Natural Sciences

Ecosystem & Environment, Biology and Chemistry

Natural Sciences is a multidisciplinary degree which allows you to study three subjects in the first year and continue with two subjects in the second and third year. 

Year One

You will study 40 credits of each subject from your chosen three-subject streams.

Ecosystem & Environment

Students will take 20 compulsary credits and select a further 20 optional credits.

Compulsory module:

Planet Earth: Exploring the Physical Environment

This module integrates knowledge taken from the hydrosphere, oceans and continents to inform an understanding of global physical systems as they affect people and the environment. The module considers:

  • hydrological cycles
  • principles of Earth and geomorphological systems
  • fluvial geomorphology and biogeomorphology

20 credits over the full year.

 

Select a further 20 credits from the list below:

The Ecology of Natural and Managed Ecosystems

Pollinator species are hugely important for natural systems and for managed systems like agriculture, but there is concern that numbers are declining. This module introduces you to the principles of ecology and looks at how organisms have evolved to interact with their environment.

You’ll cover:

  • population and community ecology
  • the various definitions of biodiversity
  • the loss of species and habitats

You’ll have lectures from current researchers in the field and the opportunity to apply your learning in the laboratory and through field visits.

20 credits in the Autumn semester.

 
Climate, Atmosphere and Oceans

This module introduces key components of the Earth's circulation systems and how those contribute to determining the Earth’s climate on regional scales. It provides an overview of weather formation, atmospheric and ocean chemistry, large scale ocean circulation patterns, and Earth’s resulting climatic zones. It will introduce concepts of climate and how that impacts on functioning of the Earths ecosystems.

You will develop process based understanding of these factors practical as well as the spatial distribution of weather patterns and ocean currents. You will use models and field measurements of air flow to test how energy is transported.  We will look at the scale, rates, distribution and causes of weather systems and the implications of this for global climate change. We will examine the linkages between weather systems and ocean currents.

10 credits in the Spring semester.

 
On Earth and Life

On Earth and Life explores the deep historical co-evolution of Earth and Life and emphasises uniqueness of place and historical contingency. The module leads on from and complements Physical Landscapes of Britain in exploring geological, plate tectonic and palaeoenvironmental ideas and research, but at the global scale.

It emphasises the role of life in creating past and present planetary environments, and conversely the role of environment and environmental change in the evolution and geography of life. The module also serves to prepare the ground for and contextualise several second and third year geography modules, especially Environmental Change and Patterns of Life.

10 credits in the Spring semester.

 
Physical Landscapes of Britain

The module provides you with the theoretical background and practical training to undertake basic spatial analysis within a contemporary Geographic Information System (GIS). 

It is built upon a structured set of paired theory lectures and practical sessions, supported by detailed theory topics delivered via Moodle, which contain linkages to associated textbook resources. It aims to ensure competency in the use of a contemporary GIS software package whilst developing transferable ICT skills.

It also encourages you to develop the analytical skills necessary for the creation of workflows that utilise the built-in analytical functionality of a GIS to solve a spatial problem.

10 in the Spring semester.

 


Biology

40 compulsory credits can be from your chosen specialism.

Molecular Biology and Genetics specialism

Genes, Molecules and Cells

This module combines lectures and laboratory classes and introduces you to the structure and function of significant molecules in cells, and the important metabolic processes which occur inside them. You will study, amongst other topics, protein and enzyme structure and function, the biosynthesis of cell components, and the role of cell membranes in barrier and transport processes. You'll examine how information in DNA is used to determine the structure of gene products. Topics include DNA structure, transcription and translation and mutation and recombinant DNA technology.

40 credits throughout the full year.

 

Evolutionary Biology and Ecology specialism

Evolution, Ecology and Behaviour

Starting with Darwin’s theory of evolution, you will learn how natural selection and other evolutionary forces have shaped the ways in which organisms interact with each other and their environment. In addition to lectures, practical classes will give you hands-on experience with a range of ecological and behavioural concepts in the laboratory and the field.

20 compulsory credits throughout the full year.

 
Life on Earth

Life on Earth provides an introduction to the fundamental characteristics and properties of the myriad of organisms which inhabit our planet, from viruses, bacteria and Archaea, to plants and animals. In weekly lectures, and regular laboratory practical classes, you will consider how living organisms are classified, how they are related genetically and phylogenetically, and basic aspects of their structure and function.

20 compulsory credits throught the full year.

 

 

Chemistry

40 compulsory credits:

Fundamental Chemistry Theory and Practical
This module shows how trends in chemical properties can be related to the structure of the Periodic Table and rationalise descriptive inorganic chemistry. 

To provide a fundamental understanding of the basics of organic chemistry, including nomenclature, molecular structure and bonding, stereochemistry and the chemical reactivity of common functional groups and reaction types through an understanding of their electronic properties. 

To provide an introduction to fundamental physical aspects of chemistry, which underpins all areas of Chemistry - emphasis will be placed on being able to apply knowledge, especially in solving problems. 

To introduce a range of chemical techniques appropriate to the study of inorganic, organic and physical chemistry at first year level, which will act as a foundation for more advanced work in subsequent years.

40 compulsory credits throughout the full year.

 

Compulsory module

All students are required to take a compulsary module, Academic and Transferable Skills Portfolio. This will be taught throughout the first full year. It will support organisational and professional competancies which will be used during the course.


Year Two

You will continue on your stream comprising of two of your first year subjects. You will take 60 credits of modules from each subject and greater emphasis will be put on studying outside of formal classes.

Ecosystem & Environment

Students to take 60 credits from the list below.

Environmental Change

This module considers the mechanisms for, and evidence of, global climate change during the timescale of the Quaternary period. The nature, causes and impacts of change are evaluated in the context of the available evidence within a range of natural and human environments. Evidence for human impact on natural resources is reviewed. Evidence for human impact on the global atmosphere, and the nature and impacts of future climate change are also considered. Students will gain an understanding of remote sensing for the study of land cover change.

20 credits throughout the year.

 
Fieldwork Skills

This module, run as a non-residential field course, will introduce students to a range of skills for environmental monitoring and ecological assessment. Students will develop key practical skills and gain valuable experience in planning and conducting fieldwork. There will be a strong focus on developing practical skills and enhancing employability in the environmental job sector. Students choose from a range of 1 or 2 day activities running through the year. These may include: 

  • Air and water quality monitoring
  • Contaminated land surveys
  • Using GPS and spatial sampling techniques
  • Terrestrial invertebrate survey techniques
  • Phase 1 habitat surveys- plant identification
  • Freshwater monitoring using BMWP and macroinvertebrates

20 credits throughout the year.

 
The Urban Environment

Description under review.

10 credits in the Autumn Semester.

 
Ecosystem Processes

The course will focus on the processes that govern terrestrial ecosystem function. We will identify key ecosystem drivers and processes and explore how these have shaped the biosphere. Students will gain an understanding of the mechanisms that control changes in the physiochemical environment and their impact upon communities. Particular topics will include primary productivity, decomposition, herbivory, biodiversity and human impact on ecosystems. 

