Module code: BMS2074

Module Overview

Understanding how structure and function are related at the cellular level and how the biochemicals that make up cellular structures and networks act to co-ordinate cellular processes is fundamental to our understanding of the human body in health and disease. This module will introduce students from an Engineering or Computing background to these fundamental concepts, while highlighting the role that their home disciplines can play in tackling health related questions at the molecular level.

Module provider

School of Biosciences and Medicine

Module Leader

BAILEY Sarah (Biosc & Med)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 5

JACs code: C710

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

Module introductions

Cells and tissues: Flipped learning

  • Basic cellular concepts (membranes and energy)

  • The nucleus, ribosomes and production of proteins (overview)

  • Internal membrane systems and the trafficking of proteins (ER, Golgi, exocytosis)

  • Mitochondria and the production of ATP

  • The cytoskeleton

  • Cell proliferation and cell death

  • Overview of the main tissue types (epithelium, connective tissue, nerve and muscle)

Molecular Biology and Genetics (runs in parallel with timetabled lectures)

  • The human genome and genetic variation

    • Methods for analysing variation

    • The role of gene mutation in disease: cancer biology

  • Genes and their regulation

    • Gene structure and the regulation of transcription

    • Post-transcriptional regulation

    • Methods for measuring gene expression

Included within lectures and tutorials will be an overview of relevant laws and regulatory requirements around collecting samples and important ethical considerations, with discussions centred on present debates around analysing and using data of the ‘quantified self’- e.g. DNA sequences, 1000 genomes project, genome copyright/patent

Practical classes: unless indicated, all should be considered compulsory and a register will be taken.

  • Optional formative practical using pipettes, spectrophotometers and balances (week 1 - contact Module Leader)

  • Molecular Biology Practicals: RNA isolation and analysis (three sessions of three hours - all compulsory)

  • Optional: it will be possible to arrange a bespoke session to observe tissues under the microscope, to support cell biology lectures - contact Module Leader. 


Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Practical based assessment Practical report 40
Examination Examination (MCQ plus SAQ) 60

Alternative Assessment

If practical reports are failed it will be possible for a revised version to be submitted for reassessment. Within reason, if practical classes are missed with valid extenuating circumstances it will be possible to set a written coursework that will test similar learning outcomes, however it would not normally be envisaged that more than half of the practical sessions could be replaced in this way.

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate

  • their knowledge of the principles of cellular and molecular biology by MCQ and SAQ examination

  • their practical, analytical and cognitive skills within practical reports

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • A single lab report worth 40% of the module mark (submission date dependent on lab group)

  • Examination: 60% 2 h: 60 MCQ plus 5 Short Answer Questions selected from a choice of 8

Formative assessment and Feedback

Students can obtain formative feedback from a variety of sources:

  • For practical 1 students will utiles an online test to record and assess their skills in a formative manner. Test must be complete prior to next practical, but no mark recorded

  • Verbal feedback from academics or demonstrators during practicals

  • Verbal feedback following lectures or during tutorials

  • Automated feedback to quizzes (overall mark, answers and feedback comments to each question)

  • Feedback to specific queries via email, with responses being made available to all via SurreyLearn or during tutorials as appropriate

Module aims

  • This module aims to:
    • Provide an overview of the internal structure of (human cells), relating form to function
    and an appreciation the differences between health and pathological cellular structures
    • Introduce students to the central concepts of biochemistry while highlighting key
    biochemical markers of health verses disease
    • Review the processes by which genes are regulated, the utility of understanding such
    processes in the study of human conditions, and the methodology that is currently
    available to gather such data
    • Develop an appreciation for physiological feedback, control and regulatory mechanisms
    at the cellular level
    • To introduce Engineers and Computer Scientists to some of the lab skills employed by
    Bio-scientists (pipetting, biochemical assays, molecular techniques)
    • To consider some of the clinical parameters routinely measured in diagnosing and
    managing human health.
    • Stimulate student interest in applying their skills as Electronic Engineers or Computer
    • Scientists in tackling problems of our aging population

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Describe or identify the intracellular components of the eukaryotic cell and relate their structure to specific functions K
002 Recognise that the structure of biological molecules is related to their function and that perturbation of structure can lead to biological dysfunction K
003 Describe how DNA is organised within the nucleus and how differential regulation of genetic information underpins cellular function K
004 Apply a knowledge of molecular techniques to the analysis of genetic variation and gene expression KC
005 Compare and contrast different mechanisms of transport within the eukaryotic cell K
006 Explain where and how energy is produced in eukaryotic cells K
007 Apply a knowledge of key regulatory pathways to illustrate how dysfunction at the molecular level can impact on human health KC
008 Relate cellular structure and interactions to complex tissue organisation and function K
009 Be aware of the legal, ethical, and regulatory expectations around use and storage of samples collected from humans, and in respect to data generated from such samples and its analysis and reporting, and issues relating to its ownership.
010 Perform experimental techniques as instructed making accurate observations; record, analyse and interpret data CPT
011 Obtain background information from other sources, e.g. the library T

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Overall student workload

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to: give students from an Engineering or Computer Science background an insight into the way the human body functions at the molecular level, along with an insight into the clinical parameters of health that may be monitored in humans.

The lectures will provide much of the material content relating to the molecular biology components and will provide a specific insight into one disease (cancer).

Cell Biology will be taught in a flipped format with pre-recorded Panopto lectures made available in advance for discussion within the weekly tutorials provided.

Tutorials will also provide additional focus on relevance to health and to the student’s core subject, with the role of technology in enhancing biomedical science and promoting human health providing the key connection.

The practical classes will enable the student to experience molecular techniques in order to appreciate the sources of experimental variation within such experiments.

The learning and teaching methods include:

  •  Lectures (approximately 28 h)

  •  Practical Classes: three x 3 h plus optional 2 h formative training on pipettes

  •  Tutorials (weekly to b arranged, plus revision tutorial)

  •  Online quizzes: the module organiser makes extensive use of these in teaching cell biology to biosciences students and these will be tailored and extended to cover all topics within this module.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list


Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Data Science for Health BSc (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2018/9 academic year.