Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 2
Mutually Exclusive
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 3 x 1 Hour workshops
Practical 8 x 4 hour practicals


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Course work: Written report of experimental strategy, methods and results, in the form of a research article (Max. 2000 words).  70%
Semester Assessment Course work: Written handbook of bench protocols (Max. 2500 words).  30%
Supplementary Assessment Re-submission of failed or missing course work or alternative (as determined by the exam board).   100%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to.
1. Develop hypotheses into a series of experimental procedures.
2. Build novel experimental protocols from available literature
3. Implement experimental protocols
4. Report experimental protocols and research findings in appropriate formats.


This module provides an opportunity for students to acquire hands-on experience of biochemistry techniques. Through its restructuring, it will provide diverse learning and teaching opportunities so that, on successful completion of this module, students are able to design and implement experimental strategies of a nature that would be expected of a biochemistry graduate.

Brief description

The aim of this module is to give students the opportunity to acquire the necessary skills to enable them to understand, implement and devise experimental protocols. To this end, sessions will be provided that will allow students to take research questions, develop them into testable hypotheses, formulate such hypotheses into a series of experiments, devise appropriate experimental protocols, and implement those experiments.


Topics include:
Construction of testable hypotheses from available literature.
Defining hypotheses as a series of experiments.
Creating experimental protocols from the literature.
Modification and construction of experimental protocols.
Implementing experimental protocols.
Reporting of protocols.
Presentation of novel methodologies
Presentation of experimental results

The largest component of the module will be practical work, and experiments undertaken will provide experience under two general headings:
1. Isolation of Biomolecules (for example, purification of phosphatases, DNA extraction, etc.)
2. Analytical Analysis of Biomolecules (for example determination of phosphatase Km and Vmax parameters, quantification of RNA by RT-PCR, Lowry assays, etc.)

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Practical work will involve calculations using acquired data.
Communication The production of balanced practical reports. Listening skills for the workshops and subsequent discussion in practical classes.
Improving own Learning and Performance Outside the formal contact hours, students will be expected to research materials, manage time and meet deadlines.
Information Technology Accessing the web for information sources and using databases to find primary literature.
Personal Development and Career planning Students will gain confidence in their ability to evaluate biological problems and objectively assess the quality of proposed solutions.
Problem solving Practical classes will allow students to gain experience in designing, executing, interpreting data and writing-up assessed biochemical and chemical experiments.
Research skills Students will research topics beyond the depth and scope of the provided material using both directed and independent study. Information from a variety of sources will be the object of scrutiny and comment. Practical classes will allow the development of key biological research skills at an early stage of their academic careers.
Subject Specific Skills Students will gain experience of issues related to the planning, execution and reporting of experiments. They will be able to find, understand, modify and utilize existing protocols from the literature, and report methodologies as appropriate for a variety of media.
Team work Students will work in pairs/small groups during practical sessions. They will need to discuss their experimental design and work effectively as a small team in practical classes.

Reading List

Berg, Jeremy Mark. (2002.) Biochemistry /Jeremy M. Berg, John L. Tymoczko, Lubert Stryer ; Web content by Neil D. Clarke. 5th ed. W.H. Freeman Primo search Price, Nicholas C. (Sept. 2001) Principles and Problems in Physical Chemistry for Biochemists 3rd ed.,Revised Oxford University Press Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 5