MSci Medical Biochemistry

Year of entry: 2024

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

Course unit fact file
Unit code BIOL31311
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
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, design 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 Engineering: Protein stability; techniques used to study protein structure. Protein folding landscapes and pathways. Design of new proteins
B) Protein dynamics: methods used to study it, including NMR, hydrogen exchange/mass spectrometry and simulations. Role in protein function.
C) Membrane proteins/transporters and receptors, including methods to probe dynamics such as HDX-MS. Sym and Antiporters. ABC transporters. Ion channels.
D) 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 10%
Written exam 90%
Examination (90%) 2 hours, 2 questions from 5;
Other - NMR and EPR problem (10%)

Feedback methods

  • Online discussion.
  • Feedback on 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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