BSc Biological Sciences options
Final Year, Component 04
Option(s) from list
Fill the skills gap. Bioinformatics is a rapidly growing discipline based on the need to obtain biologically-meaningful information from the huge volumes of DNA-sequence, gene expression and protein structure data. Traditionally the niche area of computational biologists, there is an increasing need to for every type of biologist to be able to handle large datasets. You learn by solving problems, working through example datasets in order to understand and learn how to utilise and interpret commonly used methods.
The study of human genetics is one of the fastest moving areas of scientific research today. Get to know some important emerging themes from the human genome sequence into the emerging fields of epigenetics and non-coding RNAs. You examine variations in genome sequence and structure in human populations, and consider the evidence for selection in human populations. Consider the evolution of the X chromosome and its regulation by the process of X-inactivation. You also investigate the significance of imprinting and epigenetics in human disease.
Today’s global society has 8 billion mouths to feed. So how can we use our knowledge of modern plant science to improve agricultural productivity? From genetically-engineered disease resistance, to using water and nutrients more efficiently, you consider the potential impact and implications of the latest thinking and technology.
How does the immune system know when to trigger a response, and how are immune responses regulated? You’ll examine the immune process at a molecular level and also developmental aspects of immunity and it will assist you in understanding current developments in the field. You’ll look at the way cellular and molecular components of the immune system are integrated to provide immunorecognition in health and disease. Explore how landmark concepts in immunology evolved from hypothesis to experimental discovery, and consider the ways in which clinical immunotherapy approaches allow scientists to manipulate the immune system.
This module describes the fundamental principles of stem cell biology and molecular mechanisms and factors that define their 'stemness'. It also covers the processes that govern their differentiation into specific cell types.
Biomembranes are of fundamental importance in determining the organisation and functioning of living cells. Biophysical and biochemical methods to study membranes will be discussed alongside the specific roles of membranes in the signal transduction, ion and solute transport and energy storage in cells.
Energy generation and transformation by membranes is an essential feature of all cells: membrane electron transport processes will be discussed (with particular attention being given to respiratory and photosynthetic processes), together with the chemiosmotic theory for ATP synthesis by membranes. A bottom up approach building from basic thermodynamics to observed macroscopic effects and biological function is taken. Particular emphasis is placed on the quantitative description of chemical free energy changes and electron transfer reactions allowing students to analyse and interpret biophysical data in the context of actual experiments.
Imaging in biological and biomedical research and clinical settings is hugely important. In particular, there has been a dramatic development of microscopic methods for visualization of biological structures and physiological events.
Microscopy is now a cornerstone of cell, clinical, molecular, neuro- and developmental biology. This course provides an overlook of imaging in biomedical sciences, then focusses on modern applications of fluorescence microscopy. Case studies from experts in the imaging field are presented. A special emphasis is on computational image quantification. A practical in digital image processing is held. Using datasets provided in the course, as well as their own (photographic) data, students learn to process images using freely available open-source software.
At the end of the course, each student presents a short 'elevator pitch' talk showing an imaging-based problem, then presenting a solution for its quantification. Effective verbal communication and writing are transferable skills developed in this course.
Earth`s climate has fluctuated throughout history, but the speed of change in recent decades has been unprecedented. Warming, acidification, drought, flooding, and fire are increasingly prevalent features of our modern world.
In addition, humans are responsible for widespread environmental pollution, which is any input of material or energy into air, land, or water that causes harmful environment change.
The sources and ecological consequences of climate change and pollution will be explored and discussed, concentrating on biodiversity, species distributions and extinctions, and the provision of ecosystem services of benefit to humans.
Examples of climate change and pollution will be presented from both terrestrial and aquatic domains, and from polar to tropical biomes, together with a review of the avenues to be followed for remediation of biosphere processes and the conservation of biological diversity. The module will be delivered through lectures and a practical session incorporating data analysis and interpretation.
The aim of this module is to provide you with current knowledge and understanding of cancer. We will discuss general aspects of cancer biology (cancer statistics and risk factors, origins and multistage nature of cancer, metastasis and angiogenesis). The identification and isolation of oncogenes and tumour suppressors and the mechanism of action of their products will be analysed. We will explore cancer molecular biology and signalling pathways in cancer. We will discuss cell cycle and apoptosis and their role in the maintenance of normal cell populations and in the emergence of cancer. The principles of some of the current approaches in cancer therapy will be discussed.
This module examines the link between protein structure and function and its connection to dementia and disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. When the folded structure of a protein is altered, perhaps as a consequence of folding inefficiency, environmental stress, genetic mutation, and/or infection, it can cause a loss of the normal protein function, toxic gain of function, or dominant negative effects. You will study the key processes involved in protein folding and misfolding and explore how they are involved in disease, as well as the therapeutic strategies being developed to address them.
Freshwater systems play an essential role in the ecology of many species. Explore the major types of freshwater habitats (streams, rivers, ponds, lakes) and examine how anthropogenic stressors such as water extraction, pollution and climate change place them under threat.
Fisheries provide food and employment to millions of people across the globe. Get to know the social and economic drivers of fishing and explore the subsequent impact on marine ecosystems. You gain an understanding of the scale and significance of fisheries and learn to critically analyse the methods used to assess their efficacy.
Be introduced to the key concepts of animal behaviour from an ethological and comparative cognition viewpoint. By taking a critical look at published work and research and identifying the frameworks that underlie animal behaviour, you will become familiar with aspects such as the evolution of behaviour and the cognitive capabilities of different species.
Evolutionary Psychology: How natural and sexual selection helped shape the human mind
You’ll be introduced to the key concepts of evolutionary theory as pertaining to human psychology, and will engage with current literature in this rapidly advancing area of science. You will develop your understanding of the relevance of evolution to the scientific study of human behaviour and cognition. You’ll also identify the basic concepts and frameworks that underlie evolutionary approaches to psychology, as well as the major findings and fields within evolutionary psychology.
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