Unit Information Management System

Molecular Biology (SCIE3325, SEM-2, 2013, Crawley)

Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education

Molecular Sciences

Unit Outline

Molecular Biology


SEM-2, 2013

Campus: Crawley

Unit Coordinator: Dr Thomas Martin

All material reproduced herein has been copied in accordance with and pursuant to a statutory licence administered by Copyright Agency Limited (CAL), granted to the University of Western Australia pursuant to Part VB of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth).

Copying of this material by students, except for fair dealing purposes under the Copyright Act, is prohibited. For the purposes of this fair dealing exception, students should be aware that the rule allowing copying, for fair dealing purposes, of 10% of the work, or one chapter/article, applies to the original work from which the excerpt in this course material was taken, and not to the course material itself

© The University of Western Australia 2001

Unit details

Unit title Molecular Biology
Unit code SCIE3325 Credit points 12
Availability SEM-2, 2013 (29/07/2013 - 23/11/2013)
Location Crawley Mode On-campus

Contact details

Faculty Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education
School Molecular Sciences
School website http://www.biomedchem.uwa.edu.au/
Unit coordinator Dr Thomas Martin
Email thomas.martin@uwa.edu.au
Telephone 0061 (08) 6488 3331
Consultation hours By appointment only, please cntact the unit coordinator or the relevant lecturer
Tutors/ Demonstrators/ Facilitators
Unit contact hours Lectures: 3 hrs per week; labs: 9 hrs per week for 9 weeks (weeks 2–5 and weeks 8–12); tutorials: 2 x 2 hrs; home exercise discussion. For details see handout in the lab manual and first lecture.
Online handbook http://handbooks.uwa.edu.au/units/unitdetails?code=SCIE3325
Unit website

Unit rules

Prerequisites SCIE2225 Molecular Biology or BIOC2203 Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of the Cell
Advisable prior study (MICR2204 Introductory Microbiology and MICR2205 General and Applied Microbiology) or MICR2207 Agricultural Microbiology; BIOC2201 Biochemistry of the Cell and BIOC2202 Biochemical Regulation of Cell Function are recommended but not essential. Students with insufficient background are required to do extra reading.
Approved quota

Unit description

This unit provides an advanced course in molecular biology is designed to continue the training of students in this discipline. It stresses the use of molecular approaches and how they are applied to solve and investigate biological problems. Students learn how molecular biology has been used to advance understanding in areas of current interest in biology.

The subject areas covered include a selection from the following: molecular biology of cancer; gene therapy; plant molecular biology; multigene families, molecular biology of bacterial and viral pathogens; protein targeting; cloning vectors; interactomics; mechanisms of recombination; signature-tagged mutagenesis; in vivo expression technology; regulation of gene expression in prokaryotes and eukaryotes; mitochondrial biogenesis; and the organisation of genes in different genomes (nuclear, organelle, bacterial and viral). The techniques covered range from DNA cloning and sequencing to message level analysis and PCR amplification. Students become familiar with the uses of molecular biology in the bacterial, plant and animal sciences. Practicals include set labs, plus an advanced practical/project with tutorials.

Students gain an understanding of both theoretical and practical molecular biology and acquire central laboratory skills.

This unit provides an advanced course in molecular biology. It stresses the use of molecular approaches and how they are applied to solve and investigate biological problems. Lectures are given on how molecular biology has been used to advance understanding in a number of areas.

The subject areas covered include a selection from the following topics: allergens; cloning vectors; database searching; differentiation; gene regulation; interferons; molecular basis of cancer; molecular biology of bacterial and viral pathogens; plant molecular biology; gene families; and the organisation of genes in different genomes (nuclear, organelle, bacterial and viral).

The techniques covered range from DNA cloning, PCR amplifiation and cloning and selection of plasmids to DNA sequencing, from primer deisgn and gene analysis to message level analysis. The relevance of these studies to microbial plant and animal sciences in a wide variety of fields is stressed.