10 credits in the Autumn semester.

 
Forest Ecology and Management

This module introduces students to forest environments and ecology within natural and semi-natural and planted ecosystems. Students examine environmental and ecological factors affecting forest/woodland composition, structure, biodiversity and distribution, developing practical skills in tree species identification and survey techniques during fieldwork and site visits. Students gain an understanding for how woodlands are managed for environmental, wildlife conservation and commercial timber extraction, looking at the scale, rates, distribution and causes of deforestation and forest degradation and the implications of this for global and local ecosystem services. Looking at environmental and ecological impacts of deforestation, commercial forestry and afforestation, looking at different management objectives including timber production, environmental services, amenity and conservation. We will examine the impact of invasive species and pests and disease on tree species and woodlands, particularly in the UK. 

20 credits in the Autumn semester.

 
Climate Change Science

The module presents a broad overview the science that underpin climate change. It shows the importance of historical understanding in interpreting the present and predicting the future. It provides an understanding of the energy flows that are causing climate change, and insights into the way that computer models can be used to relate complex parameter sets. It reviews the impacts of climate change for plants, animals and people, both on land and in the oceans. It also shows how a range of options exists for reducing and stabilising climate change. Topics covered are: historical climate change; the principles of climate forcing; the role of modelling; responses of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, including impacts on humans; the political environment; and options for climate stabilization.

10 credits in the Spring semester.

 
Computer Modelling in Science: Introduction

Modern biological and environmental science includes the study of complex systems and large data sets, including imaging data. This necessitates the use of computer models and analyses in order to understand these systems. This module contains an introduction to computer programming and modelling techniques that are used in the biological and environmental sciences. Specifically, it contains: (i) An introduction to computer programming and algorithms, using the Python programming language. (ii) An introduction the construction of mathematical models for biological and environmental systems using difference and differential equations, with a particular emphasis on population dynamics, and the use of computing to simulate, analyze these models and fit these models to data. Throughout the module, the focus will be on relevant examples and applications, e.g. environmental pollution, growth of microbial populations, disease epidemics, or computer manipulation of images of plants, animals or the natural environment.

20 credits in the Spring semester.

 
Patterns of Life

The course focuses on patterns in the distribution of organisms in space and time, and theories proposed to explain those patterns. The main themes are listed below. Teaching is via a mixture of lectures and small-group discussions, centred on discussion of current research.  Exemplar topics include:

  • Biodiversity patterns
  • Island biogeography
  • Biodiversity dynamics
  • Speciation and extinction
  • Evolution

20 credits in the Spring semester.

 
Environmental Management Field Course

During this field course module you will look at the concept of catchment management and we will examine the impact of local land use on soil health and water quality. You will become familiar with techniques used in environmental monitoring and gain practical skills and experience in analysing and interpreting environmental data sets focused on assessing pollution risks.

10 credits in the Spring semester.

 

Biology

40 compulsory credits from your chosen specialism:

Molecular Biology and Genetics specialism

  • The Genome and Human Disease

In this module you will learn about the structure and function of the eukaryotic genome, including that of humans, and the approaches that have led to their understanding. You will learn about techniques that are employed to manipulate genes and genomes and how they can be applied to the field of medical genetics. By using specific disease examples, you will learn about the different type of DNA mutation that can lead to disease and how they have been identified. Practical elements will teach you about basic techniques used in medical genetics such as sub-cloning of DNA fragments into expression vectors. Practical classes and problem based learning will be used to explore the methods used for genetic engineering and genome manipulation.

20 compulsory credits throughout the year.

 
Microbial Biotechnology

You'll cover the key groups of eukaryotic and prokaryotic microorganisms relevant to microbial biotechnology, principles of GM, and strain improvement in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. The impact of “omics”, systems biology, synthetic biology and effects of stress on industrial microorganisms are explored, alongside the activities of key microorganisms that we exploit for biotechnology.

10 compulsory credits in the Spring Semester.

 
  • Bacterial Genes and Development

Molecular events that occur during the control of gene expression in bacteria will be explored. You'll learn by considering case studies, which will show you how complex programmes of gene action can occur in response to environmental stimuli. You will also study the regulation of genes in pathogenic bacteria.

10 compulsory credits in the Spring Semester.

 

Plus a further 20 credits from the following for the Molecular Biology and Genetics substream:

Infection and Immunity

You will study microbiology, learning about pathogenic microbes including viruses, fungi, parasites and the roles of bacteria in health and disease. You will learn how the body generates immunity; the causes of diseases associated with faulty immune responses will be considered. In applied microbiology you will be introduced to recombinant DNA technology and prokaryotic gene regulation.

20 credits in the Autumn Semeseter.

 
Neurobiology of Disease

This module will teach you the underlying neurophysiology and pathology associated with several common CNS disorders and the neuropharmacology of currently available medication. You will learn about the neurotransmitters and pathways involved in normal brain function and how changes in these contribute to abnormal function. You will also decipher the pharmacological mechanisms of drugs used to treat these CNS disorders. You will cover numerous human diseases including those with great significance such as Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, schizophrenia and autism.

20 credits in the Spring Semester.

 
Evolutionary Biology of Animals

Introduces key evolutionary concepts and their application in the animal kingdom. Areas you will study include the history of evolutionary thinking, natural selection versus the neutral theory, sexual selection and human evolution.

10 credits in the Autumn Semester.

 
Developmental Biology

Examines the basic concepts of vertebrate embryonic development. You will discuss specific topics including germ cells, blood and muscle cell differentiation, left-right asymmetry and miRNAs. The teaching for this module is delivered through lectures. 

10 credits in the Spring Semester.

 

Or

Evolutionary Biology and Ecology specialism

40 credits from the following:

Ecology

You will learn about the forces determining the distribution and abundance of species and be able to use models to predict the dynamics of populations under a range of conditions. You will recognise how interactions between species can drive co-evolutionary processes leading to an understanding of the organisation of natural systems working systematically from populations through to communities, ecosystems and biogeographical scales.

20 compulsory credits in the Autumn Semester.

 
The Green Planet

This module explores the evolution of key plant systems through deep time, and the significance of this process for understanding modern ecology and food security. You will learn about the challenges that plants faced when moving onto land and evolutionary innovations within the early spermatophytes. You will also gain an understanding of the power of natural selection in producing plant diversity over deep time.

20 compulsory credits in the Spring Semester.

 

Plus a further 20 credits from the following options:

Animal Behaviour and Physiology

A comprehensive introduction to the study of animal behaviour, from the physiological and genetic bases of behaviour to its development through learning and its adaptive significance in the natural environment. Through practical classes, you will learn about the physiological basis of fundamental behaviours. Using examples from across the animal kingdom, you will learn how predictive modelling, experimental and observational approaches integrate to explain how and why animals behave as they do.

