Molecular & Cellular Biology (with Biotechnology) BSc/MSci

Molecular and Cellular Microbiology 4Y option BIOL4295

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Infection and Immunity
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

The course will focus on the molecular and cellular biology of the interaction between infectious agents (bacteria, parasites and viruses) and the cells and hosts they infect. Student-led sessions will investigate current key topics in molecular microbiology such as antimicrobial resistance, immune evasion by pathogens and "omics" approaches to studying infectious disease. Understanding the underlying molecular and cellular biology of such topics will allow students to extrapolate their knowledge to discover modern drug, therapy and diagnostics design for infectious diseases such as influenza, trypanosomiasis and malaria. This course aims to give students an appreciation of how our knowledge of biomolecular science can be used in the real world to combat infectious disease.


There are normally 3 hours of teaching on Fridays, which may be split over more than one session.

Excluded Courses



The course will be assessed by a 2-hour examination (75%) and in-course assessment consisting of a tutored, open book interpretation and data analysis of a provided scientific paper (25%).

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. Where, exceptionally, reassessment on Honours courses is required to satisfy professional/accreditation requirements, only the overall course grade achieved at the first attempt will 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 aims of the course are:

■ To provide students with a deep understanding of the molecular relationships between infectious agents and the cells and hosts they infect

■ To enable students to appreciate how understanding these relationships can underpin design of drugs and therapies against infectious disease.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ Critically discuss the molecular mechanisms by which a range of pathogens infect cells and hosts;

■ Describe how pathogens survive within and transmit between hosts;

■ Examine how host cell components are modified by infectious agents;

■ Appraise potential avenues for drug design against pathogens;

■ Analyse data from the current molecular microbiology literature. 

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.