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Last modified: 22 May 2019 17:07

Course Overview

This course will take the student through in depth study of how synthetic biology and systems biology are transforming the  principles and practice of modern biotechnology. The course will teach modern methods of biotechnology including host cell design and optimisation using modern modelling techniques, leading to an understanding of how multiple genes under precise regulatory control can be introduced into a species to endow it with new biotechnologically-valuable properties.

Through hands on study of synthetic biological processes in a series of workshops, students will learn how advanced genetic engineering of host expression systems can transform production of pharmaceuticals, chemical feedstocks and biofuels. The course will equip students with a range of knowledge and skills directly relevant to modern biosciences, including the biotechnology industry.

Course Details

Study Type Postgraduate Level 5
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus Old Aberdeen Sustained Study No
  • Professor Ian Stansfield

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Course Description

This course focuses on an understanding of advanced biotechnology through study of the use of synthetic biology in modern biotechnological processes. Through detailed study of the principles and practice of introducing multiple genes, and thus complete new biochemical pathways into host cell expression systems, the role of synthetic biology in biotechnology will be explored. The course will show how synthetic biology, combined with systems biology and mathematical modelling, can optimise protein expression, and utilise host cell metabolism to produce small molecules for use as chemical feedstocks, antibiotics and pharmaceuticals. Through case studies, the course will also explore how modern biotechnological processes are developed to the point of commercial success.  

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

Poster production (30%); Short report on a biotechnological process (20%); Workshop report (50%).

Resit: viva exam with two members of academic staff

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.


Written feedback and rubric feedback provided on all threee pieces of assessment.

Course Learning Outcomes


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