20 credits in the Spring Semester.

 
Building Brains

Studying this module, you'll be able to explain how the nervous system develops, is organised, and processes information. This will be achieved through presentation of comparative invertebrate and vertebrate studies, consideration of evolutionary concepts, and a detailed analysis of the development, structure, and function of the mammalian brain. The lecture sessions are complemented by workshops on Drosophila and chick embryo development, on the neuroanatomy of the human spinal cord, and dissection of pig brains subject to the availability of tissue.

20 credits in the Autumn Semester.

 
Infection and Immunity

You will study microbiology, learning about pathogenic microbes including viruses, fungi, parasites and the roles of bacteria in health and disease. You will learn how the body generates immunity; the causes of diseases associated with faulty immune responses will be considered. In applied microbiology you will be introduced to recombinant DNA technology and prokaryotic gene regulation.

20 credits in the Autumn Semeseter.

 
Evolutionary Biology of Animals

Introduces key evolutionary concepts and their application in the animal kingdom. Areas you will study include the history of evolutionary thinking, natural selection versus the neutral theory, sexual selection and human evolution.

10 credits in the Autumn Semester.

 
Reproductive Physiology

Reproductive Physiology of both male and female mammals including comparative information for farm animals and human. Reproductive physiological processes and their regulation from gametogenesis to fertilization and preparations for a successful pregnancy. Development of mammary glands and hormonal regulation of lactation will also be discussed. Principal features of avian reproduction and the avian maintenance of calcium homeostasis for efficient egg formation. Hormonal regulation of egg laying with emphasis on the nutritional and metabolic challenges associated with commercial rates of egg lay.  

Hands-on practical's have been changed to online dissection demonstrations that are performed by experts and are very nicely recorded. This helps students to understand the taught subject matter and provide additional understanding when observing live dissection. This can be viewed multiple times and helps students when preparing for assessment.

10 credits in the Autumn Semester.

 


Chemistry

50 compulsory credits from your chosen sub-stream plus 10 optional credits:

Organic and Inorganic Chemistry

Compulsory modules

Core Laboratory Work 'N'

This module builds on the practical, analytical and communication skills acquired in the first year and introduces more advanced experiments across Inorganic, Organic and Physical chemistry (note – students choose 2 of the 3 from Inorganic, Organic and Physical Chemistry). Increasing use is made of spectroscopic and other analytical techniques in the characterisation of compounds. More detailed laboratory reports will be required.

Students will:
• Be able to perform a range of standard & more advanced synthetic and analytical practical procedures safely and reliably using Good Chemistry Laboratory Practice (GCLP).
• Know how to prepare Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) and risk assessments.
• Be proficient in planning and organising time so that experiments are performed efficiently in the allocated time.
• Be competent in calculating amounts of reagents accurately.
• Be capable of accurately and precisely measuring reagents and preparing solutions.
• Be able to scientifically interpret results and observations and report your findings in a concise manner.

20 compulsory credits throughout the full year.

 
Intermediate Organic Synthesis and Spectroscopy 

Develop an understanding of modern spectroscopic techniques (NMR, IR, UV and mass spectrometry) for the characterisation of organic and biological molecules to the extent that students have an intuitive approach to problem solving and structural analysis.

Aspects of the stereochemistry of bio-organic molecules, including prochirality, molecular chirality and properties of non-racemic compounds, conformational analysis and aspects of stereocontrol in bio-organic reactions are developed.

10 credits in the Autumn semester.

 
Intermediate Synthetic Organic Chemistry

The module is divided into two parts:

1. Functional group chemistry: synthetic transformations of alcohols, amines, carbonyls, and alkenes, and how these transformations are used to synthesise complex molecules such as natural products or pharmaceutical agents.

2. Synthesis: Introduction to retrosynthetic analysis and synthesis of organic molecules using a selection of pharmaceutical agents as examples. Formative feedback is given on the material in this module at the associated workshops. Summative feedback is provided after the exam by the module convenor.

 

10 credits in the Spring semester.

 
Intermediate Inorganic Chemistry

In this module students will gain knowledge and understanding of the importance of Main Group compounds across all branches of chemistry and materials science.

Education aims:

To survey the classical and new chemistry of the main group elements. 

To use group theory as a tool in the analysis of vibrational spectra in inorganic chemistry.

To give a concise introduction to the organometallic chemistry of the transition metals.

To use multinuclear NMR spectroscopy as a tool for the characterisation of molecules.

 

10 compulsory credits throughout the full year.

 

Or

Inorganic and Physical Chemistry specialism

Compulsory modules

Energy, Spectroscopy and Solid State Chemistry

This module introduces and builds on theories that can predict and describe accurately the physical principles underlying chemical phenomena, with emphasis on energy, quantum mechanics, spectroscopy and the solid state.

The module includes a basic introduction to quantum mechanics in Chemistry and an introduction to a range of spectroscopies applied to diatomic molecules. It will be shown how these methods are used to find out and understand information about the structure and bonding in diatomic molecules. Methods for calculating thermodynamic properties of single-component and multi-component materials in different phases will be developed, and there will be an introduction to solid-state chemistry, including the structure, characterisation, energetics and simple band theory of solids.

20 compulsory credits throughout the full year.

 
Core Laboratory Work 'N'

This module builds on the practical, analytical and communication skills acquired in the first year and introduces more advanced experiments across Inorganic, Organic and Physical chemistry (note – students choose 2 of the 3 from Inorganic, Organic and Physical Chemistry). Increasing use is made of spectroscopic and other analytical techniques in the characterisation of compounds. More detailed laboratory reports will be required.

Students will:
• Be able to perform a range of standard & more advanced synthetic and analytical practical procedures safely and reliably using Good Chemistry Laboratory Practice (GCLP).
• Know how to prepare Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) and risk assessments.
• Be proficient in planning and organising time so that experiments are performed efficiently in the allocated time.
• Be competent in calculating amounts of reagents accurately.
• Be capable of accurately and precisely measuring reagents and preparing solutions.
• Be able to scientifically interpret results and observations and report your findings in a concise manner.

20 compulsory credits throughout the full year.

 
Intermediate Inorganic Chemistry

In this module students will gain knowledge and understanding of the importance of Main Group compounds across all branches of chemistry and materials science.

Education aims:

To survey the classical and new chemistry of the main group elements. 

To use group theory as a tool in the analysis of vibrational spectra in inorganic chemistry.

To give a concise introduction to the organometallic chemistry of the transition metals.

To use multinuclear NMR spectroscopy as a tool for the characterisation of molecules.

 

10 compulsory credits throughout the full year.

 

Optional Year 2 Chemistry modules

And select an additional 10 credits from the following options:

Sustainable Chemistry

This module covers material related to developing a more sustainable approach to chemistry. You will learn what constitutes sustainable chemistry, the significance of new technologies such as synthetic biology, and recognise the problems in achieving sustainability.

10 credits in the Autumn semester.

