The following is a sample of the typical modules that we offer as at the date of publication but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change due to developments in the curriculum and the module information in this prospectus is provided for indicative purposes only.
Typical year one modules
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.
Core Skills in Biochemistry and Biological Chemistry
With lectures, workshops and tutorials and some laboratory sessions this module will enable you to develop the core skills needed by biochemists in scientific writing, data handling and analysis, experimental design and scientific presentations. This module is designed to develop your problem solving scientific skills. An important aspect of this module is the integral tutorial system which will allow you to get to know the member of staff who will be your tutor for the duration of your studies.
Fundamental Chemistry Theory and Practical
This module combines lectures and laboratory classes in inorganic, organic and physical chemistry to provide you with the foundations you need in chemistry for subsequent years of this course. Included are atomic theory, electronic configuration, chemical bonding, reaction kinetics and thermodynamics, structure and reactivity of organic molecules, organic reaction mechanisms, quantum theory. The module also includes the essential quantitative and qualitative methods which are required in organic, inorganic and physical chemistry.
In addition to the above students without A level Maths will take:
Mathematical Toolkits and Calculations in Chemistry
This module aims to provide a firm understanding of the use of equations in chemistry, illustrated by chemical examples. You will be encouraged to think about whether an answer is reasonable or not within a chemical context and develop your knowledge on topics such as the common chemical units and conversions between them, scientific notation, as well as significant figures and functions and graphical representation, exponentials, logarithms and differentiation applied to chemistry among other topics. There will be two hours of lectures and workshops a week.
Students with A level Maths can choose from:
Calculations in Chemistry
This module is for those who already with A level maths will teach you the essential mathematic skills required for chemists. You will learn how to use your maths skills to solve a variety of problems in chemistry. There will be two hours of lectures per week with a one hour workshop.
Molecules for Life
The module will provide the foundation to understanding nature building blocks. An overview of the structure and functions of lipids, amino acids, carbohydrates and nucleotides will be included. Simple reactivity of these molecules, with a strong emphasis on their biological roles will be discussed. Case studies will be adopted to put in perspective the chemistry and biological relevance of the molecules of life. The module will also reinforce fundamentals of organic chemistry such as stereochemistry, functional group reactivity, covalent and non-covalent bonding. Two workshops are included where the students will be presented with problem sets.
In this module, you will be introduced to the physiology of the major systems eg cardiovascular, nervous, and musculoskeletal, mostly in man, including some aspects of drug action. This module will allow you to understand your biochemical and genetics knowledge in the context of the intact organism. This module includes lectures and laboratory classes.
Typical year two modules
Intermediate Organic and Inorganic Chemistry
This module develops your chemical knowledge and understanding from year one with organometallics: structure, bonding and principal reaction types, stereochemistry: definitions, examples and applications, organic spectroscopy: determination of structure through NMR, IR and MS, functional group interconversion: of alcohols, amines, carbonyls, and alkenes, synthesis and retrosynthesis: introduction to retrosynthetic analysis and synthesis.
Core Chemistry Laboratory Work
This module will build on skills developed in year one so that students become increasingly familiar with a range of chemical techniques and apparatus appropriate to the study chemistry and learn how to carry out an assessment of hazards and prepare risk assessments for experiments themselves. They will develop an awareness and appreciation for the safe handling of chemicals, observational skills and an appreciation for the importance of recording experimental data accurately.
Structure, Function and Analysis of Proteins
This module considers the structure and function of soluble proteins and how individual proteins can be studied in molecular detail. More specifically you will learn about the problems associated with studying membrane-bound proteins and build an in-depth understanding of enzyme kinetics and catalysis. You will learn about the practical aspects of affinity purification, SDS PAGE, western blotting, enzyme assays, bioinformatics and molecular modelling approaches.
Signals and Metabolic Regulation
This module considers the mechanisms and purpose of cell to cell signalling and metabolic regulation and includes the regulation of carbohydrate and lipid metabolism and an outline of the various major signalling systems in mammals including signal transduction in G-protein coupled signalling systems, growth factors, cytokines and their receptors, cell-cell signalling and the extracellular matrix (ECM) and the role of the ubiquitin-proteasome system. The regulation and integration of various metabolic pathways will be covered in health and disease illustrated with specific examples and related to the signalling pathways covered in this module to provide an understanding of how biochemical processes are integrated and regulated. The module also includes laboratory classes where you will use techniques to study signal transduction and metabolism.
Structure, Function and Analysis of Genes
This module will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the structures of DNA and RNA and how the information within these nucleic acids is maintained and expressed in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cell types. Additionally, this module describes how nucleic acids can be manipulated in vitro using molecular biological approaches. Practical classes will focus your learning on the cloning and manipulation of DNA to express recombinant proteins in bacterial systems.
Typical year three modules
Pericyclics and Reactive Intermediates
This module consolidates and develops concepts of organic reactivity and mechanism, primarily using qualitative frontier molecular orbital theory to illustrate and rationalise molecular rearrangements in organic chemistry. It provides an appreciation of the generation and use of reactive intermediates in organic chemistry.
Protein Folding and 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.
Biochemistry of Disease
This module will encourage you to use your biochemical knowledge to explain topics such as the hormonal control of metabolism, how fasting and overfeeding affects the body, and how problems within human body processing can lead to diseases. In addition, you will be able to describe two classes of important biochemical diseases including the inborn errors of metabolism and neurological disorders. There will be one hour of lectures a week for a full year.
Bioinorganic and Metal Coordination Chemistry
The aim of this module is to provide you with an understanding of coordination chemistry in the context of macrocyclic, supramolecular and bioinorganic chemistry and its applications in metal extraction and synthesis. You will gain an appreciation of the importance of metals in biological systems, and be able to explain the relationship between the structure of the active centres of metallo-proteins and enzymes and their biological functions. The module is assessed by a two-hour written exam.
This module is divided into three parts: Firstly the application of genetic engineering to construct vectors that maximize the expression the expression of protein from cloned genes or cDNAs in heterologous systems will be discussed. Modern methods for the purification of recombinant proteins will be described. In the spring the module covers the life history of a protein from birth (synthesis) to death (apoptosis). The other major aspects that are involved include a discussion of protein folding, the cytoskeleton, protein and vesicle trafficking including endocytosis and protein degradation.
Organometallic and Asymmetric Synthesis
This module will introduce you to a range of reagents and synthetic methodology. You will learn how to describe how it is applied to the synthesis of organic target molecules. By the end of the module you will know how the use of protecting groups can be used to enable complex molecule synthesis and how modern palladium-mediated cross-coupling reactions can be used to synthesise useful organic molecules. Your problem-solving and written communication skills will be developed.
Advanced Biochemistry Laboratory Work
This module provides the opportunity to perform a number of fundamental and advanced molecular biology techniques. You will investigate the contribution of individual amino acids to the structure and function of two mitogen-responsive transcription factors. Individual results and data from the class will be analysed as part of an overall project to investigate relevant scientific questions.
Advanced (Chemistry) Lab Techniques
This module introduces advanced experimental techniques appropriate to the study of the chemistry covered in third year theory modules in Inorganic and Organic Chemistry. You will gain further experience in: the principles upon which modern experimental methodology is based, chemical synthesis, obtaining and interpreting physical data and report writing. By the end of the module you will have accomplished over 120 hours of laboratory work.
Typical year four modules
In this module you will examine the molecular hardware and operational concepts used by eukaryotic cells to govern their growth, proliferation and phenotypic development. You will study how cells respond to their environment and communicate via the exchange of signalling factors that bind to specific target receptors. There will be two hours of lectures a week.
Biochemistry or Chemistry Research Project
In this module you will be given the chance to undertake a research project in biological chemistry. You will be offered a selection of research areas and have the opportunity to specialise in a chosen field. All subjects will require a review of published work and the planning of a research project under the guidance of two supervisors. You will then present your findings orally and produce a written report. There will be 12 hours weekly across the year.
Cellular and Molecular Immunology
This module will introduce you to advanced ideas about aspects of cellular and molecular immunology. You will learn about innate and humoral immunity and how humans can mount defence against infections from agents such as the HIV and diseases such as asthma. In addition you will find out about the major proteins involved and the genes coding for some of the proteins will be discussed. There will be two hours of lectures a week.
Biochemistry of Cancer
This module covers some of the more modern ideas surrounding tumourigenesis and tumour progression. The first part of the course covers our current understanding of the molecular basis of tumour progression. Following lectures will focus both on research into the fundamentals of cancer biology and the biochemical basis for the treatment of patients with cancer.
Enterprise for Chemists
In unit A, students will learn about/experience factors that lead to successful commercial innovation. They are shown routes to market for innovative ideas available from an academic/industrial viewpoint. This includes working in teams to develop/present the business case for a new innovation as a Dragon’s Den Style Pitch in semester one. Unit B gives students understanding of how companies within chemistry using industries operate/integrate into the economy; including how companies are structured/organised into functional departments and how these integrate to contribute to form a successful business. Some of the basic business skills/rules will be covered (selling, marketing, customer awareness and finance) as well as the aspects which drive innovation and success. Unit C gives students an understanding of intellectual property, how it’s protected/used to create value in the business context. Aspects of IP law are highlighted with reference to forms of IPR including patents, trademarks, copyright, design rights and trade secrets including their relevance/everyday application within chemistry using industries. This course will demonstrate 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 and culminates with an assessed chemistry focused business presentation and work-plan at end of semester two.
Contemporary Organic Synthesis
This module focuses on the synthesis of a variety of natural (and unnatural) compounds of relevance to biology and medicine, with particular reference to the goals and achievements of contemporary organic synthesis as illustrated by a range of case studies. There will be particular emphasis on the use of modern synthetic methodology to address problems such as chemoselectivity, regiocontrol, stereoselectivity, atom economy and sustainability. You will focus on 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.
Nucleic Acids and Bioorganic Mechanisms
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.
This module will provide a fundamental understanding of the nature of intermolecular forces, across a wide cross-section of subject areas, in particular with respect to their application to self-assembly; and to present a firm theoretical foundation in the nature and thermodynamics of intermolecular forces, illustrated with examples of molecular organisation in biology and self-assembling supramolecular chemical systems. In addition to appreciating the rich chemistry underlying self- assembling systems, you will gain an insight into the potential for self-organisation for the generation of hierarchical patterning across multiple length scales.