Molecular Biology: Genes, Proteins and Disease

The details
Life Sciences (School of)
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 5
Thursday 03 October 2019
Saturday 14 December 2019
19 December 2019


Requisites for this module


BS312, BS320

Key module for

BSC C700 Biochemistry,
BSC C701 Biochemistry (Including Placement Year),
BSC C703 Biochemistry (Including Year Abroad),
BSC CR00 Biochemistry (Including Foundation Year),
BSC B990 Biomedical Science,
BSC B991 Applied Biomedical Science (NHS placement),
BSC B995 Biomedical Science (Including Year Abroad),
BSC B999 Biomedical Science (Including Placement Year),
BSC BD00 Biomedical Science (Including Foundation Year),
BSC C400 Genetics,
BSC C402 Genetics (Including Year Abroad),
BSC C403 Genetics (Including Placement Year),
BSC CK00 Genetics (Including Foundation Year),
BSC C410 Genetics and Genomics,
BSC C411 Genetics and Genomics (Including Placement Year),
BSC C412 Genetics and Genomics (Including Year Abroad),
BSC C200 Human Biology,
BSC C201 Human Biology (Including Year Abroad),
BSC C202 Human Biology (Including Placement Year)

Module description

Molecular biology is central to nearly all aspects of our knowledge of how biology "works" at a molecular level. This module explores the breadth of processes involved in the expression of eukaryote genes, including the latest techniques used in molecular biology with an emphasis on genetic engineering and the production of therapeutic proteins.

The process of gene expression begins with the regulatory proteins that combine to assemble the transcriptional machinery at the promoter of a gene, followed by the processing and turnover of RNA transcripts. We move on to address the processes of protein synthesis, protein folding and the post-transcriptional modification of proteins. Throughout the module there will be an emphasis on the impact of disease on these processes and opportunity for treatment presented by applying an understanding of the molecular biology.

Module aims

This module aims to explore the breadth of processes involved in the expression of eukaryote genes, including the latest techniques used in molecular biology with an emphasis on genetic engineering and the production of therapeutic proteins

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students should be able to:

1. describe the structural organisation of the gene and associated regulatory sequences

2. explain the process of transcription and the regulation of gene expression

3. describe how proteins are synthesized, targeted and degraded in cells

4. understand a range of molecular biology techniques including PCR, cloning, mutagenesis and protein expression

5. demonstrate competence in a) the analysis and interpretation of data, b) written communication c) practical DNA manipulation techniques.

Module information

1. Practical class I: Introduction to BioBricks (PC lab). Design, digest, and ligate DNA in silico to visualise synthetic biology (SynBio) cloning methods. Design a novel biosensor using BioBricks.

2. Practical class II: Restriction digest, ligation, and transformation to create clones of multicoloured bacteria.

3. Practical class III: Purify and analyse a fluorescent (GFP-tagged) protein.

Learning and teaching methods

15 x 1 hour lectures; 2 x 2 hour PC practical; 2 x 3 hour practical


  • Molecular Cell Biology - Online resources,

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Gen Mechanisms    5% 
Coursework   Prac 1: BioBricks    20% 
Coursework   Gene Expression I    5% 
Coursework   Gene Expression II    10% 
Coursework   Post-Transc Regulation    5% 
Coursework   Prac 2: Fluo GFP Protein    30% 
Coursework   Prac 3: Biosensor Worksheet (Group 1)  13/12/2019  25% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Philip Reeves, email:
Dr Phil Reeves, Dr Emmanuele Conte, Dr Joaquin De Navascues Melero
School Undergraduate Office, email: bsugoffice (Non essex users should add to create the full email address)



External examiner

Dr Clive Butler
The University of Exeter
Associate Professor of Microbial Biochemistry
Available via Moodle
Of 149 hours, 15 (10.1%) hours available to students:
134 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information
Life Sciences (School of)

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