Module BNS-1004:
Principles of Life 1

Module Facts

Run by School of Natural Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1 & 2

Organiser: Dr Christian Dunn

Overall aims and purpose

This module will deal with the Molecular and Cellular foundation of the Biological Sciences. This falls into three broad areas:

  1. Biochemistry: To introduce the types and roles of small molecules found in all organisms,animals, plants, microbes etc, the main reactions in which they are involved and the control of these reactions.
  2. Molecular Biology: To introduce the central roles for large molecules in all life on earth. To introduce synthesis, structure, function and inter-relationships of nucleic acids and proteins.
  3. Cell Biology: To introduce the structure and mechanisms of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells and how these impact on macroscopic physiology.

At several points in the module the ethical and political implications of several of these aspects will be introduced. (It is usual for some aspects to be headline news items during the course of the module).

Course content

This module will deal with the Molecular and Cellular foundation of the Biological Sciences. This falls into three broad areas:

  1. Biochemistry: To introduce the types and roles of small molecules found in all organisms,animals, plants, microbes etc, the main reactions in which they are involved and the control of these reactions.

  2. Molecular Biology: To introduce the central roles for large molecules in all life on earth. To introduce synthesis, structure, function and inter-relationships of nucleic acids and proteins.

  3. Cell Biology: To introduce the structure and mechanisms of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells and how these impact on macroscopic physiology.

Module structure The module will be split into five separate units across both semesters. Each unit will be led by a different academic and consist of a number of lectures and sessions, and an end of unit test, which will contribute to your final grade.

The units are: 1. Chemistry of Life 2. Cell Biology 3. Genetics 4. Microbiology 5. Recombinant DNA

Assessment Criteria

threshold

A threshold student should have a basic knowledge of the essential facts and key concepts presented in the module. With basic knowledge of their general context.

Equivalent category CNS general marking criteria: D- (42%) to D+ (48%)

good

A good student should have a thorough factual knowledge across all aspects of the module, and be able to detail examples where appropriate. Good understanding of applications.

Equivalent category CNS general marking criteria: B- (62%) to B+ (68%)

excellent

An excellent student will have excellent factual recall (including good examples) and ability to link different parts of the module. Full appreciation of the relevance of the topics to a broader context.

Equivalent category CNS general marking criteria: A- (74%) to A* (95%)

Learning outcomes

  1. An appreciation of the cellular and molecular basis of life; including relevance to Industry, Medicine and the Environmental Sciences.

  2. An appreciation of the ethical and social issues raised by the orhtodox explanation of the origin of life and of genetic engineering.

  3. A basic knowledge of the building blocks of life (metabolites) and how they are made via metabolic pathways, also the implications of this to nutrition and treatment of disease (infectious, acquired and inherited).

  4. A basic knowledge of how life harnesses the sun's energy with an emphasis on oxidation/reduction reactions.

  5. A basic knowledge of the structure and function to proteins and their evolution.

  6. A basic understanding of the mechanisms of inheritance and importance of nucleic acids in living processes. The concept of the gene is central to this.

  7. A basic knowledge of the procedures used in gene cloning and transformation.

  8. An appreciation of the key role of the Cell Theory in Biology, Together with a knowledge of the types of cells (and related particles, such as viruses and prions).

  9. An appreciation of the structure of the eukaryotic cell and the key role in physiology played by cell membranes and cytoskeleton.

  10. A basic knowledge of the mechanisms of cell division, differentiation and death.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Mid-Module Exam for Unit 1 (MCQ) 20
Unit 2 - Laboratory Practical Write-up - Questions 20
Mid-Module Exam on Unit 3 (MCQ) 20
Mid-Module Exam on Unit 4 (MCQ) 20
Mid-Module Exam on Unit 5 (MCQ) 20

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Private study

Students are encouraged to use lectures (live or Panopto) as major source of information. (All Microsoft PowerPoint and any other web links are available through these.) Two text books are recommended for personal study (new copies of these come with extensive on-line extras). (This covers all of the learning outcomes of the module.)

160
 

One class revision tutorial followed (hopefully later in same week - dependent on Timetable Unit) by mid Term MCQ exam (20% total).

2
Lecture

The module is provided as traditional lectures. All lecture material is available before hand as PowerPoint presentations and all lectures will be available as Panopto recordings. (In the case of a technical failure, Panopto recordings of previous years will be made available.) A basic and an advanced text book are recommended for the course. All students are offered the opportunity of discussing problems with staff either individually or in small groups. A particular example would be assistance with basic chemistry and physics. A mid-term MCQ test (20%) is designed as a "taster" to inform individuals as their revision requirements and of the expectation of the end-of-session MCQ examination.

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Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information

Subject specific skills

  • Apply subject knowledge to the understanding and addressing of problems.
  • Engagement with current developments in the biosciences and their application.
  • Appreciation of the complexity and diversity of life processes through the study of organisms.

Resources

Reading list

Campbell N.A. & Reece J.B., 2015. Biology: a global approach, Boston: Pearson. http://encore.bangor.ac.uk/iii/encore/record/CRb1882509ScampbellP0%2C1Orightresult__X5?lang=eng&suite=cobalt

Pre- and Co-requisite Modules

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: