BIOMED 4040A - Advanced Molecular and Biomedical Science (Hons) Pt 1

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2021

This modular course covers a range of advanced topics in Molecular and Biomedical Science, the methods of presentation and assessment of which vary according to module.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code BIOMED 4040A
    Course Advanced Molecular and Biomedical Science (Hons) Pt 1
    Coordinating Unit School of Biological Sciences
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Contact Up to 10 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Restrictions BSc Honours Molecular and Biomedical Science
    Course Description This modular course covers a range of advanced topics in Molecular and Biomedical Science, the methods of presentation and assessment of which vary according to module.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Professor Murray Whitelaw

    Prof. Murray Whitelaw
    Prof. Rob Richards
    A/Prof. Renato Morona
    Course Timetable

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

    The course timetable is included in the Honours course handbook and is available to all students enrolled in the program
  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes

    A successful student will be able to

    1 Design, analyse and interpret experiments, and effectively communicate these in written and oral reports.

    2 Develop interdisciplinary solutions to a variety of molecular and cell biology (prokaryote and/or eukaryote) problems.

    3 Critically analyse and evaluate quantitative & qualitative molecular and cell biology (prokaryote and/or eukaryote) information and obtain and evaluate information from a variety of sources.

    4 Communicate effectively in a variety of forms and use terminology appropriate to the field of study correctly and contextually.

    5 Extend knowledge and understanding of a variety of molecular and cell biology concepts in a range of contexts.
    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)
    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
    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
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    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
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources


    Recommended Resources


    Online Learning
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

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

    A student enrolled in this 6 unit course should expect to spend, on average 12 hours per week on the studies required. This includes both the formal contact time required to the course (e.g., workshops and presentations), as well as non-contact time (e.g., self – directed reading and literature searching).
    Learning Activities Summary
    Students will participate in a series of Journal Clubs, wherein they will critically examine and discuss a research paper chosen by a
    member of the academic staff. The second major part of this course is designed to develop and test critical thinking, originality and ability to integrate information and ideas. This is the Research Proposal, where the student will come up with an original, testable proposal on a topic of their choice. Once the student has formulated the idea, he/she will need to design a detailed set of experiments that can provide either evidence for or against their idea, and present this proposal in both written and oral form.
    Specific Course Requirements
    Small Group Discovery Experience
  • 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 Type of assessment Percentage of total assessment for grading purposes

    Yes or No
    Outcomes being assessed / achieved Approximate Timing of Assessment for both Semester 1 and 2
    Series of journal club meetings.

    Overall mark for Journal Club:

    Oral Participation (50% of final journal club mark)
    Discussion of specific questions (50% of final journal club mark)
    Formative &Summative 20% No 3-5 Approximately Weeks 8 to 12
    Semester 2
    Overall mark for Research Proposal & defence:
    Preliminary Written Research proposal (10%)
    Final Written proposal (30% of final research proposal mark)
    Oral delivery of proposal (25% of final research proposal mark)
    Proposal Defence (35% of final research proposal mark)
    Formative &Summative 80% No 1-5 Approximately Week 19 semester 2

    Assessment Related Requirements
    Assessment Detail


    Overall, performance in two group based journal club sessions will make up 20% of the final mark within the 6 unit course Advanced Molecular and Biomedical Science (Honours); there are two components of this mark, one part for the overall oral participation and one part for the role as a discussion leader for an “element” in the paper. Each part is worth 50% of the final journal club mark, that is, each Journal club is worth 10%, made up of 5% for role as discussion leader and 5% for oral participation. Journal clubs will be held in semester 1, approximately two weeks apart and will be assessed by at least two academic/research staff.


    The research proposal will be worth 80% of the 6 unit Advanced Molecular and Biomedical Science (Honours) course. A preliminary written research proposal (500 words maximum; 10% of proposal assessment) will be submitted in approximately week 9 of semester 1. This will be followed by feedback from assessors. The final written proposal will be submitted in approximately week 12 of semester 1, and the oral presentation and question and answer period will be held approximately one week later.

    The development of an original testable research proposal will be assessed as follows.

    Final written research proposal (2500 words maximum; 30% of proposal assessment):

    1. Clear and concise introduction of research area, including a summary of the primary literature and appraisal of key experiments.

    2. Succinct statement of the research proposal question (the hypothesis or proposition). There should be a clear relationship between the background material in the proposal and the hypothesis, and the hypothesis should address an important unsolved issue.

    3. Logical outline of the proposal’s aims (the experiments), with an explanation of how the data from the experiments will allow the student to answer their proposal question.

    4. Detailed presentation of each proposed experiment. Include the type and quality of data generated by each experiment, and be sure to mention possible experimental pitfalls, and how the approach would be re-designed or substituted with another experiment if one proposed experiment fails.

    5. Scholarship: appropriate referencing and attribution of data and concepts to the correct sources

    The written document will be assessed by up to two academic/research staff. Supervisors will not assess their own student’s proposal.

    Oral presentation delivery and content: (20 min; 25% of proposal assessment)

    1. Logical flow of ideas and data; the talk should flow in roughly the same order as the written presentation

    2. Particular attention should be paid to making sure the logic of the proposal is well expressed in the oral presentation. The audience should be able to see an obvious relationship between the background data and the hypothesis, and the presentation of proposed experiments and the data they will generate should clearly related back to the hypothesis.

    3. Clarity, both in design of slides and in oral commentary

    Question/answer period: (Up to 30 minutes; 35% of proposal assessment)

    1. Demonstration of analysis and synthesis of scientific concepts and scientific relevance. Critical analysis of background literature.

    2. Demonstration of understanding and evaluation of primary experimental details

    3. Students should be prepared to defend two essential aspects of their paper/presentation: one, the hypothesis and its scientific importance, and its scientific “originality;” two, the choice of experiments, and specifically if the experimental design of the proposal will give a definitive answer to the hypothesis.

    The presentation and Q&A period will be assessed by all available academic staff.

    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:

    NOG (No Grade Associated)
    Grade Description
    CN Continuing

    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.

    Group and individual feedback will be provided as appropriate after assessments and mid-year.
  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
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