10 Credits AUTUMN

Aims/Description: Biotechnology uses biological systems (cells) to produce valuable and novel products. The cells are often unicellular organisms such as bacteria or yeast, but could also for example be eukaryotic cells (such as CHO cells) or complete organisms such as plants. Where possible, industry is moving towards a 'plug and play' approach, often described under the general heading of Synthetic Biology. The aim of this module is to explore the complexities underlying biotechnology, including the interactions of different gene products and reactions, often grouped together under the term systems biology, and look to see how such problems are solved. Students will learn to appreciate the complexity of biological systems, the associated difficulties of predicting biological behaviour in areas such as industrial biotechnology and drug development, and emerging approaches to overcome these challenges. Students will work both individually and in small groups, to develop presentation skills and the critical skills required for the evaluation of primary literature. The module aims to: A1: allow students to develop an overall view of Systems and Synthetic biology, and investigate important research areas relating to biotechnology in depth by discussion and associated coursework. A2: provide students with the opportunity to critically evaluate scientific papers from the fields of Synthetic and Systems Biology and their relevance to biotechnology. A3: provide students with a critical overview of the challenges in translating current research into practice.

Staff Contact: ARIZA ANTONIO
Teaching Methods: Lectures, Tutorials, Independent Study
Assessment: Course work

Information on the department responsible for this unit (Molecular Biology and Biotechnology):

Departmental Home Page
Teaching timetable


The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

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Teaching methods and assessment displayed on this page are indicative for 2021-22. Students will be informed by the academic department of any changes made necessary by the ongoing pandemic.

Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK