Module Information

Module Identifier
BRM4700
Module Title
Introduction to Concepts in Biology
Academic Year
2015/2016
Co-ordinator
Semester
Semester 1 (Taught over 2 semesters)
External Examiners
  • Dr Robert Baxter (Senior Lecturer - University of Durham)
 
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 4 x 2 Hour Lectures
Tutorial 6 x 2 Hour Tutorials
Lecture 11 x 2 Hour Lectures
 

Assessment

Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Literature review  4500 words focused upon a specific subunit topic of the students choice including summary (500 words)  60%
Semester Assessment Summaries  (500 words) of remaining subunits  20%
Semester Assessment Contribution  to group discussion in seminars assessed by group minutes.  5%
Semester Assessment Presentation  - Individual 10 minute presentation focused upon a specific subunit topic of the students choice which is different to the literature review topic.  15%
Supplementary Assessment Students must take elements of assessment equivalent to those that led to failure of the module.  100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Critically evaluate interdisciplinary approaches to specific fields of contemporary biology in depth.

2. Demonstrate an understanding of concepts underpinning diverse areas of current biological research.

3. Survey, access, manage and use relevant peer reviewed literature.

4. Contribute confidently to discussion and verbal presentation of biological concepts in an audience of both peers and active biological researchers.

Brief description

This module targets students on interdisciplinary MSc courses at the interface between other disciplines and biology. It aims to build an understanding of key topics at the cutting edge of modern biological research by a series of interactive subunits focused on relevant topics, led by staff actively researching those topics. This will promote the students' ability to collaborate meaningfully with life scientists when providing expert guidance and solving biological problems in an interdisciplinary environment.

Aims

Effective interdisciplinary collaboration is essential when approaching many key problems in contemporary biology, particularly in fields where the accelerating democratization of methodologies generating large, complex datasets is rapidly advancing the potential insights into diverse aspects of evolution, structure and functionality throughout the biosphere.
While many modules and courses exist for biologists to develop interdisciplinary skills and effective collaborations with experts in other fields, this module aims to make contemporary concepts, challenges and approaches to biological research accessible to experts from non-biological backgrounds.
To achieve this aim, the module consists of six subunits, each focused on a specific field of biological research. Each subunit will be delivered by a research leader active within the field, and will specifically highlight relevant concepts, challenges and methodological approaches where our understanding has (or may in future) be advanced by interdisciplinary collaboration. Specific subunits can include: The Central Dogma of molecular biology, Molecular evolution, statistical genomics, microbiome research, plant biology, high-throughput sequencing. Additional or alternative subunits of equivalent structure may be provided as researcher availability permits. Each subunit will consist of an introductory lecture, followed by tutorial, framed by a targeted reading list. This approach will both help address difficulties with accessing key biological concepts in a flexible, personalized manner and promote dialogue across disciplinary divides.

Content

Semester 1
Week 1 Introduction Lecture
Week 2 Subunit 1: Central Dogma Lecture
Week 3 Subunit 1: Central Dogma Tutorial
Week 4 Subunit 2 Lecture
Week 5 Subunit 2 Tutorial
Week 6 Subunit 3 Lecture
Week 7 Subunit 3 Tutorial
Week 8 Subunit 4 Lecture
Week 9 Subunit 4 Tutorial
Week 10 Subunit 5 Lecture
Week 11 Subunit 5 Tutorial
Semester 2
Week 20 Subunit 6 Lecture
Week 21 Subunit 6 Tutorial
Week 22 Seminar
Week 23 Seminar

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Inherent in the study of statistics and statistical methods.
Communication Seminar discussion & formal presentation, written assignments.
Improving own Learning and Performance Outside the formal contact hours, students will be expected to research materials, manage time and meet deadlines. The coursework will provide an opportunity for students to explore their own learning styles and preferences, and identify their needs and barriers to learning. Students will be able to review and monitor their progress and plan for improvement of personal performance through self-awareness and reflection.
Information Technology Accessing and managing relevant literature, verbal presentation supported by IT facilities (e.g. Powerpoint).
Personal Development and Career planning
Problem solving Identifying and using statistical techniques to solve problems in Computational Biology.
Research skills Experimental design.
Subject Specific Skills
Team work Developed indirectly by contribution to group discussions.

Notes

This module is at CQFW Level 7