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Module MSE-1007:
Foundation-Molecules and Cells

Module Facts

Run by School of Medical Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1 & 2

Organiser: Dr Rachel Hallett

Overall aims and purpose

This module will provide a grounding in key aspects of biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology that will underpin later learning in physiology, medical genetics, cell biology and therapeutics. The aim is to introduce important reaction cycles within the human body, the structure and roles of nucleic acids and key concepts of cellular organisation and function.

Course content

The module will cover the key molecules and pathways involved in metabolism, cell division and protein expression within the human body, showing the relationships between these processes and the differences in distinct tissues. The important role of enzymes in the control of biochemical pathways will be introduced, as will an introduction to cell signalling.

Assessment Criteria


Threshold D- to D+ (40 – 49%) Student demonstrates basic factual information largely based on teaching notes. Key principles are generally accurate but with some errors or gaps in knowledge and understanding.

C- to C+

Satisfactory C- to C+ (50 – 59%) Student demonstrates reasonably comprehensive coverage of learning outcomes, indicating generally accurate understanding, based on lecture material and some core readings. Some gaps in knowledge and/or understanding evident.


Good B- to B+ (60 – 69%) Student demonstrates comprehensive and accurate coverage of learning outcomes, showing good use of teaching material and core readings. Is able to demonstrate broad knowledge of roles of important molecules and key cellular processes.


Excellent A- to A* (70 - 100%) Student has sophisticated knowledge of the biochemical and cellular processes within the human body. Very comprehensive and accurate coverage of learning outcomes, and ability to discuss inter-relationships between biochemical pathways and cellular function, indicating that the student has gone beyond the core readings and explored the topic in depth.

Learning outcomes

  1. Demonstrate a basic understanding of the mechanisms by which signals are transmitted between and within cells

  2. Explain the action and inhibition of enzymes, and the importance of cofactors.

  3. Outline the structure and function of major biological molecules (including DNA and RNA).

  4. Interpret chemical pathways associated with carbohydrate, lipid and protein metabolism in humans.

  5. Outline the cell cycle including DNA replication and cell death.

  6. Identify the structure and function of eukaryotic cellular organelles.

  7. Demonstrate a basic knowledge of the structure of the human genome, and key concepts concerning inheritance.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
EXAM Multiple Choice Question Exam

End of semester 1 exam. 1.5 hour Multiple Choice Question (MCQ) exam, whereby students choose 1 best answer from 4 or 5 alternatives.

Formative assessment and group design of practice MCQs will be used to help prepare.

Please note, for 2020/21, this exam will be run online.

EXAM Written exam comprising short answer questions and 1 essay

End of semester 2 exam. 2 hour exam comprising a variety of short answer questions, requiring students to list, order, label a diagram or provide 1-10 sentences in answer. One longer essay question will also be included on the paper; this may require interpretation of given data. Exam preparation and support, and practice questions, are provided in revision sessions.


Teaching and Learning Strategy

Private study

Private study to revise and supplement taught content. Directed reading, textbook suggestions and online resources in the form of animations, quizzes and videos are supplied. Students devise their own bank of MCQs and group-produced revision materials.


20 x 2 hour lectures spread across semester 1 and semester 2. These will incorporate student-led activities, such as case study / practice exam question discussions, DNA modelling to reinforce molecular biology concepts, and MCQ quizzes.

Please note, for 2020/21, a blended learning style of delivery will be used. Students unable to attend Bangor University campus will be able to follow all aspects of the teaching online. On campus teaching may be integrated, subject to Covid-19 related restrictions.


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others


Pre- and Co-requisite Modules