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Molecules of Life - BIO00029C

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  • Department: Biology
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Amanda Barnes
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: C
  • Academic year of delivery: 2023-24
    • See module specification for other years: 2024-25

Module summary

This module introduces the structure and function of fundamental biomolecules that are essential for life (nucleic acids, amino acids, lipids and carbohydrates). These are the molecules that are responsible for the transfer of genetic information in cell division, give structure to cells and store and transfer energy.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2023-24

Module aims

Biomolecules will be described from small scale, beginning with their basic building blocks through to their assembly into large macromolecules and the key functions each perform. Within the module you’ll learn how the structure of a protein influences how it functions, how lipids can control membrane flow and cell shape and the key metabolic processes involved in creating energy from different nutrients in our diet. Through using detailed case studies of biochemistry in action and experimental data, you will learn the role of biomolecules in cellular processes and their contribution to health and disease and biotechnology. For example how medicinal natural products can be produced from plants and how the dysregulation of key enzymes can result in metabolic disease. Upon completion of the module you’ll be able to apply your understanding of biochemistry across multiple fields of biology.

Module learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete this module will be able to:

Describe the main biomolecules of the cell (proteins, carbohydrates and lipids), their function and how they are altered during cellular processes

Explain how fundamental metabolic pathways balance energy requirements within the cell and organisms

Relate knowledge of biological molecules to health and disease and to their application in biotechnology

Apply quantitative approaches to perform basic biochemical calculations

Analyse and interpret biochemical data


Task Length % of module mark
Online Exam -less than 24hrs (Centrally scheduled)
Molecules of Life
6 hours 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Online Exam -less than 24hrs (Centrally scheduled)
Molecules of Life
6 hours 100

Module feedback

Marks for all summative assessments will be made available to you and your supervisor via e:vision. Feedback will be either individual or cohort-level, depending on the assessment format. You should take the opportunity to discuss your marks and feedback with your supervisor.

For exam-style summative assessment, model answers will be provided for all questions along with cohort-level feedback indicating how students answered questions in general. Marks achieved per question will be added to your script.

For coursework assessments (eg. reports or essays) you will receive individual feedback on your work. This will usually be in the form of a feedback sheet that will include suggestions for further improvement.

During the teaching of the module you will receive formative feedback that may be at a whole class or individual level. Such 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.