Undergraduate modules in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology

MBB110 Maths for Molecular Bioscience

Confidence in basic calculations is essential for all scientists. In this module, designed for first-year students who have not studied maths to A-level (or equivalent), we will develop the mathematical know-how needed to excel as a molecular bioscientist. Students will build their skills using video tutorials, problems classes, and self study, providing scope for extensive practice. Topics covered include: manipulating different kinds of numbers, solving equations, exponential numbers and logarithms, mathematical notation, presentation of data, and precision and accuracy of measurements and calculations. Enrolment will normally be restricted to MBB level 1 students who have not studied Mathematic to A-level or equivalent.

MBB161 Biochemistry

This module examines the molecules that carry out and control all the chemical reactions in biological cells. The basic chemical concepts underlying the structures of biomolecules are covered, together with the functions and mechanisms of action of biomolecules and the interplay of metabolic pathways. The regulation of these pathways is addressed as well as cellular signalling and the important role and structure of biomembranes. These processes are set in the context of the molecular details of the cellular cytoskeleton and the energetics of the system through consideration of the thermodynamics and kinetics of enzyme driven reactions.

MBB162 Genetics

This module introduces the principles of genetics and considers the application of these principles to diverse aspects of biology and human welfare. The genetic systems of higher organisms and microbes are described, including mechanisms of gene transmission and genetic exchange, mutation, and gene mapping. Human examples are stressed where appropriate. Applications include fundamental studies in other biological disciplines, such as evolutionary and developmental biology, as well as topics more directly concerning human welfare, such as single gene disorders, the genetic basis of predisposition to common diseases and the genetic basis of antibiotic resistance in bacteria.

MBB163 Microbiology

This module is an introduction to the broad subject area of microbiology. Topics covered will include a comparison of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cell structure; the concept of the three domains of life; conventional and molecular taxonomy; bacterial biodiversity; origin of life; environmental microbiology; fungi, bacteria, viruses as pathogens; antibiotic resistance; possible roles for microorganisms in cancer; diversity of viruses; metabolic diversity; eukaryotic microorganisms; microbial biotechnology. The final 20% of the module will cover the principles of immunity, including cellular and molecular components of the immune system and integration of the immune system.

MBB164 Molecular Biology

This module provides an introduction to molecular biology, and is focused on how cells store and express genetic information, together with the application of this knowledge to genetic engineering. Although the fundamental nature of the biological processes of replication, transcription and translation are universal in living systems, mechanistic differences between these processes in bacteria and in higher organisms will be highlighted. The ability to manipulate genetic information is central to molecular biology research, and technologies involved in isolating, characterising and functionally analysing genes will be reviewed.

MBB165 Practical Molecular Bioscience 1

This module introduces students to the laboratory skills that underpin modern molecular bioscience. By carrying out a wide range of laboratory-based experimental work in the areas of biochemistry, genetics, microbiology and molecular biology, students develop expertise in basic laboratory techniques and an understanding of laboratory safety rules, as well as a broader appreciation of the nature of experimental science. The theoretical basis of the laboratory exercises is reinforced by a series of non-laboratory-based "analysis sessions". In parallel with the development of laboratory skills, this unit also provides tutorial-based support for the development of transferable skills, such as the preparation and delivery of oral and written presentations.

FCP201 Molecules to Market

This module aims to develop awareness of the commercialisation of bioscience ideas. It aims to encourage students to draw on their subject knowledge to develop a robust business model for their virtual business. The students will develop their team working aptitude; develop independent trouble shooting, project management, enterprising and research skills. It is a faculty-wide module, though run by MBB staff.

MBB210 History and Philosopy for Molecular Bioscience

This module aims to provide an introduction to the history and philosophy of science that is appropriate for molecular bioscience students. Examples of famous discoveries and some famous biologists will be used to illustrate important features of the history of science, including the importance of chance (serendipity), the neglected role of women in science, and the contribution of PhD students in Nobel Prize winning studies. In addition to the theory of the philosophy of science, current philosophical issues in modern science to be discussed include cheating in scientific research, the peer review system and the existence of modern heretics.

