Biochemistry BSc/MSci

Mitochondrial Biology 4C option BIOL4259

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Molecular Biosciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course discusses the central role of mitochondria in cell physiology, metabolism and disease with the aim of developing the students' ability to appraise new advances in several key areas of mitochondrial biology. These include mitochondria proteostasis (biogenesis/assembly/architecture/unfolded protein response and turnover), mitochondria evolution, mitochondrial dysfunction, and the role of mitochondria in apoptosis, aging, and signalling.


This option is assigned to block S2-C. There is normally 3 hours of teaching on Thursdays 

Excluded Courses



The course will be assessed by a 2-hour examination (70%) and in-course assessment consisting of a written review of a scientific paper (30%), provided in advance.

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

The course aims are: 

■ to allow students to study current knowledge and research underpinning key aspects of mitochondrial biology;

■ to develop an awareness of how this knowledge is integral to understanding key aspects of whole cell physiology and dysfunction and how this underpins disease and can be used in therapeutic approaches. 

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course, students will be able to: 

■ Evaluate and assess the following: 

■ key aspects of mitochondria biogenesis;

■ mitochondrial-linked pathways of apoptosis and aging; 

■ current understanding of the molecular basis of some major mitochondrially-linked diseases; 

■ Appraise and assess components and mechanisms of protein homeostasis and turnover of mitochondria;

■ Examine and discuss the crosstalk between signalling (redox and phosphorylation) and mitochondria function. 

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.