Accessibility statement

Molecular Recognition - BIO00078H

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  • Department: Biology
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Michael Plevin
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25

Module summary

The interaction of biomacromolecules is fundamental to many biochemical processes. This module will explore the basis of biomolecular recognition, focusing on how proteins interact with nucleic acids, other proteins, carbohydrates and membranes, placing these in context of biological functions. Core concepts in biomolecular association will be addressed, ranging from thermodynamic and kinetic descriptions of interactions to the role of 3D structure in recognition. Across the module, these fundamental principles will be discussed in the context of a variety of biological systems. A strong emphasis will be placed on the experimental approaches used to investigate biomolecular interactions and recognition.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2024-25

Module aims

The module introduces the fundamental aspects of molecular recognition with focus on the molecular mechanisms, how biomolecules interact in living systems and how these processes can be quantitatively characterised.
The module will comprise lectures that provide basic introductions to core concepts and experimental techniques, and workshops that examine case studies from different aspects of molecular biology taken from current literature.

Module learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete this module will be able to:

Demonstrate understanding of the basic structural features of protein-target complexes, the role that solvent plays in recognition, and how conformational changes, modularity, symmetry, intrinsic disorder and structural plasticity can influence binding affinity and specificity.

Appreciate the importance of integrating structural, kinetic, thermodynamic, high-throughput and bioinformatics approaches to obtain a holistic view of biomolecular recognition mechanisms in a target system.

Describe common biochemical and biophysical techniques for the study of molecular recognition in vitro and in vivo, interpret data obtained using these techniques, and design experimental strategies using an appropriate combination of these techniques.

Explain, using specific examples, the structural basis of sequence-specific and sequence-independent DNA and RNA recognition by different protein superfamilies.

Examine and evaluate experimental design, data and conclusions in primary literature studies of mechanisms of molecular recognition.

Indicative assessment

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

Special assessment rules


Indicative reassessment

Task Length % of module mark
Online Exam -less than 24hrs (Centrally scheduled)
Molecular Recognition
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 constantly explores 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. In some instances it may be appropriate for the University to notify and consult with affected students about module changes in accordance with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.