MBB261 Biochemistry 2

This module provides an advanced treatment of some of the biochemical topics introduced in earlier modules, in particular reaction mechanisms, enzyme kinetics, protein evolution and signal transduction within biological membranes. Proteins carry out almost all the reactions in the cell, and their activities are tightly regulated and controlled to achieve correct function. Protein function therefore lies at the heart of Biochemistry, and in this module we enable you to gain a deeper understanding of enzyme function at a more fundamental level. We look at the physical basis of reactions and give you a hands-on appreciation of enzyme kinetics. We look at the chemical essentials of enzyme catalysis, to introduce you to the beauties of enzyme function and we look at ways in which enzymes can be studied and measured using current technology.

MBB262 Genetics 2

This module builds upon the introduction to genetics provided by MBB162 Genetics. A range of eukaryotic genetic systems will be considered, including humans and a number of model organisms, ranging from yeasts and filamentous fungi to Drosophila melanogaster, Caenorhabditis elegans, Arabidopsis thaliana and Mus musculus. Topics to be covered include methods for isolating and genetically analysing mutants with specific phenotypes, extranuclear inheritance, developmental genetics, cytogenetics, quantitative inheritance, and population genetics.

MBB263 Microbiology 2

This module is divided into two themes. The first (lectures 1-24) provides a comprehensive view of key aspects of microbial cell biology and physiology. The second (lectures 25 onwards) then goes on to illustrate the important role of microbes as human pathogens. In theme I we will discuss bacterial structure and function in detail, show how bacteria respond to changes in environmental conditions by differentiating into new cell types and describe the growth kinetics of bacteria in batch and continuous culture. In theme II we will discuss the mechanisms used by pathogenic bacteria to subvert and fool the host’s defences, describe some important infectious diseases and the virulence mechanisms involved, the use of vaccines and antimicrobial agents in control and treatment, the problems associated with newly-emerging pathogens and the role that resistance to antimicrobial agents is playing in the re-emergence of certain diseases.

MBB265 Practical Molecular Bioscience 2

This module provides detailed knowledge in key areas of practical molecular bioscience, emphasising the integration of the disciplines of biochemistry, microbiology and genetics. An important aim of the module is to provide experience in the preparation of written laboratory reports, and in the correct interpretation and representation of biological data. Laboratory, computer and data analysis sessions build on the skills gained during MBB165 and allow students to develop a high level of technical competence and theoretical understanding. Tutorial-based support is also provided for the enhancement of transferable skills, such as the preparation and delivery of oral and written presentations.

MBB266 Molecular Bioscience 2A

In this module, students will develop a working knowledge of the structures and functions of globular and membrane proteins and nucleic acids. Consideration of the nature of membrane proteins (particularly the energy-transducing proteins that are in or on those membranes), and the principles of chemiosmosis, light absorption and biological redox reactions, will lead to explanations of the basic principles of how energy is made available (transduced) for essential biological functions, such as ATP synthesis, solute transport, motility and “housekeeping”. Finally, the control and integration of biochemical pathways will be considered.

MBB267 Molecular Bioscience 2B

This module is organized into three sections that are focused on aspects of bacterial genetics, the regulation of gene expression in eukaryotic systems and the analysis of genomes. The first part of the module will show how classical and molecular techniques are applied to study bacterial genomes, covering mutagenesis techniques, the selection of mutants, genetic mapping approaches and the analysis of genetic regulatory elements. The middle section of the module addresses the molecular mechanisms of gene expression and its regulation in eukaryotes, with an emphasis on chromatin structure and transcriptional control by both protein and RNA, receptor-mediated signalling pathways, the processing, localization and degradation of mRNA, and translational control. The final part of the module covers the organization of chromosomes and genomes, the functions and origins of non-genic sequences, gene evolution, genome sequencing strategies and functional genomics.

BMS351 Gametes, Embryos and Stem Cells

This module covers the development, function, and manipulation of mammalian gametes and embryos from their formation and differentiation as primordial germ cells up to the time of embryo implantation. Emphasis is placed on cellular and molecular mechanisms of development and function and associated biotechnology. Lectures trace sexual determination, gonadal differentiation and gamete development. The role of assisted reproductive techniques for alleviating human infertility and for animal breeding is explored along with transgenic and cloning techniques. The developmental programme of the early embryo and the role of genomic imprinting are covered along with the emerging field of embryonic stem cells. Finally fertility regulation and effects for reproductive toxicants on reproduction are discussed.

