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 Molecular Biology (BIOL2441); Level 2 Biochemistry (BIOL2491).


  • • 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, Stem Cells and Tissue Engineering BIOL3531, Ageing and Age-Related Diseases BIOL3591, Advanced Cell Biology BIOL3481, Biology of Disease BIOL3621.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To describe systems and technologies for recombinant protein production and manipulation for industrial, pharmaceutical and research uses.
  • To provide an understanding of yeast and fundamental yeast cell biology and an awareness of the biotechnological uses of yeast.
  • To describe aspects of biochemistry which are relevant to biotechnology, such as microbial transport and other processes relevant to antibiotic action, and roles of metal ions in biological processes.


  • Recombinant protein production.
  • Protein engineering and forced evolution.
  • Microbial secretion and signalling pathways.
  • The roles of metal ions in proteins.
  • Manipulating the cell biology of metals.
  • The genetic manipulation of yeast.
  • Yeast cell biology.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Knowledge of a range of techniques used in modern biotechnology.
  • Advanced knowledge of technologies used to engineer expression constructs for recombinant protein production.
  • Knowledge of mutagenesis techniques for proteins.
  • Knowledge of microbial transmembrane transport processes.
  • Knowledge of the multiple roles of metals in biological systems, and metal homeostasis.
  • Knowledge of yeast genetics and fundamental yeast cell biology.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • To be able to design expression constructs for production of recombinant proteins.
  • To be able to select and analyse results of systems for expressing and manipulating recombinant proteins.
  • To be able to integrate information from different sources to assess microbial transport in relation to antibiotic resistance.
  • To be able to analyse mechanisms of metal homeostasis in biological systems.
  • To give an awareness of ‘omics’ approaches in yeast.
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 biotechnology and biochemistry.
  • 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 2 hour 2
Preparation & Reading 163
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 80%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Unseen formal exam 3 hours 100% No
Component: Continuous Assessment Component Weighting: 20%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
One piece of assessed work such as: data handling exercise, presentation, short question test, set essay, critical analysis. 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