 
Principles of Analytical Chemistry

You’ll be introduced to the principles of analytical chemistry, including the principal types of instrumentation used and the statistical treatment of analytical results.

You’ll attend two lectures each week studying this module.

10 credits in the Autumn semester.

 
Atmospheric Chemistry

Description under review.

10 credits in the Spring Semester.

 
Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Biology

Description under review.

10 credits in the Spring Semester.

 


Year Three

You will continue with the same two subjects studied in the second year, taking 50 credits in each.

Compulsory year three module

Alongside subject-specific study, you will undertake a 20-credit compulsory synoptic module which aims to tie together the subjects you are studying through an interdisciplinary group project.

The Natural Sciences programme is by nature interdisciplinary but is mostly taught via specialized modules delivered by individual Schools with little exploration of the interfaces between the sciences. The synoptic module (C13602) gives students the opportunity to combine knowledge and skills acquired whilst on their pathway to carry out a (number of) interdisciplinary piece(s) of work.

20 credits throughout the full year.


Ecosystem & Environment

Year three students to take 40-60 credits from the following list.

Global Climate Change

Description under review.

20 credits throughout the year.

 
Tropical Environments in the Anthropocene
Description under review.
 
Computer Modelling in Science: Applications

Modern biological and environmental science includes the study of complex systems and large data sets, including imaging data. This necessitates the use of computer models and analyses in order to understand these systems.

This module contains an introduction to computer programming and modelling techniques that are used in the biological and environmental sciences. Specifically, it contains:

  1. Development, simulation and analysis for models in space and time, using the Python language, with applications in the biological and environmental sciences;
  2. Analysis of long term behaviour of models in two or more dimensions;
  3. Methods for fitting models to experimental and environmental data;
  4. Analysis of image data. The module will focus on relevant applications in environmental and biological science, e.g. chemical, radioactive and biological pollution, crop development and pathogens and microbiology. The module will use the Python programming language throughout and be assessed by a patchwork assessment consisting of write-ups of assignments from during the semester.

20 credits in the Autumn semester.

 
Arctic Ecology Field Course

The course will focus on the function of arctic ecosystems. We will identify key terrestrial ecosystem drivers and processes in order to gain a broad understanding of arctic areas. During the field course, students will put ecological methodology into practice in projects that analyse landscape patterns and processes in different habitats. The course will also address climate change impacts on arctic ecosystems. The work will familiarise students with ecological methodology, experimental design, data collection and analysis, interpretation and presentation. Students are required to pay a contribution towards the cost of the field course.

10 credits in the Autumn semester.

 
Palaeobiology

Palaeobiology explores the relationship between life and the Earth's physical and chemical environment over geological/ evolutionary time. The module will focus on the geological consequences of evolution and how life has influenced physical and chemical environment. Topics covered will include: Origins and evolution of life; Evolution of the atmosphere and biosphere; the geobiology of critical intervals in both palaeobiology and evolutionary ecology. Students will gain an in depth knowledge of the mechanisms that control changes in the physiochemical environmental and their impact upon evolution. In order to gain a broad understanding the module will explore past changes as seem in the fossil record, together with present day processes that underpin these responses. The lectures and course work will give students knowledge of the tools that are used to reconstruct past environmental conditions and the effect of future changes in the abiotic stimuli that drive environmental change.

10 credits in the Autumn semester.

 
Unearthing the Past
Description under review.
 
Environmental Modelling

This module provides training in environmental biotechnology, with particular emphasis on the interaction between microorganisms and the environment. The main topics covered will be wastewater treatment, bioremediation of organic and inorganic pollutants, microbes as indicators of risk factors in the environment, microbes in agriculture (biocontrol and biofertilisers) and the role of microorganisms in bioenergy production. Each topic will be introduced by a formal lecture followed by workshops during which students will study the topics in greater detail through problem-based learning techniques facilitated by the Convenor and by independent research. Knowledge and understanding of the lecture material will be assessed by Rogo examination and students will present the problem based exercises and case studies within an individual portfolio during the final week of the module.

10 credits in the Spring semester.

 
Environmental Biotechnology

This module provides training in environmental biotechnology, with particular emphasis on the interaction between microorganisms and the environment. The main topics covered will be wastewater treatment, bioremediation of organic and inorganic pollutants, microbes as indicators of risk factors in the environment, microbes in agriculture (biocontrol and biofertilisers) and the role of microorganisms in bioenergy production. Each topic will be introduced by a formal lecture followed by workshops during which students will study the topics in greater detail through problem-based learning techniques facilitated by the Convenor and by independent research. Knowledge and understanding of the lecture material will be assessed by Rogo examination and students will present the problem based exercises and case studies within an individual portfolio during the final week of the module.

10 credits in the Spring semester.

 
Tropical Ecology and Conservation
Description under review.
 


Biology

Students must take 40-50 credits in total from one of the specialisms.

Molecular Biology and Genetics specialism

30 compulsory credits:

Human Variation

Examines genetic variation in humans, including variation at the DNA level, and the study of human population history using genetic methods. Around three hours per week will be spent within lectures studying this module.

10 compulosry credits in the Autumn Semester.

 
Gene Regulation

Examines the mechanisms through which eukaryotic genes are expressed and regulated, with emphasis placed on recent research on transcriptional control in yeast and post-transcriptional control in eukaryotes. Studying this module will include having three hours of lectures per week.

10 compulsory credits in the Autumn Semester.

 
Molecular Biological Lab Skills

Examines the mechanisms through which eukaryotic genes are expressed and regulated, with emphasis placed on recent research on transcriptional control in yeast and post-transcriptional control in eukaryotes. Studying this module will include having three hours of lectures per week.

10 compulsory credits in the Spring Semester.

 

 

And 10-20 credits from the following:

Pathogens

This course, taught by 5 lecturers will give students an in depth understanding of the genetics, evolution and biochemistry behind the pathogenic properties of parasites and micro-organisms that cause major human disease in the present day. We will concentrate mainly on microbial aspects with one week on the genetics of human susceptibility. Students will learn about the specialised features of parasites and micro-organisms that make them pathogenic, how the genes encoding these features are regulated, and how biological, genetic and chemical tools can be used to develop preventative and curative treatments (two weeks). Model organisms to be studied include the agents of malaria (two weeks), leishmania (one week), candidiasis (one week), aspergillosis (one week), Salmonella, Escherichia and Shigella dysenteries (one week), and tuberculosis (one week). Students will also take part in a group-learning activity to produce a poster on an emerging or persistent pathogen explaining the molecular biology of its virulence. They will learn to use a questioning approach to gain an understanding of microbiological processes in the literature and how to present a scientific poster at a conference by presenting their group's work for peer and staff judging at a poster conference for 35% of the module mark.

10 credits in the Autumn Semester.

 
Advanced Developmental Biology

You will consider the molecular mechanisms underlying stem cell function during embryogenesis and adulthood. This will involve studies of regeneration and repair of tissues and pluripotency. You will have one two-hour lecture per week in this module.

