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Molecular Basis of Disease - BIO00059M

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  • Department: Biology
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. William Brackenbury
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2023-24

Module summary

The broad aim of the module is to give students a critical awareness of research into the molecular basis of disease. Topics will be drawn from biomedical research specialisations in the Department, including cancer, immunology, microbiology, neuroscience, and parasitology. Several research case studies will be presented, each covering initial ideas, preliminary findings, basic research and how an understanding of molecular mechanisms can translate into potential disease interventions.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2023-24

Module aims

In addition to learning about mechanisms of disease pathology, the lectures will provide students with a critical insight into the research process, including how various factors, such as funding opportunities, new technology, methodological development, competition and often, serendipity, contribute to important breakthroughs. As appropriate, the lecture sessions will include a lab visit/tour and/or opportunity for post-docs to tell students about their research, to provide exposure to the underpinning methodological approaches, technologies and molecular mechanisms being studied. Supported by tutorials and inspired by the lectures, students will undertake research of the literature in a disease of their choosing and write a critical review that appraises the validity and impact of mechanistic data in the design of potential therapies.

Module learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete this module will be able to:

Explain the mechanistic basis of selected diseases at the molecular level.

Discuss how research has been designed and implemented to investigate disease.

Evaluate experimental techniques used to study the molecular basis of disease.

Critically evaluate scientific literature in an area of molecular medicine.

Synthesise an argument that draws on several (potentially contradicting) sources.

Provide constructive feedback on written work.


Task Length % of module mark
Critical Review
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Critical Review
N/A 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 coursework summative assessments (eg. reports, essays, presentations) 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, individual spoken comments during workshops, peer feedback and 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.