BIOCHEM 3225 - Advanced Molecular Biology IIIB (Biochemistry)

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2016

This course covers the regulation of cellular signalling, proliferation and differentiation in the context of embryonic development and diseases such as cancer. Lectures provide detailed information on the major conceptual and technical advances in this field, focussing on two principle themes: 1. The Molecular Basis of Cancer: topics include molecular mechanisms underlying normal cell-cell communication, signal transduction pathways, cell proliferation and apoptosis, differentiation, intracellular compartments, the cytoskeleton and cell shape, adhesion and migration. 2. Stem Cells and Development: topics include embryonic and adult stem cells, cellular reprogramming, induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS), transgenic and knock-out mice, differentiation, neurogenesis, morphogenesis, segmentation and body plan, growth factors in development, sex determination and medical applications. This course combines these lectures and tutorials from Cancer, Stem Cells and Development III (BIOCHEM 3001) with practical exercises and/or laboratory placements in professional research laboratories. It includes a specialised set of Problem Based Learning (PBL) exercises, which are designed to provide students with a perspective of how cutting edge molecular biology principles and techniques are applied to major research questions. The PBL segment of the course may include aspects of biochemistry, genetics, microbiology, immunology and chemistry. This course will illustrate that cross-disciplinary approaches are essential in modern research.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code BIOCHEM 3225
    Course Advanced Molecular Biology IIIB (Biochemistry)
    Coordinating Unit School of Biological Sciences
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 6
    Contact Up to 23 hours per fortnight
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Prerequisites BIOCHEM 2510, BIOCHEM 2520, BIOCHEM 2504 & BIOCHEM 2505
    Incompatible BIOCHEM 3001 & GENETICS 3210
    Assumed Knowledge BIOCHEM 3125
    Restrictions Available to BSc(MolBiol) students only
    Assessment Written exam on lecture material, written and oral reports on practicals and tutorials
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr John Bruning

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 Understanding aspects of the molecular basis of cancer.
    2 Understanding key aspects of stem cells, celldifferentiation and development in lower eukaryotes and vertebrates.
    3 Understanding key experimental processes required to evaluate molecular aspects of stem cells, cancer and development, knowledge of how to apply them to solve specific biochemical problems, and an understanding of the ethical implications of this research.
    4 Advanced skills and experience in planning, performing, interpreting, quantitatively analysing and communicating biochemical research using a variety of modern experimental techniques.
    5 Ability to find, read, interpret, and critically analyse relevant scientific literature and apply it to specific problems in molecular biology.
    6 Ability to work in teams and communicate scientific outcomes.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    1, 2, 3
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    3, 4, 5
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    4, 5, 6
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    5, 6
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
    4, 6
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Laboratory coat, safety glasses and closed shoes.
    Recommended Resources
    Text book: Molecular Biology of the Cell (5th Edn) by Alberts et al., 2008, Published by Garland Science
    Online Learning
    Resource material such as lecture, tutorial, practical and past exams will be available on Myuni. Online assessment will be conducted via Myuni.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This course will be delivered by the following means:

    3 Lectures of 1 hour each per week. The stacked / same time teaching components are thelectures timetabled with the existing course, Cancer, Stem Cells and Development III (BIOCHEM 3001).

    1 Tutorial of 1 hour per week developing material covered in lectures. The lecturer takes the tutorial classes for their section.

    1 Laboratory-based research project (45 hours) or CSCDIII Practical of  (15 hours per fortnight, odd weeks = 5 hours & even weeks = 10 hour duration) in weeks 1-6. Includes oral presentation
    in week 6 with immediate feedback provided.

    1 x 2 hour problem-based learning (PBL) exercise weeks 7-12. Involves two different PBLs based on current research and bioethics, each assessed by 10-15 minute presentation in small groups.

    3 online multiple choice tests of 1 hour duration (weeks 4, 8 and 12, with immediate feedback


    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    A student enrolled in a 6 unit course, such as this, should expect to spend, on average 24 hours per week on the studies required. This includes both the formal contact time required to the course (e.g., lectures and practicals), as well as non-contact time (e.g., reading and revision).
    Learning Activities Summary
    Week 1 Signalling Domains: Structure and Function Lecture
    Week 2 Signalling Domains: Structure and Function/Cell Signalling Pathways Lecture
    Week 3 Cell Signalling Pathways Lecture
    Week 4 Cancer: Cell Cycle/Apoptosis Lecture
    Week 5 Cancer: Cell Cycle/Apoptosis Lecture
    Week 6 Cancer: Adhesion/Migration Lecture
    Week 7 Cancer: Adhesion/Migration Lecture
    Week 8 Cancer and Metabolism Lecture
    Week 9 Axis Determination and Positional Information in Embryos  Lecture
    Week 10 Stem Cells Lecture
    Week 11 Cell Differentiation/Neurogenesis Lecture
    Week 12 Sex Determination Lecture
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Task Type Due Weighting Learning Outcome
    Written exam on lecture material Summative

    End of semester

    65% 1, 2, 3

    Formative and Summative End of week 7 15% 4, 5
    PBL exercises Formative and Summative End of week 13 15% 5, 6

    Formative and Summative Weeks 4. 8 and 12 5% 1, 2, 3
    Assessment Detail
    End of term Exam (65% of total course grade) – A 3 hour examination covering the lecture material. It is made up of a mixture of short and long answer type questions.

    Laboratory placement/Practical (15% of total course grade). The half semester research project (students can choose a laboratory placement or CSCDIII practical) will include experimental work,
    keeping an up to date laboratory notebook, 1 oral presentation and the submission of a final practical report. The oral presentation is 10-15 minutes, cover the research performed in the practical, and performed individually (research placement) or small groups (CSCDIII practical) in week 7.   Students
    receive feedback throughout the semester on laboratory performance and keeping of laboratory notebooks, as well as immediately after the oral presentation, and on the final report.

    PBL exercises (15% of total course grade), including assessment via oral presentations, weeks 7-12: Involves two different PBLs based on current research, each assessed by 10-15 minute presentation in small groups.

    Online exercises (3 per semester): Three multiple choice tests in weeks 4, 8 and 12 (5% of total course grade). Encourages revision of the material soon after the relevant lectures, and immediate feedback provided to students.

    If an extension is not applied for, or not granted,then a penalty for late submission
    will apply.  A penalty of 10% of the value of the assignment for each calendar day that the assignment is late (i.e. weekends count as 2 days), up to a maximum of 50% of the available marks will be applied. This means that an assignment that is 5 days late or more without an approved extension can only receive a maximum of 50% of the marks available for that assignment.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

    Provision of Feedback to Students
    The assessor usually provides appropriate feedback of assessment tasks to the student by means of written comments. The student has the opportunity to directly liaise with the assessor to obtain additional feedback and clarification if required.
  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

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