighting: 20%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Analytical exercise 100% No

Formative Assessment:


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