MBB301 Macromolecular Machines

This module will provide you with a more mature appreciation of the application of contemporary experimental approaches to understanding the action of macromolecular machines, such as the components of the complex macromolecular biosynthetic and degradative pathways. The module will show how ideas introduced at level 2 can be used to understand a number of detailed examples from the literature, including: the interaction of the chemotherapeutic agent methotrexate with DHFR; and the ability of the ribosome to minimise the incorporation of incorrect amino acids. The module will also cover structure function relationships in protein biosynthesis drawing on the recent structural insights into ribosomes obtained by X-ray crystallography, together with the growing appreciation of the catalytic role of RNA in this process and biology in general. This will be followed by a consideration of further examples drawn from bacterial and eukaryotic DNA replication, transcription and nucleic acid and protein processing with an emphasis on experimental strategies for identifying and characterising the components of such complexes, using biochemical methods such as separation technology, molecular genetics, and mass spectrometry.

MBB302 Physical Methods for Studying Biological Structures

The module aims to describe the methods used in the study of biological molecules, concentrating on the methods used to obtain structural information. Students will have an opportunity to acquire knowledge of the following: spectroscopy (UV/visible spectroscopy, fluorescence spectroscopy, circular dichroism spectroscopy, infra-red spectroscopy, and the applications and limits of each of these techniques in biological systems); the techniques and basic principles of NMR spectroscopy, of protein crystallography, and of electron microscopy, and electron diffraction; the structural information that these techniques reveal; structural restraints, electron density, protein conformation and protein flexibility. The course will focus on the application of these techniques to selected case studies.

MBB303 Cells as Factories

The introductory lecture will introduce students to the idea of "Red" (health care, pharmaceuticals), "Green" (agriculture, food) and "White" (industrial) biotechnology. The topics covered in the course will be organised within this framework. Algal biotechnology is an example of white and green biotechnology leading to the synthesis of bioproducts such as glycerol, beta-carotene and phycocyanin and it can utilise land unfit for agriculture. Bioremediation falls within white biotechnology and utilizes inherent properties of cell metabolism to degrade toxic pollutants of soil and water. Traditional fermentations will be examined for the production of pharmaceuticals (red biotechnology), bioenergy (algal biomass, ethanol fermentation), and fine chemicals (amino acids, antibiotics), all of which are examples of white biotechnology. Modern process systems e.g. immobilised catalysis using plant or animal cells will be discussed in terms of production of vaccines and human growth hormone. Finally, genetic modification systems for the production of peptides will be covered.

MBB304 Plant Biotechnology

This course considers the application of biotechnology to plants, for both agricultural and research uses. It covers the production of transgenic plants and how this technology has resulted in genetically engineered crop plants that have improved qualities or produce novel plant products. It also covers alternative techniques such as culture-induced variation or marker assisted plant breeding that can be used to produce genetically improved crop varieties without use of genetic engineering. The release of engineered crops is having a major impact on society raising issues of economic, ethical, moral and ecological importance. An appreciation of these issues will be developed.

MBB306 Virus Infections of Humans

This module aims to introduce students to the major biological properties and characteristics of those groups of viruses particularly associated with the common and important infections of man, and provide an awareness of the transmission, epidemiology, pathogenesis an d control of these virus groups. The module also embraces the basic specific and non-specific host defence mechanisms associated with these infections, the varying interactions of viruses with these defences, and the principles concerned with the diagnosis of viral infections by laboratory procedures. The nature of those viruses that infect man are considered along with a range of associated phenomena - pathogenic mechanisms, viral latency and persistence and viral carcinogenesis. Finally, the control of virus infections through the use of viral vaccines and antiviral chemotherapy, and the mechanistic rationale underlying these topics is discussed.

MBB308 Molecular Systems Biology and Synthetic Biology

This unit explores how the outlook of biology has changed over recent years through the use of high throughput data and computational methods to construct and test models of cell and organism behaviour. The resultant networks, webs and pathways of interactions and reactions produce system properties that cannot be predicted from the study of the individual molecular components. These network properties, such as emergence, robustness and modular convergent design principles, need to be taken into account when synthesising cells and organisms with novel properties for medical use and for biotechnology, and when trying to perturb disease states for therapeutic purposes.

