Issues in Biomedical Science

The details
Life Sciences (School of)
Colchester Campus
Autumn & Spring
Undergraduate: Level 6
Thursday 03 October 2019
Friday 20 March 2020
04 October 2019


Requisites for this module



Key module for

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)

Module description

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

* human organ transplantation
* dementia
* sequencing of the human genome
* antibiotic resistance
* animal experimentation
* ethics of stem cell research
* ethics in healthcare
* extra-laboratory diagnostic testing

Knowledge has developed to such an extent in the 21st century that we are increasingly able to modify and manipulate life processes. Stem cell technology for example offers the possibility of combating disease and replacing defective tissues and organs. Despite the exciting prospect of curing genetic illness, serious issues relating to the ethics of our intervention must be addressed. Furthermore, limited resources need to be balanced with increasing expectations by those charged with maintaining or improving the health of an informed population. Careful consideration should therefore be given as to how best we make use of scientific advances within an ethical framework.

In modern society individuals are also expected to take more responsibility for their health and wellbeing. It is important therefore to address how NHS professionals may help in presenting information to the public that enables them to make decisions about their behaviour. One example is clearly explaining the dangers of improper use of antibiotics and how we might address the increasing resistance to antibiotics being seen in pathogens.

The structure of this module is a departure from the traditional series of lectures to which you have been accustomed. Some sessions may depend upon your active participation and extensive background reading may be 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 theme of the module is the impact of modern biomedical and 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 key topics in biomedical sciences upon society.
2. Discuss the broader social, economic and ethical implications of selected issues in biomedical sciences.
3. Present lucid arguments relevant to an issue in favour of and against the associated viewpoints and then adopt a considered viewpoint.
4. Demonstrate skills in written and oral presentation.

Module information

Available if the student attends for the whole academic year
Compulsory for:
Year 3 B.Sc. Biomedical Sciences
Year 4 B.Sc. Biomedical Sciences (placement year)

Learning and teaching methods

Lectures: 18 hours, plus participation in a 3 hour oral presentation of selected topics chosen by students. Student managed learning:129 hours. Overall Total: 150 hours


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Essay    60% 
Coursework   Essay (Animals in Research)     
Coursework   Essay (Genome Sequencing)     
Coursework   Essay (Antibiotic Resistance)     
Coursework   Essay (Stem Cell Research)     
Coursework   Essay (Dementia)      
Coursework   Essay (Organ Transplantation) Marker 1     
Coursework   Essay (Organ Transplantation) Marker 2     
Practical   Oral Presentation     40% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Gareth Jones, email:
Dr Gareth Jones, Dr Selwa Alsam, Dr Paul Dobbin, Prof Nelson Fernandez, Prof Leo Schalkwyk, Dr Aurelie Villedieu
School Undergraduate Office, email: bsugoffice (Non essex users should add to create the full email address)



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
Of 51 hours, 21 (41.2%) hours available to students:
30 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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