Accessibility statement

Molecular Biology & Biochemistry - BIO00004C

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  • Department: Biology
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Amanda Barnes
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: C
  • Academic year of delivery: 2020-21

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2020-21 to Summer Term 2020-21

Module aims

This module deals with the structure and function of fundamental chemical molecules of a cell. It starts with an overview of the module and advanced applications that depend on the subjects covered in the module. It then covers the basic chemical building blocks of cells, from elements to macromolecules. The structure of nucleic acids will be introduced, and its importance to the mechanism of DNA replication. Then, the different levels of protein structure will be defined and protein-protein interactions, covalent modification and the nature of membrane proteins, described. The functionality of proteins as enzymes will be discussed in detail. Following an introduction to lipid and carbohydrate structures, the role of the various macromolecules in the context of membrane flow, cell shape, cytoskeleton, etc. will be discussed. Energy and metabolism is introduced by discussing the important concept of free energy and relating this to the central role of ATP and coupling of biochemical processes. The course then surveys carbohydrate and fat metabolism, photosynthesis and related metabolic processes in plants, and concludes with section on the integration of metabolism.

Module learning outcomes

  • To be able to describe the main chemical components of cells, their structural properties, how these relate to their functions, and how they are altered during cellular processes
  • To be able to describe and explain how covalent and non-covalent interactions bring about the assembly of cellular components and macromolecules
  • To be able to explain theoretical frameworks (such a Michaelis Menten kinetics, the laws of thermodynamics and the chemiosmotic theory) that allow us to understand function of biological molecules and cells
  • To be able to integrate knowledge about heterotrophic metabolism (of carbohydrates & lipids) and phototrophic metabolism and how they relate to energy metabolism via ATP
  • To be able to relate knowledge of biological molecules to health and disease and to their application in biotechnology
  • To be able to apply quantitative approaches to perform basic calculations related to acid-base chemistry, redox reactions, and to analyse and evaluate enzyme kinetics data gathered in practical classes


Task Length % of module mark
Online Exam
Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Part I
N/A 50
Online Exam
Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Part II
N/A 50

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Online Exam
Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Part I
N/A 50
Online Exam
Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Part II
N/A 50

Module feedback

Cohort-level feedback will be provided on performance in closed exams and made available via the VLE. Histograms of module marks will be posted on the notice boards outside the Biology Student Services office. Individual marks will be made available to you and your supervisor via e:vision. Exam scripts will be made available at the end of either the Spring or Summer terms. You should take the opportunity to discuss your marks and feedback with your supervisor.

During the teaching of the module you will receive feedback that may be at a whole class or individual level. Forms of feedback may include: model answers and discussion of workshop questions, summaries of performance in practicals, VLE-based quizzes, individual spoken comments during workshops, individual written comments on formative work.  

Indicative reading

These are available through the VLE module site.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): changes to courses

The 2020/21 academic year will start in September. We aim to deliver as much face-to-face teaching as we can, supported by high quality online alternatives where we must.

Find details of the measures we're planning to protect our community.

Course changes for new students