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Last modified: 16 Aug 2021 13:48

Course Overview

  • this course covers many of the core concepts which form the foundations for advanced study in Biomedical and related sciences;
  • you will gain cutting edge, in-depth and focussed knowledge of cell function and cell signalling delivered in a research-driven environment in preparation for advanced study of similar material in the honours year; 
  • you will research a topic of choice and prepare a scientific review in a similar fashion to academic staff; 
  • problem solving exercises designed to illustrate the application of your knowledge in the wider world and advanced laboratory techniques are interwoven strands aimed at developing graduate attributes and employability

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 3
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 30 credits (15 ECTS credits)
Campus Aberdeen Sustained Study No
  • Senior Lecturer G.S. Bewick
  • Dr Wenlong Huang

Qualification Prerequisites

  • Either Programme Level 3 or Programme Level 4

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?

Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

The course will cover basic principles that are common to cell physiology, pharmacology and molecular and cell biology to encourage thinking across disciplines. To include receptors, agonists and antagonists, signalling and transduction mechanisms, voltage-gated and ligand-gated channels, synaptic transmission, and action potential physiology. It covers membrane biophysics and the properties of ion channels and gap junctions in addition to ion and non-electrolyte transport pathways. 12 week course, Thread I.

In light of Covid-19 this information is indicative and may be subject to change.

Contact Teaching Time

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

Teaching Breakdown

  • 1 Science Laboratory during University weeks 16, 16, 18, 18
  • 1 Seminar during University weeks 9, 10 - 18
  • 2 Seminars during University week19
  • 1 Tutorial during University weeks 9, 9, 9, 10, 11 - 12, 11 - 12
  • 2 Tutorials during University weeks 9, 10, 10, 10 - 11, 11

More Information about Week Numbers

In light of Covid-19 and the move to blended learning delivery the assessment information advertised for second half-session courses may be subject to change. All updates for second-half session courses will be actioned in advance of the second half-session teaching starting. Please check back regularly for updates.

Summative Assessments

Laboratory report 33%

Problem solving exercise 25%

Student Selected Component review 25%

Summative Mock exam essay 17%

Formative Assessment

Formative mock exam essay, Safety multiple choice exam

Course Learning Outcomes

Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
ConceptualUnderstandProvide a basic understanding of the fundamental role of ion channels, metabotropic receptors and membrane potentials in communication within and between cells.
ConceptualUnderstandIntroduce the range of biochemical signalling mechanisms used by cells.
ConceptualUnderstandGive an overview of the mechanisms by which substances are transported across cell membrances.
ConceptualUnderstandHave an understanding of the main neurochemical pathways in the central nervous system.
ConceptualUnderstandExplain the action potential in terms of the properties of the ion channels underlying it. Be able to describe how and why action potentials may be modulated.
ConceptualUnderstandDescribe the processes governing synaptic structure and function.

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