Module Details

BS938-7-SP-CO: Molecular Medicine And Biotechnology

Year: 2016/17
Department: Biological Sciences (School of)
Essex credit: 15
ECTS credit: 7.5
Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students: No
Full Year Module Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students for a Single Term: No
Outside Option: No

Supervisor: Dr Ralf Zwacka
Teaching Staff: Dr Ralf Zwacka
Contact details: School Graduate Office, email: bsgradtaught (Non essex users should add to create a full email address)

Module is taught during the following terms
Autumn Spring Summer

Module Description

Over the last 30 years, Biotechnology has had a major impact on human diseases of socio-economic importance. Molecular Medicine has traditionally been concerned with genetically inherited diseases. While this still represents an important part of biomedicine, molecular biology technology at both the genomics and proteomics level now impinges on infectious diseases and on other major non-infectious diseases such as cancer, heart disease and autoimmunity. The overall aim of this module is to provide an understanding of how basic gene and protein-based technologies, as covered in the core modules on the Masters course, are applied in human medicine, with particular emphasis on relevance to the Biotechnology/Pharmaceutical industry. The structured lecture course covers the molecular basis of illustrative disease types and Biotechnological applications in diagnostics and development of therapeutics. This module will also provide a clear appreciation of likely future Biotechnological developments in the post-genomics era.

To pass this module students will need to be able to:
1. understand the applications of gene and protein based technologies to human disease;
2. use illustrative examples, understand the molecular basis of human diseases of major socio-economic importance;
3. relate key developments in gene-based technology to disease diagnostics;
4. illustrate how Biotechnology research leads to the development of new therapeutics;
5. demonstrate a key range of skills including information acquisition from Web-based and library sources, self-learning, writing and presentation of scientific reports and genomics/proteomics-based problem solving.

Learning and Teaching Methods

Lectures: 18 x 1hr
Group discussions and presentations: 2hr
Student managed learning: 60 hrs
Total: 80 hrs


100 per cent Coursework Mark


3,000 word essay on set assignment, together with 10min oral presentation

Other information

Coursework deadlines advised in module handbooks.


  • “Human Molecular Genetics” by T. Strachan and A.P. Read, 4th Edition, (2010), Bios Scientific Publishers
  • “Biology of Disease” by N Ahmed., M Dawson and C Smith, (2007), Garland Sciences.
  • "Principles of Gene Manipulation and Genomics" by Sandy Primrose and Richard Twyman, 7th Edition, (2006), Blackwell
  • “The Biology of Cancer” by R.A. Weinberg 2nd Edition, (2014), Garland Sciences
  • “Gene and Cell Therapy – Therapeutic Mechanisms and Strategies” by Nancy Smyth Templeton, 3rd Edition, (2009), CRC Press
  • “Molecular therapeutics”: 21st-century Medicine” by P. Greenwell, (2007), J. Wiley
  • Others:
  • “Human Molecular Genetics” by, P. Sudbery and I. Sudbery, 3rd Edition, (2009), Pearson Education
  • "Introduction to Biotechnology" by William Thieman and Michael Palladino, 3rd Edition, (2013), Pearson
  • "Basic Biotechnology" by Colin Ratledge and Bjorn Kristianson, 3rd Edition, (2006), Cambridge University Press
  • Glick, B.R. and Pasternak, J.J. Molecular Biotechnology: Principles and applications of recombinant DNA, (2003), 3rd Edition, ASM Press
  • “Viruses and human disease” by J.H. Strauss, 2nd Edition, (2008),
  • Elsevier / Academic Press
  • Additional further reading material including relevant Web-sites will be given out in Lectures.

Further information