10 credits in the Autumn Semester.

 
Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience

Considers ion channels at the molecular level, with topics including the structure and function of different ion channel groups and their modulation by drugs, pesticides and natural toxins. You will also consider the synthesis and transport of neurotransmitters and the formation and release of synaptic vesicles. This module involves one three hour session per week incorporating eight lectures and two practical sessions.

10 credits in the Autumn Semester.

 
Ageing, Sex and DNA Repair

Examine the molecular causes of the ageing and malignant transformations of somatic cells that are observed during a single lifespan, and gain an understanding of the necessity to maintain the genome intact from one generation to the next. Around three hours per week will be spent within lectures studying this module.

10 credits in the Spring Semester.

 
Cancer Biology

Examine a selection of acquired and inherited cancers, and develop an understanding of the role of the genes involved and how they can be analysed. To study for this module you will have a two- or three-hour lecture once per week.

10 credits in the Spring Semester.

 

Or 50 credits from this specialism:

Evolutionary Biology and Ecology specialism

30 compulsory credits:

Evolutionary Ecology
The module will consider current knowledge of, and research into, the ecological causes and evolutionary processes that govern natural selection, adaptation and microevolution in natural populations. Three approaches to the study of evolutionary ecology will be used: theoretical and optimality models; the comparative method and direct measurement of natural selection in the wild.


Approximately one week will be spent on each of the following topics:

  • Natural selection and the causes of evolution
  • The genetic basis of variation and its maintenance
  • Evolutionary stable strategies
  • Evolution of life histories
  • Competition and evolution
  • Coevolution of predators and prey
  • Coevolution of hosts and parasites
  • Coevolution of mutualists
  • Ecology and the origin of species
  • Genomics in evolutionary ecology

10 compulsory credits in the Autumn Semester.

 
Conservation
The module looks in detail at the ideas and concepts underpinning conservation, particularly the effects of scale. The major role of habitat loss and fragmentation is explored, and the inadequacies of local conservation measures. Conservation practitioners are brought in to speak about their jobs and how to work in conservation. Quantitative approaches are emphasized, and the skills needed to contribute are developed in a set of practical exercises.

20 compulsory credits in the Spring Semester.

 

 

And 20 credits from the following:

Molecular and Cellular Neurosciences

Considers ion channels at the molecular level, with topics including the structure and function of different ion channel groups and their modulation by drugs, pesticides and natural toxins. You will also consider the synthesis and transport of neurotransmitters and the formation and release of synaptic vesicles. This module involves one three hour session per week incorporating eight lectures and two practical sessions.

10 credits in the Autumn Semester.

 
Molecular Evolution

The module examines how we can use DNA and protein sequences to investigate evolutionary relationships among organisms.

The subject matter includes the alignment of DNA and protein sequences, the way in which DNA and protein sequences evolve and how these processes can be modeled, the construction of evolutionary trees (phylogenies) to determine relationships among organisms, and the use of molecular clocks to place evolutionary events within a timeframe.

The course provides numerous examples of the uses of molecular sequence data in evolutionary studies, highlighting the way in which sequence data are revolutionising our understanding of the living world and shows how understanding molecular evolution to produce accurate trees is crucial to understanding evolutionary mechanisms.

In depth examples include the uses of molecular data to resolve the deep-level relationships in the ‘tree of life’ (relationships among the three domains of life), the origins of mitochondria and chloroplasts, and the application of molecular data to study relationships in the Mammalia and in particular the Cetacea.

The use of molecular data in understanding phylogeography is also discussed, with particular emphasis on the recolonisation of Europe following the retreat of the ice at the end of the last glacial period. We also discuss the uses of genomic data to examine evolution.

10 credits in the Autumn Semester.

 
Science and Society

Scientific discoveries are not isolated from the society within which they exist. This module will explore the interactions between science and society through a series of lectures, discussion groups and workshops.

Topics that will be explored include the ethical parameters that govern how scientific work is constrained, ways in which scientific discoveries can/should be disseminated to the wider community, the wider responsibilities that follow the acquisition of new knowledge and the concept of 'citizen science', where science takes place outside the traditional academic centres of work.

10 credits in the Spring Semester.

 
Molecular Biological Lab Skills

Examines the mechanisms through which eukaryotic genes are expressed and regulated, with emphasis placed on recent research on transcriptional control in yeast and post-transcriptional control in eukaryotes. Studying this module will include having three hours of lectures per week.

10 compulsory credits in the Spring Semester.

 

Chemistry

Students taking Chemistry must take a total of 40-50 credits from their chosen specialism. 40 compulsory credits and 10 optional credits.

Organic and Inorganic Chemistry

40 compulsory credits:

Advanced Laboratory Techniques

To teach advanced experimental techniques in chemistry. To provide experience in the recording, analysis and reporting of physical data. To put into practice methods of accessing, assessing and critically appraising chemical literature. Following initial workshops there will be a focused literature review culminating in a mini research project. Experience in:

  • Experimental design and methodology
  • Using advanced experimental techniques in chemistry
  • The recording, analysis and reporting of physical data
  • The reporting of experimental results in journal style
  • Team working

10 compulsory credits throughout the full year.

 
Organometallic and Asymmetric Synthesis

On this module, students will develop an understanding of the mechanisms, regiocontrol and stereochemical outcome of organic reactions. You will also learn how to to predict the regiochemical and stereochemical outcome of organic reactions; and to use organometallics to create organic structures.

This module will also introduce students to a range of reagents and synthetic methodology, and to describe how it is applied to the synthesis of organic target molecules. 

10 credits in the Autumn semester.

 
Pericyclic Chemistry and Reactive Intermediates

On this module, students will learn:

  • To consolidate and develop concepts of organic reactivity and mechanism, primarily using qualitative frontier molecular orbital theory

  • To illustrate and rationalise molecular rearrangements in organic chemistry

  • To give an appreciation of the generation and use of reactive intermediates in organic chemistry

10 credits in the spring semester.

 
Bioinorganic and Metal Coordination Chemistry

Transition metal chemistry. The chelate effect. The physical methods used to study the electronic structure of transition metal centres. The roles of metalloproteins in dioxygen transport, electron transfer, photosynthesis and dinitrogen fixation. The use of polychelates in the synthesis of small molecule analogues of the active sites of metalloproteins. Supramolecular chemistry involving metal centres, the synthesis and characterisation of supramolecular arrays. Metal organic frameworks and gas storage. Molecular machines containing metal centres.

10 optional credits in the Autum semester.

 

Optional Organic and Inorganic Chemistry modules

And select an additional 10 optional credits:

Protein Folding & Biospectroscopy

This module will develop an understanding of protein structure, stability, design and methods of structural analysis. In addition you will understand the protein folding problem and experimental approaches to the analysis of protein folding kinetics and the application of site-directed mutagenesis.

You will also be expected to develop a number of spectroscopic experimental techniques to probe protein structures.

