BIOU8TM: Molecular Techniques 2

Co-ordinator: Dr Sabine Matallana Surget

Module Description

The content of this module aims to expand upon the fundamental range of techniques and knowledge previously acquired. This module will extend the knowledge on modern molecular biological methods centred on tools and techniques ranging from gene expression to protein regulation, with an emphasis on “omics” based approaches.

Module Objectives

The aim of the module is to:

  • Extend the knowledge on new molecular techniques.
  • Learn how to design a suitable molecular-based experiment using modern approaches.
  • Extract relevant information from complex datasets, analyse and interpret scientific literature.
  • Strengthen students skills in problem solving and critical evaluation of the experimental basis. Be familiar with the applications and limitations of the different methods.
  • Communicate interpretation on both written form and oral presentation
  • Develop skills associated with independent learning; demonstrate and exercise independence of thought.

This half-module is mostly practical-based but will include 4 lectures on new molecular techniques. Tutorial-based support will also be provided within the practical sessions for the enhancement of transferable skills, such as the preparation and delivery of oral and written presentations.

Practical 1.  Protein Isolation. Bradford Assay. Western blotting (Part 1)

Practical 2.  Western blotting (Part 2). Proteomics/ sample preparation.

Acquired skills:

By the end of this module, students should be able to demonstrate skills in:

  • Learning: Developing background theoretical knowledge of molecular techniques by self-learning. Developing skills in designing relevant molecular-based experiments suitable for a given biological question.
  • Written and visual communication: Report writing and preparation of scientific presentation slides using Powerpoint
  • IT: Scientific data analysis and presentation. Skills in evaluation and synthesis of “omics” data.
  • Information retrieval: Use of library and online sources
  • Time management: Independent research, practical work, report and slide preparation

Core Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • Gain experience in using practical and analytical techniques from new molecular techniques, centred on protein expression and regulation, including protein isolation, protein expression, proteomics sample preparation, western blotting.
  • Gain knowledge of the theoretical background underpinning the practical techniques learnt.
  • Learn the principles on how to design molecular-based experiments, interpret complex datasets and perform a critical evaluation of the experimental basis.
  • Be able to assess where and why experiments have failed and be able to rectify protocols in such events.


Total Study Time 100 hours
Scheduled Learning & Teaching 28 hours: lectures, seminars, practical classes and workshops, external visits, scheduled on-line discussions or similar
Guided Independent Study 72 hours: both directed learning undertaken in student's own time, and their own self-directed study for assessment
Placements 0 hours


The assessment of this half module is based on two practical reports and the preparation and power point-based presentation illustrating the use of the techniques learnt during the practical sessions and lectures.

  • Two practical reports: covering material and information from the practicals, but also lectures and background reading. The two reports are worth 50% of the module grade.
  • Oral presentation: you will build one experimental design to answer one given biological question, using the different new molecular techniques presented in this module. You will have to work by pair. Following the presentation, there will be a series of short questions/answers. The presentation is worth 25% of the module grade.
  • Oral examination: There will be one individual oral examination lasting 30min per student, where you will be assessed on practical/theoretical knowledge you have gained during the practical classes and lectures. This will be worth 25% of the course grade.
Coursework 50%
Examination 25%
Practical 25%
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