MBB309 Membrane Protein Structure and Function

The aim of this module is to impart a thorough understanding of the structure and function of membrane proteins, a topic which has been the subject of four Nobel awards in the last twenty years. These protein complexes mediate the transfer of excitation energy, electrons and protons upon which all life depends. They also control the entry and exit of proteins, ions, nutrients, drugs and antibiotics from cells and the transfer of signals across membranes. We will examine energy transducing proteins involved in respiration and photosynthesis. Students will have an opportunity to acquire knowledge of the organisation of energy transducing membranes of mitochondria, bacteria and chloroplasts using biochemical and electron microscopic methods. They will also cover the use of protein engineering, crystallography and spectroscopy to probe structure/function relationships in energy transducers, channels and transporters. The principles underlying the efficiency of energy transduction and redox chemistry taking place in these complexes will be covered.

MBB310 Assembly of Supramolecular Structures

The course aims to describe a range of supramolecular structures and the methods used to study the assembly of these complexes in vivo and in vitro. Students will have an opportunity to acquire knowledge and understanding of the following: folding of molecules; background thermodynamics; folding pathways; investigating intermediates; kinetic labelling; mutagenesis; modules of folding; the role of disulphide bonds; accessory proteins; isomerases; rotamases; chaperones. Protein domains; homodimers; allosteric proteins; repressors; heterodimers; particularly leucine zippers; multienzyme complexes; larger protein complexes. Case studies of assembly of multi-subunit complexes in vivo and in vitro: collagen; tobacco mosaic virus; ferritin; ATCase; structures of an allosteric enzyme; phage capsid structure; and techniques for the study of variations in structure of enzyme and assembly intermediates.

MBB311 Molecular Immunology

The aim of this course is to provide students with a knowledge of how multi-cellular organisms have evolved defence mechanisms that are foreign to the body. The course will provide an understanding of the molecules and cells involved in normal immune defence mechanisms. This will include an account of differences between innate and adaptive immunity, humoral and cellular immunity, structure/function relationships in antibody classes, antibody synthesis and the genetic mechanisms for antibody diversity, molecular basis of T-cell activation, role of cytokines in adaptive immunity and inflammation. Immunological methods for the production and application of antibody molecules as tools for research, diagnosis and treatment will also be discussed. The final part of this course examines the molecular basis of inherited and acquired immune deficiency diseases and places particular emphasis on the genetic and immunological methods employed to identify the underlying causes of such processes.

MBB313 Genome Stability and Genetic Change

The course examines in detail the mechanisms that generate genetic variation and maintain genome integrity. There is a strong emphasis on eukaryotes. Underlying mechanisms of genetic recombination, mismatch repair, excision repair and mutagenesis will be discussed. Wherever possible, experimental detail is included to illustrate how conclusions on gene function and interactions are determined.

MBB320 Human Genetics 1

Genetic factors influence our health over our entire life. The first part of the module will consider single gene disorders. We will consider how genes affected in single gene disorders are isolated through positional cloning, which is based on determining their location on the genetic map. Once the genes are identified, the causative mutations can be recognised which allows prenatal diagnosis. Furthermore, the encoded protein can be studied allowing the molecular pathology of the disease to be elucidated. As case studies we will consider Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, cystic fibrosis, trinucleotide repeat expansions, familial speech disorder and hereditary cancers. The second part of the module will be concerned with changes in chromosome structure and number which are also a common cause of disease. We will consider the mechanisms for the orderly segregation of chromosomes during meiosis and the results of mistakes in these processes.

MBB323 Microbial Sensing of the Environment

This module aims to give students an overview of the various mechanisms of control of gene expression in bacteria relevant to environmental sensing. Using specific examples, the principles of "two-component" sensor-regulator systems are illustrated, and the way in which they act as signal transducers is explained. Information about other types of sensor and regulator mechanisms involved in oxygen sensing, chemotaxis, differentiation and microbial pathogenicity is also provided.

MBB325 The RNA World

This module will analyse the vital roles that RNA plays in the life of a cell and how RNA is increasingly used as a tool to understand biology. The course will cover the following 'cutting edge' research topics: RNA interference, CRISPR Genome Editing, non-coding RNAs, together with the latest work on well known RNA based activities. These include transcription, RNA splicing, RNA stability, RNA export and translation and how all these processes are coupled in the cell to ensure efficient, quality-controlled gene expression. The module aims to present the latest innovations and discoveries in the RNA world and their application.