There will be two hours of lectures a week.

10 credits in the Autumn semester.

 
Chemical Biology and Enzymes

On this module, students should gain a good appreciation of the applications for a range of enzymological, chemical and molecular biological techniques to probe cellular processes and catalysis at the forefront in Chemical Biology research.

This module represents a culmination of principles and techniques from a biophysical, molecular, biochemical and genetic perspective.

10 optional credits in the Autumn semester.

 
Catalysis

This module increases the student's knowledge and understanding of 
(a) heterogeneous and homogeneous catalysis 
(b) catalyst promotion and the concept of catalytic cycles.

The physical basis of the structure-property relationships of heterogeneous catalysts is explained and the link between various organo-transition metal complexes and homogenous catalysis is explored. Comparisons between homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis are highlighted. A review of the 18- and 16- electron rules and fundamental metal-centred bond-forming and bond-breaking reactions is undertaken and applied to several catalytic cycles. The influence of catalyst design in homogeneous catalysts, with respect to choice of metal ion and ligands, is discussed relating to product selectivity, in particular chirality. A qualitative appreciation of scale up for industrial application.

10 optional credits in the Spring semester.

 
Communicating Chemistry

This module consists of some preparatory work early in Semester 1, followed by a single session of 5 weeks duration in which time is spent in schools in Semester 2, followed by an assessment period in Semester 2.

1. Students will spend 6-8 hours per week in the classroom over a period of around five weeks working with one teacher but probably a range of different classes.

2. Before entering the classroom, the student will receive training and in-depth materials to focus learning and to prepare for working in a school.

3. The students will be required keep a journal of what is done, write a reflective review of the placement, provide a

This is a classroom-based module for learning key skills including communication, presentation, team-working, active listening, time management and prioritisation. Increased transferable skills which will enhance employability and confidence. Provision of classroom experience if considering teaching as a potential career.

10 compulsory credits throughout the full year.

 
Contemporary Drug Discovery

Description under review.

10 credits throughout the full year.

 
Topics in Inorganic and Sustainable Chemistry

Description under review.

10 credits in the Spring Semester.

 

 

Or choose this Chemistry specialism:

Inorganic and Physical Chemistry specialism

40 compulsory credits:

Advanced Laboratory Techniques

To teach advanced experimental techniques in chemistry. To provide experience in the recording, analysis and reporting of physical data. To put into practice methods of accessing, assessing and critically appraising chemical literature. Following initial workshops there will be a focused literature review culminating in a mini research project. Experience in:

  • Experimental design and methodology
  • Using advanced experimental techniques in chemistry
  • The recording, analysis and reporting of physical data
  • The reporting of experimental results in journal style
  • Team working

10 compulsory credits throughout the full year.

 
Chemical Bonding and Reactivity

This module aims to:

  • provide a fundamental understanding of molecular structure and of the requirements for reactivity
  • introduce modern electronic structure theory and demonstrate how it can be applied to determine properties such as molecular structure, spectroscopy and reactivity.

At the end of the module, a student should be able to:
1. Understand the information contained in a simple potential energy contour plot
2. Appreciate the origin of the normal mode separation and the reasons for its breakdown
3. Appreciate the origin of the Born-Oppenheimer approximation and the reasons for its breakdown
4. Appreciate the role of symmetry in spectroscopic selection rules
5. Perform simple calculations of partition functions
6. Appreciate the concepts underlying RRK and Transition State theories and how they overcome limitations in simple collision theory
7. Describe and understand different electronic structure methods including Hartree-Fock theory and density functional theory
8. Understand the electron correlation problem
9. Appreciate the strengths and weaknesses of different electronic structure methods
10. Understand how theoretical methods can be used to model chemical reactions and spectroscopy.

10 optional credits in the Autumn semester.

 
Solids, Interfaces and Surfaces

Solids

Relationship between structure and properties of solids. Structure of Solids: Common structural types, reciprocal lattice, Brillouin zones. Electronic Structure: Sommerfield model, Fermi energy, Femi-Dirac distribution, Electronic conductivity, Band Structure, Nearly free electron model, Tight binding model. Metals, Semi-metals, Semi-conductors, Insulators. Characterization: X-ray spectroscopies, photoelectric effect. Semi-conductors: intrinsic, extrinsic, optical properties, photoconductivity, junctions, devices, LEDs, solar cells.

Interfaces and Surfaces

General introduction. Getting UHV, surface techniques, electron spectrometer, Auger electron spectroscopy. Surface Structure. Miller indices, 2D Bravais nets, relaxation and reconstruction, Wood and matrix notation. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, Einstein's equation, chemical shift, Koopmans theorem. Fermi level, work function, contact potential difference, scanning tunnelling microscope. Ultra-violet photoelectron spectroscopy. Adsorption kinetics, accommodation, sticking, Langmuir and precursor state kinetics. Desorption, temperature programmed desorption, reaction mechanisms, Eley-Rideal, Langmuir-Hinshelwood.

10 credits in the spring semester.

 
Bioinorganic and Metal Coordination Chemistry

Transition metal chemistry. The chelate effect. The physical methods used to study the electronic structure of transition metal centres. The roles of metalloproteins in dioxygen transport, electron transfer, photosynthesis and dinitrogen fixation. The use of polychelates in the synthesis of small molecule analogues of the active sites of metalloproteins. Supramolecular chemistry involving metal centres, the synthesis and characterisation of supramolecular arrays. Metal organic frameworks and gas storage. Molecular machines containing metal centres.

10 optional credits in the Autum semester.

 

Optional Inorganic and Physical Chemistry modules

And select an additional 10 optional credits:

Catalysis

This module increases the student's knowledge and understanding of 
(a) heterogeneous and homogeneous catalysis 
(b) catalyst promotion and the concept of catalytic cycles.

The physical basis of the structure-property relationships of heterogeneous catalysts is explained and the link between various organo-transition metal complexes and homogenous catalysis is explored. Comparisons between homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis are highlighted. A review of the 18- and 16- electron rules and fundamental metal-centred bond-forming and bond-breaking reactions is undertaken and applied to several catalytic cycles. The influence of catalyst design in homogeneous catalysts, with respect to choice of metal ion and ligands, is discussed relating to product selectivity, in particular chirality. A qualitative appreciation of scale up for industrial application.

10 optional credits in the Spring semester.

 
Structure Determination Methods

Various structure determination methods will be presented, covering a selection of spectroscopic and scattering methods. Advanced light and neutron sources will be introduced, moving on to their use in determining the structures of both isolated molecules and of solids (both crystalline and amorphous) and liquids.

10 credits in the Spring semester.

 
Topics in Inorganic Chemistry

This module covers Inorganic Mechanisms and the overarching fundamental principles of Greener and Sustainable Chemistry as applied to processes.

Topics covered for Inorganic Reaction Mechanisms include classification of the types of substitution reactions found in coordination and organometallic chemistry; explanation of how spectroscopic methods can be used to detect organometallic reaction intermediates.

Topics in-scope for discussion on the theme of Greener and Sustainable Chemistry include:

  • the principles of green chemistry
  • scale-up in the chemicals industry with case studies
  • cleaner polymerisation
  • clean extraction
  • oxidation processes including supercritical water

10 credits in the spring semester.

 
Communicating Chemistry

This module consists of some preparatory work early in Semester 1, followed by a single session of 5 weeks duration in which time is spent in schools in Semester 2, followed by an assessment period in Semester 2.

1. Students will spend 6-8 hours per week in the classroom over a period of around five weeks working with one teacher but probably a range of different classes.

2. Before entering the classroom, the student will receive training and in-depth materials to focus learning and to prepare for working in a school.

3. The students will be required keep a journal of what is done, write a reflective review of the placement, provide a

This is a classroom-based module for learning key skills including communication, presentation, team-working, active listening, time management and prioritisation. Increased transferable skills which will enhance employability and confidence. Provision of classroom experience if considering teaching as a potential career.

10 compulsory credits throughout the full year.

 

Year Four (MSci students only)

You will choose one of your third-year subjects to focus on in the fourth year, spending half your time working on an independent research project aiming to develop the skills needed to pursue a career in research.

All students take 120 credits of modules in the fourth year and each subject has a minimum number of credits listed. Students can take 120 credits from a single subject (where available) or they can use modules from their second subject to make up the difference between the minimum and the required number of credits.

Ecosystem & Environment

You must take a minimum of 110 and maximum of 120 credits from ecosystem and environment throughout the year.

Compulsory modules

MSci Research Project

The aim of the module is to provide training for the description, planning and conduct of a programme of research in order to solve or report on a specific scientific problem. The MSci project is taken in both the autumn and spring semesters and comprises 60 credits. In the autumn the student will work with the supervisor to devise a project by identifying an appropriate topic before focusing on a specific scientific problem. This will involve regular planning meetings and individual research by the student. In the spring semester the students will undertake the main body of work for the project which may be experimental, computer, literature or theoretically based (or various combinations of these). The student will continue to have, as a minimum, monthly supervisor meetings and document all progress in their project notebooks. The module is assessed by a project write up in the style of a scientific paper, the project notebook and a poster presentation with an oral component to the staff and the student cohort.

60 compulsory credits over the full year.

 
Project Management

Project management skills are a highly transferable skill directly relevant to work. The module covers the fundamentals of project management:

  • project lifecycles
  • leadership in project management
  • managing risk in projects
  • analysis of project successes and failures
  • project management software

You will produce a documented project management outline tailored to your research project. You'll identify the key constraints, bottlenecks and milestones. You'll produce a project management visualisation diagram such as Gantt or PERT chart. You'll present an interim verbal report to your supervisors and the module convenor to rehearse such reporting skills.

10 compulsory credits over the full year.

 
Statistics and Experimental Design for Bioscientists

Principles of experimentation in crop science, basic statistical principles, experimental design, hypothesis testing, sources of error, analysis of variance, regression techniques, presentation of data, use of Genstat for data analysis. There are two routes through the module; one focusing on crop improvement and one focusing on more general issues.

10 compulsory credits throughout the year.

 
Writing and Reviewing Research Proposals

The overall aim is to consider, and practice, writing and assessing research proposals. In the real world, one may have to communicate the importance of a research/scientific idea to experts within your discipline or to non-specialist professionals. The module aims to develop your skills in analysis and writing of research proposals. Specific areas covered include: communicating with awarding bodies (how to develop a research idea and write a grant application) and peer review of research proposals.

20 compulsory credits over the full year.

 
Communication and Public Engagement for Scientists

This module considers:

  • The importance of engaging publics with cutting edge research
  • Methods of engagement that are suitable for varying audiences
  • How to write for varied audiences
  • How to engage with policymakers and industry
  • Public speaking skills
  • The planning, development and delivery of an engagement event for the public/policymakers

10 compulsory credits in the Spring semester.

 

Plus an optional module if you wish to take it:

Climate Mitigation

The module will address the need for climate change mitigation and will investigate the frameworks for achieving mitigation on a range of levels, e.g. global, national, organisational. During the module students will examine a range of topics including: carbon capture and storage, nature based solutions, renewable energy, national greenhouse gas accounting, organisational emission quantification and reductions, carbon foot printing, and off setting.

10 optional credits in the Spring semester.

 


Biology

You must take a minimum of 120 credits from biology throughout the year.

100 compulsory credits:

Life Sciences Fourth Year Project
The project is a year-long module. Preparatory work (familiarisation with laboratory/field safety protocols etc.) will occur in autumn, with the bulk of practical work in spring. The topic of the project will be chosen from a list of suggestions relevant to the degree subject, and will be finalised after consultation with a member of staff, who will act as a supervisor.

The project involves an extensive piece of detailed research on the topic chosen after discussion with the supervisor. The practical component will involve collection of data from a laboratory or field investigation and appropriate analysis. The findings will be interpreted in the context of previous work, and written-up in a clear and concise final report in the form of a research paper manuscript or end-of-grant report. The main findings will also be delivered in an assessed oral presentation and discussed with two assessors in a viva voce.

60 compulsory credits throughout the full year.

 
Research Planning and Preparation
This is a year-long module, but with most of the work being complete by the end of January. The module focuses on the preparing students to engage in substantial independent research in Life Sciences, and is supported by lecture content in Research Presentation Skills. Students choose a research topic from a list provided the previous academic year, and are allocated an individual research supervisor accordingly. In regular meetings, student and supervisor discuss relevant research literature and design a practical research project addressing a specific hypothesis. Assessment is via a substantial research proposal.

20 compulsory credits throughout the full year.

 
Research Presentation Skills
The module aims to provide students with a range of presentation and IT skills that are essential for modern biological researchers. The workshop content will provide a conceptual framework, while journal clubs and coursework will deliver the hands-on experience required to develop appropriate practical skills.

20 compulsory credits throughout the full year.

 

 

Plus a further 20 credits from the following options:

  • Cutting-edge Research Technologies and Ideas in Molecular Biology
This module focusses on laboratory methods and ideas which are currently emerging in molecular biology. Students will be exposed to the mechanisms and methods that generate the data they go on to analyse. Assessment will include presentations and ongoing assessment.

10 credits in the Autumn Semester.

 
  • Advanced Experimental Design and Analysis
This is an advanced level biological statistics module which builds on basic undergraduate training. Lectures discuss concepts in experimental design, biological probability, generalised linear modelling and multivariate statistics. Practical sessions build on this conceptual outline, giving you hands-on experience of problem solving and analytical software, and some basic programming skills. You will spend three to four hours within lectures and workshops when studying this module.

10 credits in the Autumn Semester.

