Foundations and Open Questions in Biomedicine

Course Type
Postgraduate, Module

Module Overview

The aim of this module is to ensure that all students on the programme have a firm understanding of the basics of cell biology and biophysics and an introduction to the type of questions that biomedical research seeks to address. Along with the “Foundations of Microscopy and Probes” module, these principles form the knowledge and understanding that underpin subsequent modules in the programme, and provide the requisite background for choosing and successfully completing lab based research projects.

The module will consist of a series of lectures and seminars on the fundamental workings of a eukaryotic cell. This will include areas such as the cytoskeleton, cellular trafficking and signalling, biophysical elements such as membrane and protein dynamics, as well as an introduction to pharmacology and drug discovery. The students will take part in group activities such as journal clubs to develop their critical analysis, teamwork and presentation skills to help build the cohort. Practical classes will introduce the students to core experimental skills, such as cell culture techniques. The students’ understanding of mathematical and statistical methods will be developed and they will have the opportunity to analyse ‘real world’ experimental data using the knowledge that they have gained.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Describe the role of the main components of a eukaryotic cell
  2. Explain how the different elements of a cell are coordinated to achieve effective cellular signalling
  3. Explain how the efficacy, toxicity and safety of drugs are tested, and how medicines are developed in the drug discovery pipeline
  4. Analyse and interpret experimental data to demonstrate understanding of how statistical methods are used in biomedical research
  5. Be able to critically appraise the literature on the current advances and open questions in cell biology

Module Attendance

The module will be delivered in the teaching areas of the Medical School and via online formats.

Module Dates

Semester 1 - October


  • 50% group poster presentation (to assess outcomes 1,2 & 5)
  • 50% 1 1/2 hr unseen examination (to assess outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4)

 Academics involved in the delivery of this module

Module lead: Dr Caroline Gorvin
Deputy Leads: Dr Natalie Poulter and Dr Steve Thomas