MBB334 Biochemical Basis of Human Disease

The introductory lectures will cover basic issues in the control of inflammation, normal cell proliferation and differentiation, including intracellular signals generated by agonist/receptor binding, the role of cell surface receptors and adhesion molecules in regulating cell function, the role of protein kinases and transcription factors in cellular responses to extracellular signals, and apoptosis. The following fourteen lectures will then put these topics into the context of research into the origins and treatment of human disease, and cover clinical pathologies involving abnormal cell proliferation, differentiation and inflammation i.e. cancer, atherosclerosis; abnormal coagulation and ischaemia reperfusion injury; renal glomerulosclerosis and transplantation, and autoimmunity.

MBB335 Bacterial Pathogenicity

Infectious diseases account for the majority of deaths worldwide. This will continue to be the case until we have a greater understanding of the mechanisms of microbial pathogenesis and thereby develop counter strategies. This module builds on the principles introduced in MBB245 and begins by showing how molecular genetic approaches are being used to unravel the complex strategies employed by bacterial pathogens. Following an introduction to the regulation of virulence genes, the pathogenic mechanisms of selected bacterial pathogens are explored in detail, demonstrating the involvement of multiple virulence determinants and their genetic regulation in the disease process. Pathogens discussed in detail will include some giving particular cause for concern, such as Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Virulence mechanisms that represent common themes in bacterial pathogenesis will be highlighted and, where applicable, the appearance of antibiotic resistant strains and strategies adopted to tackle this problem will be considered.

MBB336 Human Genetics 2

Common diseases often run in families but do not show Mendelian segregation characteristic of single gene disorders. Such diseases are influenced by alleles affecting many genes and the risk is also strongly affected by environmental factors. It has long been a goal of human geneticists to identify the risk alleles. Recently, methodologies have been developed for that for the first time are making this possible. The first part of the module will be concerned with complex disease and how the risk alleles are being identified. The second part of the module will be concerned with the function of the genetic testing laboratory. As well as considering the nature of the test used, there will be a discussion of the practical problems faced by the genetic counsellor with an emphasis on ethical dilemmas which often arise.

MBB339 Evolutionary Genetics

This unit will consider the processes underlying evolutionary change. It will show how changes in gene structure and function can be recognised, how different genes affect the fitness of individuals, how the frequencies of different alleles are altered in populations and how new species develop. The emphasis will be on polymorphisms and evolution of plants, insects and mammals. Material covered includes variations in cell proteins and morphological characters, fitness, migration, genetic drift, breeding systems, types of selection, effects of man-made changes, roles of RNA and DNA genomes, introns and gene duplications, theory of neutral evolution, molecular clocks and molecular phylogeny.

MBB340 The Microbiology of Extreme Environments

The module is divided into three sections. The first section deals with a discussion of the basic metabolic strategies that allow microbes to live, e.g. chemoheterotrophy, chemoautotrophy, phototrophy. This is then followed by a brief survey of the geochemical cycles, e.g. the S and N cycles. The second section is devoted to a study of how microorganisms are able to live in extreme environments on Earth, e.g. salt lakes and hydrothermal vents. The final section deals with the possibility that microorganisms exist in extreme, non-Earth environments such as Mars. This section concludes with a discussion of how life might have originated on the prebiotic Earth.

MBB342 Genetics of Cell Growth and Division

This unit will illustrate how genetic approaches have been used to identify the components and the mechanisms of eukaryotic cell growth and division. Examples will be chosen from a range of eukaryotic organisms from fungi to animal cells. Material to be covered includes the cell cycle and its control by internal and external signals, role of the cytoskeleton and associated motor proteins in chromosome separation, nuclear movement, polar growth and cytokinesis; also unique events of meiosis.

MBB343 Biochemical Signalling

The aim of the module is to give students an understanding of the mechanisms by which eukaryotic cells communicate. Students will acquire knowledge of: cell-cell communication involving hormones and growth factors; cell surface receptors, their characterisation and specificity; the role of G-proteins in signal transduction; intracellular signals and reversible phosphorylation mechanisms. Examples considered in detail are: cyclic AMP; protein kinase A; inositol phosphates in calcium regulation; diacylglycerol and activation of protein kinase C; calcium as a second messenger. Examples of oncogene-derived proteins in signalling will be considered.