Learning outcomes

Students gain an understanding of both theoretical and practical molecular biology and acquire central laboratory skills.

Unit structure


Three 45 minute lectures per week.

Practical and/or Laboratory Sessions

One 8 hour and one 2 hour laboratory class per week for a total of nine weeks (Details of the weeks running a lab will be publsihed in the lab manual). 

Note: the 8 hour lab will of course have breaks for lunch.  Labs may often not take the full number of hours.

Practicals are held in Biochemistry and in Microbiology laboratories.

Two tutorials (two hours each) will be given in two of the weeks without a lab (see lab manual and lecture 1 'Course overview') and will help you to prepare a lab related home exercise which will be marked.


Lab Tutorials

Times are allocated at the beginning of labs and/or during the practicals for introduction to the labs and discussion of experimental results.

(See Timetable)

Unit schedule

Teaching and learning responsibilities

Teaching and learning strategies

Please visit the WebCT site for this unit frequently. The unit coordinator will communicate with students via this page and post updates and exercises on this page.

Charter of student rights and responsibilities

The Charter of Student Rights and Responsibilities upholds the fundamental rights of students who undertake their education at the University of Western Australia. 
The University's charter of Student Rights and Responsibilities is available at http://www.secretariat.uwa.edu.au/home/policies/charter

Student Guild contact details

Contact details for the University Student Guild can be found at http://www.guild.uwa.edu.au/.  The Guild Education Officer is available to provide assistance and advice on a range of issues.

Uses of student feedback


Your academic orientation includes three online units which you must complete within the first 10 weeks of your enrolment:

AACE1000 Academic Conduct Essentials (ACE)
AISE1000 Indigenous Study Essentials
CARS1000 Communication and Research Skills

Information for students with disabilities

The University has a range of support services, equipment and facilities for students with a disability. If you would like to receive advice on these services please email uniline@uwa.edu.au or visit http://www.studentservices.uwa.edu.au/information_about/disability_programme


Assessment overview

This comprises a final examination (60 per cent), a mid-semester test on lecture material (10 per cent) and laboratory tests and laboratory report assessments (30 per cent).

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.

Assessment mechanism

ComponentWeightDue DateRelates To Outcomes
Lab assessments: tests and lab reports30%TBA1,2
Mid-semester test on lecture material10%TBA1,2
Final exam covering the whole course material60%TBA1,2

Assessment items

Item TitleDescription
lab reportsAll labs will require you to keep a detailed lab book and to prepare written lab reports following guidelines and questions you will receive during the labs or with the unit handbook
lab testsSome labs have a final written test covering the theoretical background and the experiments of the labs. Usually the tests cover more than one lab session
Mid-semester testA Multile Choice style test (40 minutes) which will cover the material taught in all lectures before the test.
Final examThe final, written exam covers all material taught in this unit.

Academic literacy and academic misconduct

Appeals against academic assessment

Textbooks and resources

Recommended texts

Recommended reading

Lodish, H. et al. Molecular Cell Biology, 5th edn: W. H. Freeman & Co 2004

Watson, J. D. et al. Molecular Biology of the Gene, 6th edn: CSHL Press 2008

Weaver, R. F. Molecular Biology, 4th edn: McGraw Hill 2007

Suggested alternate text

Lewin, B. Genes IX: Jones and Bartlett Publishers 2008

Suggested alternate texts

Additional texts

Technical requirements

For the Biochemistry section of the practicals, a lab coat must be purchased, and a lab note-book (any style of bound note-book) is also required.

Software requirements

Computers with appropriate software are available for use in both Biochemistry and Microbiology.

Additional resources and reading

All enrolled students have access to the unit WebCT site (http://webct.uwa.edu.au). This site will be used for notices, posting of supplementary course materials, email and discussion. Students are encouraged to pose questions about course content on the discussion forum of the site so that all class members can view and contribute to the discussion.

Other important information

This unit is offered offshore in two parts, i.e. SCIE3326/SCIE3327 Molecular Biology Part 1/Part 2.