 
  • Process and Practice in Science
A consideration of science ‘as a process’, with brief introductions to the history, philosophy and sociological norms of science. You will cover aspects of the scientific literature and scientific communication, peer review, 'metrics’, including citation analysis, journal impact factors, and the 'h' and other indices of measuring scientists' performances. You will also cover ethics in science and the changing relationship between scientists, government and the public. You will have a three hour lecture once per week during this module.

10 credits in the Autumn Semester.

 

 

Chemistry

Students taking Chemistry must take a minimum of 80 and a maximum of 120 credits from this subject.

60 compulsory credits:

Chemistry Research Project

You will be welcomed into one of the research groups within the School of Chemistry to undertake an in-depth research project.

All projects will involve a review of relevant published work and the planning and execution of a research topic under the guidance of two supervisors. Students will present their findings orally and in a written report.

60 compulsory credits throughout the full year.

 

 

And a minimum of 20 credits to a maximum of 60 credits from the following optional modules:

Enterprise for Chemists

Students will learn about the factors that lead to successful commercial innovation and how to take a technical idea and convert it into a successful commercial venture. They are shown routes to market for innovative ideas available from an academic/industrial viewpoint Assessment in SEM 1 will be via group exercise and presentation; teams have 3 weeks to develop the business case for a new innovation as a Dragon’s Den Style Pitch which is given in late November.

Students will also learn about different types of business and how they contribute to the global economy. Some of the basic business skills will be covered (selling, marketing, customer awareness and finance) as well as the aspects which drive innovation and success.

We also give students an understanding of intellectual property, how it is used to create value in the business context. Aspects of IP law are highlighted with reference to different types of IPR including patents, trademarks, copyright, design rights and trade secrets including their everyday application within chemistry using industries.

This course demonstrates utilisation of this IP to give a company a competitive advantage within their market place.

At the end of the course students participate in a one day business exercise led by professionals from a chemicals company that tests all of the above skills in an interesting and realistic approach to commercial problem solving.

10 optional credits throughout the full year.

 
Advanced Physical Chemistry 1

Building on your knowledge from the previous years' modules in inorganic chemistry, you’ll study topics including:

  • electron transfer pathways
  • inorganic chemistry in biological systems
  • the principles of molecular and supramolecular photochemistry
  • applications of inorganic photochemistry
  • photocatalysis

You’ll attend two lectures each week in this module. 

10 optional credits in the Autumn semester.

 
Contemporary Organic Synthesis and the Construction of Bioactive targets

Explore the synthesis of a variety of natural (and unnatural) compounds of relevance to biology and medicine, with reference to the goals and achievements of contemporary organic synthesis through a range of case studies. There is an emphasis on the use of modern synthetic methodology to address problems such as chemoselectivity, regiocontrol, stereoselectivity, atom economy and sustainability.

You will also study the application of new methodology for the rapid, efficient and highly selective construction of a range of target compounds - particularly those that display significant biological activity. There will also be an opportunity to address how a greater understanding of mechanism is important in modern organic chemistry. This module is assessed by a two hour exam.

10 optional credits in the Autumn semster.

 
Inorganic and Materials Chemistry A

In this module you will explore inorganic photochemistry, electron transport pathways, molecular and supramolecular photochemistry, and artificial photosynthesis together with the principles that underpin green chemistry.

You will attend two lectures per week in this module.

10 optional credits in the Autumn semester.

 
Inorganic and Materials Chemistry B

This module focuses on Inorganic Photochemistry, Molecular Machines and the applications of photochemistry tochemical manufacture. 

10 optional credits in the Autumn semester.

 
Advanced Biocatalysis, Biosynthesis and Chemical Biology

Advanced Chemical Biology:

To introduce concepts of chemical genetics and including activity-based protein profiling, non-natural amino acid incorporation, bio-orthogonal reactivity and the use of bump-and-hole strategies, applied to various challenges such as finding kinase/target pairs.

Biocatalysis

To introduce enzyme engineering and the synthetic utility of designer biocatalysts, especially highlighting chemo-enzymatic approaches toward chiral commodity molecules (e.g. pharmaceuticals) and their precursors.

Biosynthesis

To introduce the biosynthetic pathways and enzyme catalysed reactions leading natural products polyketides, terpenes, fatty acids and non-ribosomal peptides.

10 optional credits in the Spring semster.

 
Advanced Physical Chemistry 2

Building on your knowledge from the previous years' modules in inorganic chemistry, you’ll study topics including:

  • electron transfer pathways
  • inorganic chemistry in biological systems
  • the principles of molecular and supramolecular photochemistry
  • applications of inorganic photochemistry
  • photocatalysis

You’ll attend two lectures each week in this module. 

10 optional credits in the Spring semester.

 
Medicines from Nature/Pharmaceutical Process Chemistry

This module consists of two separately taught topics in advanced organic chemistry: Medicines from Nature (Dr Francesca Paridisi ) and Pharmaceutical Process Chemistry (Dr Andrew Nortcliffe).

Medicines from Nature

To provide an appreciation of the importance of natural products from plants, micro-organisms and marine life in providing leads for today’s drugs and medicines in the fight against cancer, blood pressure, pain, inflammation, bacterial infection, AIDS, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other diseases. How the discovery of biological activity in a natural product can be turned into a useful medicine. The topic will include descriptions of the biosynthesis and total synthesis of natural products.

Pharmaceutical Process Chemistry

This topic explores the role of the chemist in developing a viable commercial synthesis of medicines starting from a small scale. After a description of the place process chemistry takes within drug discovery as a whole, the topic will cover the following: Selection of chemical routes to medicines and assessment of their worth; Safety; Reagent selection; synthesis of chirally pure compounds; How reactions and reaction workups may be optimised.

10 optional credits in the Spring semester.

 
Molecular Interactions and Supramolecular Assembly

In this module you will learn about the importance of intermolecular forces, across a wide cross-section of subject areas from biology through to supramolecular chemical systems.

You will study molecular organisation, assembly and recognition in biological and supramolecular systems.

In addition to appreciating the rich chemistry underlying self-assembling systems, you'll learn about the phenomena that impact on the properties of materials and important interactions in biology. 

10 optional credits in the Spring semester.

 
Nucleic Acids and Bioorganic Mechanism

During this module you will learn to understand in depth the structure, chemistry and molecular recognition of nucleic acids and their reactivity towards mutagens, carcinogens and ionising radiation and anti-tumour drugs. You will appreciate the plasticity and dynamics of the DNA duple helix through base motions that underpin its function.

The bacterial replisome will be used as the prime example to highlight the problems associated with DNA replication and the significance of telomeres will be discussed. Alongside this you will develop an understanding of the chemical reactivity of coenzymes and how these add significantly to the functionality of the 20 amino acids found in proteins. 

10 optional credits in the Spring semester.

 

Disclaimer
This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

Natural Sciences

School of Mathematical Sciences, University of Nottingham
University Park
NG7 2RD

Tel: +44 (0) 115 823 2376
Fax: +44 (0) 115 951 3555
Email: naturalsciences@nottingham.ac.uk