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BSc Biomedical Sciences / Course details

Year of entry: 2021

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Course unit details:
Protein Assembly, Dynamics & Function (E)

Unit code BIOL31311
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by School of Biological Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? No


Proteins perform a vast array of functions within living organisms. This unit will covering a range of high profile, contemporary topics in Protein Science, from folding and assembly through to dynamics and membrane transport. You will also study how structural studies of macromolecular assemblies are leading to the development of nanodevices.


Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Proteins BIOL21111 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
BIOL31311 Pre-requisite is BIOL21111
  • BIOL21111 Proteins (Compulsory)


The unit aims to provide students with an introduction to modern Protein Science, covering a representative range of high profile, contemporary topics, from folding and assembly through to dynamics and membrane transport.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge of the way in which proteins fold, assemble, self-polymerise, move and can be observed.


A) Protein folding:
• in vitro: including techniques used to study it. Protein folding landscapes and pathways.

B) Protein dynamics: methods used to study it, including NMR and simulations. Role in protein function.

C) Protein assembly:
• chaperones: proteins which help other proteins to fold
• assembly of multiprotein complexes e.g. viruses, ribosome

D Structures of membrane protein transporters. Sym and Antiporters. ABC transporters. Ion channels.

E) Macromolecular machines and nanobiotechnology. How structural studies of macromolecular assemblies are leading to the development of nanodevices.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Data analysis coursework
Problem solving
Data analysis coursework
Written communication
Coursework and data analysis problems

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 20%
Written exam 80%
Examination (80%) 2 hours, 2 questions from 5;
Other - Protein complexes problem (10%); 
Other - NMR and EPR problem (10%)

Feedback methods

  • Online discussion.
  • Feedback on essay and data handling problems.

Recommended reading

Papers will additionally be recommended by individual lecturers.

Recommended Reading

  1. Lesk, AM, Introduction to Protein Science Architecture, Function & Genomics (ISBN 987-0-19-954130), Oxford University Press, 2010, Recommended
  2. Petsko, G & Ringe, D, Protein Structure and Function: Primers in Biology (ISBN 978-1-4051-1922-1), Wiley-Blackwell, 2003, Recommended
  3. Whitford, D, Proteins: Structure and Function (ISBN: 0-471-49894-7), John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 2005, Recommended
  4. Williamson, M, How Proteins Work (ISBN: 0815344465), Taylor & Francis 2011, Recommended

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 1.3
Lectures 18
Independent study hours
Independent study 80.7

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Andrew Doig Unit coordinator

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