BMS238 - Advanced Cell and Molecular Biology (20 credits)

Module Co-ordinator: Dr. H. Roehl

Aims

This unit aims to provide an in depth understanding of these topics in molecular biology:

  • the structure and function of DNA, RNA and proteins
  • how proteins are processed and secreted from the cell
  • how gene and protein function is regulated in eukaryotic organisms
  • how genetic changes alter gene function
  • how alterations in gene function cause disease
  • what is the role of the extracellular matrix and cytoskeleton
  • how do cells communicate with each other
  • techniques are available for the analysis of gene and protein function

Content

This lecture course focuses on the regulatory mechanism that control DNA replication, gene expression and protein function. How these regulatory mechanisms altered in disease such as cancer. In addition, there is a major focus on the techniques available to study cell and molecular biology.

Objectives

By the end of the unit, a candidate will be able to demonstrate knowledge in:

  • DNA replication
  • mobile DNA
  • mitosis and meiosis
  • RNA transcription and processing
  • RNA translation into protein
  • the regulation of protein function by phosphorylation and other means
  • protein trafficking
  • how genetic changes can alter these processes
  • how these alterations in these processes are involved with cancer

the following techniques:

  • recombinant technology
  • transgenesis
  • forward/reverse genetics
  • genome sequencing and data mining
  • microarray (gene chip) analysis
  • Biacore
  • circular dichroism spectroscopy
  • X-ray crystallography
  • nuclear magnetic resonance
  • green fluorescent protein
  • gel-filtration chromatography
  • gel electrophoresis
  • yeast two-hybrid screens
  • immunological approaches to cancer treatment

Teaching Methods

Students will receive a series of 32 lectures which are organised into seven themes.  Reading assignments from the recommended textbooks are provided at the start of the semester. Students are expected to read sections relevant to each lecture beforehand.
Lecture notes and slides will be made available on MOLE. The practical sessions will provide students with hands on experience for many of the techniques discussed during lectures. The tutorial provides a chance to discuss the examination and to go over sample questions. The primary textbook is Molecular Biology of the Cell and students are advised to perform relevant problem sets that are provided at the end of each assigned chapter.

Assessment

This module will be assessed by a 120 minute examination (80%) and a practical class report (20%). The examination will contain two components: multiple choice questions to test basic knowledge (50%) and a short answer question component that will give students the opportunity to integrate and synthesise information.