BSc Plant Science

Year of entry: 2022

Course unit details:
Organismal Biology EDM

Unit code BIOL21051
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by School of Biological Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? No


In your Experimental Design Module (EDM) you will participate in practical sessions undertaking widely used modern laboratory techniques. You will develop both your laboratory and your data handling skills in preparation for your Research Skills Module in the next semester Sessions will cover PCR, sequencing, protein analysis, gene silencing, bioinformatics, evolution, vector-borne diseases, microbiology, developmental biology, plant ecophysiology and bioinformatics.




Experimental Design Modules (EDMs) aim to equip students with the skills necessary to become proficient in a number of laboratory techniques that are carried out routinely in modern laboratories. EDMs place an emphasis on the design and interpretation of experiments, building the expertise and knowledge that will be required to undertake the appropriate Research Skills Modules offered in the second semester.

Learning outcomes

This unit will allow students to become proficient in making experimental choices enabling them to make amendments to technical protocols, analysing and critiquing research papers appropriate to the practical and using specialised laboratory equipment and procedures required to obtain data. Many practicals will consist of an element of data handling techniques, including statistical analysis and appropriate presentation of results.




  • Mitigating the spread of vector-borne diseases.
  • The effects of antibiotics on batch culture growth of E. coli.
  • Embryonic anatomy and physiology - this practical will require the use of live chick embryos at a very early developmental stage (3 days).
  • Developmental and environmental influences on plant Crassulacean Acid Metabolism.
  • Bioinformatics-viral outbreak.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Lab skills and analysis of outcomes
Group/team working
Work in pairs in the lab
In some labs students have the opportunity to design their own experiment
Problem solving
Analysis of data from experiments to answer online questions
Written communication
Short answers online and full write-up of one practical
Lab skills

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 20%
Practical skills assessment 80%

Students will be assessed using a combination of online and in-lab assessments. In addition, students will be required to complete a full experimental report for one practical as determined by their academic advisor. Marks will be distributed between the assessments (80%) and the full write-up (20%).NB Attendance at all practical and lecture sessions is compulsory. Missing a practical without satisfactory explanation will result in a loss of 10% of the total unit score for each missed practical. Missing more than 3 practicals for whatever reason will trigger a meeting with the senior advisor. A mark of at least 40% is required to pass this unit. Failure of this unit will result in a resit assessment.

Feedback methods

During the practical sessions, there will be many opportunities to get immediate feedback from staff and demonstrators. Feedback sessions will be given as separate one hour lectures. Individual feedback on laboratory reports will be provided by your academic advisor.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 6
Practical classes & workshops 36
Independent study hours
Independent study 56

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Shiu-Wan Chan Unit coordinator

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