Issues in Biomedical Science

The details
Life Sciences (School of)
Colchester Campus
Autumn & Spring
Undergraduate: Level 6
Thursday 03 October 2024
Friday 21 March 2025
16 April 2024


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),
MSCIB099 Biomedical Science,
MSCIBA99 Biomedical Science (Including Placement Year),
MSCIBB99 Biomedical Science (Including Year Abroad)

Module description

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

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

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 for this year.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Discussion Forum Article    30% 
Practical   Oral Presentation     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 Ralf Zwacka, Dr Efstathios Giotis, 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:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
30 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.


Further information
Life Sciences (School of)

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

Disclaimer: The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its Module Directory is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to programmes, modules, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to modules may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery or assessment of modules and other services, to discontinue modules and other services and to merge or combine modules. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications and module directory.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.