MBB344 Genomic Science

This unit builds on MBB267 and addresses the current experimental strategies for elucidating functional information from the growing number of organisms for which genome sequences are now available. The course begins with an introduction to RNA interference and its application to the analysis of gene function. Then we consider how the technique of RNA interference can be used to carry out genome wide screens for gene function in a range of organisms, including humans, C.elegans and Drosophila. The course then considers how we might use bioinformatics to analyse gene function on a genome wide scale and finally we address how other technologies such as mass spectrometry can help elucidate the function of proteins on a genome wide scale.

MBB360 Project

The module aims to give students experience of laboratory research, and to develop practical and organisational skills essential to a scientific career. Students undertake a research project related to their degree subject(s) and submit their work as a word-processed report, written in the style of a research publication. Projects are undertaken under the supervision of a member of academic staff, and are related to the research activities ongoing in the Department. Most placements are in labs within the Department, but a small proportion of students undertake projects in other locations, such as the Medical School. There are also opportunities to carry out projects that do not involve laboratory work. Students develop skills in the design and execution of experiments, and in the collation, presentation and interpretation of data.

MBB361 Literature Review

In this module students are required to write a dissertation on a topic of their choice. The aim is to develop skills of several types: information technology skills will be required in designing and implementing a strategy for obtaining information from the literature; analytical and interpretative skills will be needed in assessing this information as it accumulates; and presentation skills will be called upon in writing the dissertation.

MBB362 Biochemistry Data Handling

Practicing biochemists need a range of skills in addition to those taught and assessed in the more standard lecture modules. The aim of this module is to provide teaching, training and assessment in these skills, which include the analysis of numerical data, reading and understanding scientific papers, evaluation and presentation of results, and experimental design.

MBB363 Genetics Data Handling

Analysis and interpretation of genetic data are essential skills for any geneticist. The purpose of this module is to develop these skills through a directed programme of reading, discussion and question answering, based on a series of research papers.

MBB364 Microbiology Data Handling

The module aims to develop problem solving, interpretative and numerical skills by the study of deductive questions drawn from the broad area of microbiology. Students will gain experience in the handling, analysis, interpretation and evaluation of data.

MBB401 Introduction to Research Methodology

This unit is designed to introduce the advanced skills and background necessary to undertake the Year 4 research project. It will show how the principles underpinning key areas of technologies used in modern molecular biology (including: bioinformatics, structural biology, functional genomics, molecular biology and genetics, cell biology, and immunology) are applied to address biological questions. There will be opportunities to revise and update key practical techniques introduced in earlier years. Students will gain an understanding of the use and protection of intellectual property in biology.

MBB402 Advanced Literature Review

This unit is designed to provide teaching and training in current molecular biological ideas and computer-based methods. It involves training in critical reading of scientific literature, and will include how to read papers, understand the implications of data, and write abstracts. It looks at the development of scientific ideas, and will include aspects of the turning of scientific ideas into commercial products. It also includes teaching on the use of electronic databases, particularly those related to gene sequences.

MBB403 Extended Laboratory Project

This unit provides an extended period of laboratory work, with training in experimental techniques, record keeping and writing up. Projects are supervised by a member of staff and related to ongoing research projects within the Department, although a small proportion of students undertake projects in other locations such as hospitals and the Medical School. This course is designed to provide students with experience of undertaking investigations independently on a specific research topic, so that they can develop a research oriented approach, and gain experience of lab work in preparation for a future career in science.

MBB404 Project in Industry

This unit provides training in research methods in molecular biology, in an industrial lab, by means of an extended project. Training is also provided in record keeping and writing up. Projects are supervised by industrial research staff, in liaison with a member of MBB staff: this will include site visits and an interim report. The unit is designed to provide students with experience of undertaking investigations independently on a specific research topic, in an industrial setting.

MBB405 Advanced Research Topics

This unit will develop the ability of students to acquire information through the medium of research seminars. It will give insight into the development of scientific ideas, and acquaint students with the most recent developments in selected areas. Students will attend a series of seminars, given as part of the departmental research seminar programme, and will write a brief report on each. They will take part in a journal club, involving studying, presenting and discussing papers from teh scientific literature. They will also undertake more extensive research into the scientific literature relevant to a subset of topics. Reporting of this work will include oral presentations in which students will practice modern presentation techniques.