Issues in Biomolecular Science

The details
Life Sciences (School of)
Colchester Campus
Autumn & Spring
Undergraduate: Level 6
Thursday 05 October 2023
Friday 22 March 2024
16 February 2024


Requisites for this module



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 C100 Biological Sciences,
BSC C101 Biological Sciences (Including Year Abroad),
BSC C102 Biological Sciences (Including Placement Year),
BSC CD00 Biological Sciences (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 C110 Biotechnology,
BSC C111 Biotechnology (Including Foundation Year),
BSC C112 Biotechnology (Including Year Abroad),
BSC C113 Biotechnology (Including Placement Year),
MSCIC114 Biotechnology,
BSC C200 Human Biology,
BSC C201 Human Biology (Including Year Abroad),
BSC C202 Human Biology (Including Placement Year),
BSC C220 Human Biology (Including Foundation Year),
MSCIC098 Biochemistry and Biotechnology (Including Year Abroad),
MSCIC099 Biochemistry and Biotechnology (Including Placement Year),
MSCICZ99 Biochemistry and Biotechnology

Module description

In the past 20 years Biology has had a major impact upon society. For example advances in DNA technology and cloning have resulted in transgenic crops that are already a part of the human diet, and form an increasing percentage of worldwide production.

The practice of cloning animals has raised serious ethical concerns – designer dogs?, and some argue that this may open the door to a form of human eugenics. We now possess a complete map of the human genome. Ageing research may lead to lifespans of well over a century; with the link established between age and incidence of dementia is this a welcome development?

What will be the impact of this knowledge? What legislation will be necessary to control the way science could manipulate life? Who will make the decisions? Scientists or politicians? These are some of the questions addressed by this module.

The structure of this module is a departure from the traditional series of lectures to which you have been accustomed. Some sessions will depend upon your active participation and extensive background reading is required. You will survey in detail two separate topics then write an essay based on one and give an oral presentation based on the other.

Module aims

The aim of this module is to explore the impact of modern life sciences upon society.

Module learning outcomes

Learning Outcomes:
To pass this module students will need to be able to:
1. Explain the impact of modern biology on society.
2. Research the legal, social and scientific background to topics of interest using a range of sources of information.
3. Discuss the wider social, economic and policy implications of selected, current biological issues
4. Demonstrate skills in written and oral presentation.

Module information

The theme of the module is the impact of modern life sciences upon society. The module will integrate, within a wider ethical framework, information covering topics that include:

Human organ transplantation
Sequencing of the human genome
Antibiotic resistance
Animal experimentation
Ethics of stem cell research
Patents and the commercialization of research

Learning and teaching methods

Lectures: 18 hours, plus participation in a 3 hour oral presentation session. Student managed learning: 129 hours. Overall total: 150 hours


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography for this year.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Discussion Forum Article  30/01/2024  30% 
Practical   Oral Presentation   05/12/2023  70% 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Aurelie Villedieu, email:
Prof Nelson Fernandez, Dr Aurelie Villedieu, Dr John Ferguson, Dr Efstathios Giotis
School Undergraduate Office, email: bsugoffice (Non essex users should add to create the full email address)



External examiner

Dr Thomas Clarke
University of East Anglia
Senior lecturer/associate professor
Available via Moodle
Of 37 hours, 19 (51.4%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
18 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.


Further information
Life Sciences (School of)

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