Module code: BMS3052

Module provider

School of Biosciences and Medicine

Module Leader

THUMSER AE Dr (Biosc & Med)

Number of Credits


ECT Credits



FHEQ Level 6

JACs code


Module cap (Maximum number of students)


Module Availability

Semester 1

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 125

Lecture Hours: 28

Tutorial Hours: 5

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework COURSEWORK ESSAYS X 2 ( 1000 WORDS EACH ) 50%
Examination EXAMINATION - ONE HOUR 50%

Alternative Assessment

Not Applicable

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

Pre-requisites: BMS2035 Biochemistry - Enzymes and Metabolism

Module overview

This module will address three broad topics, namely Nuclear Receptors, Bioenergetics and Cell Signalling.

Module aims

To provide an understanding of the molecular mechanisms which underlie metabolic regulation, with a focus on the role of nuclear receptors

To provide a comprehensive analysis of the processes involved in the generation of metabolic energy

To give a detailed account of the molecular processes involved in the mechanism of oxidative phosphorylation

Explain in details the intracellular signalling pathways activated by the plasma membrane and intracellular receptors

To provide detailed information about the nature and the role of the second messengers involved in intracellular signalling pathways

To discuss the importance of cellular signalling pathways in regulating gene transcription in health and disease.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
Demonstrate a sound knowledge of the integration of metabolic pathways KC
Understand the key role of nuclear receptors in the control of metabolism, with specific reference to fatty acids and glucose KC
Understand the similarities and differences between PPAR¿, PPAR ¿/¿ and PPAR¿ KC
Identify how plasma membrane and nuclear receptors control cellular function KC
Understand energy metabolism as the biochemical process by which cells obtain and utilize free energy to perform their functions KC
Comprehend the molecular and biochemical mechanisms involved in the synthesis of ATP KC
Identify the role of intracellular signalling pathways activated/initiated by cell surface or intracellular receptors in cell function and behaviour KC
Understand in detail the key intracellular signalling pathways regulated by receptors and second messengers under physiological and pathological conditions KC

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Module content

Indicative content includes:

• Overview of metabolic pathways and their integration.
• General properties of nuclear receptors.
• Peroxisome Proliferator Activated Receptors (PPAR's): Structure and function.
• Digital skills & essay writing workshop
• Bioenergetics. Basic physical chemistry phenomena. How mitochondria use the energy from substrate oxidation to synthesise ATP. Structure of the electron transport chain. Use of inhibitors, uncouplers and ionophores.
• Oxidative phosphorylation. The chemiosmotic theory. Synthesis of ATP. Molecular architecture of the ATPase. Mitochondrial diseases: Inborn errors of metabolism involving mitochondria.
• Overview of plasma membrane and soluble receptors.;
• G-protein coupled receptors (e.g. glucagon receptor).
• Protein kinase receptors (e.g. insulin).
• Coursework feedback & revision tutorials

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching methods include:
• Lectures
• Workshops: Critical thinking & digital literacy (in collaboration with SPLASH & Library)
• Tutorials
• Coursework
• Advised extra reading, including scientific papers and reviews
• “Think-pair-share” 

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate critical thinking, understanding of the taught topics and extra reading


Thus, the assessment strategy for this module consists of:

·        Coursework essays (submission of 2 essays from a choice of 3):

§ Essay 1 (Dr Alfred Thumser, linked to Learning Outcomes 1-4)

§ Essay 2 (Dr Avignone –Rossa, linked to Learning Outcomes 5 & 6)

§ Essay 3 (Dr Agouni, linked to Learning Outcomes (4, 7 & 8)

§ Submission deadline 2 weeks after the lectures have been completed

·        Final exam (linked to all learning Outcomes)


Formative assessment and feedback:

·        Coursework guidance and peer review tutorials

·        Feedback on essays (written feedback on essay and one-to-one feedback, as requested)

·        Generic post-coursework feedback (on-line)

Feedback on final exam (written feedback on examscripts, one-to-one feedback, as requested, with generic on-line feedback)

Reading list


Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2017/8 academic year.