Introduction To Bioscience

3G1 Introduction to Molecular Bioengineering

Leaders: external link: Dr. Gos Micklem, external link: Dr. Jim Ajioka

Lecturers: external link: Dr. Gos Micklem, external link: Dr. Jim Ajioka, Paul Grant

Supervisors: Russ Brown (rhb37@), Paul Grant (pg384@), Orr Yarkoni (oy210@)

Timing: Michaelmas term

Prerequisites: This is an introductory course that assumes no prior knowledge of biology beyond GCSE level. Students who haven't taken GCSE biology or equivalent should be able to manage the course too, but may like to talk to the course organisers first.

Structure: 16 lectures, 1 laboratory class

This is an intensive introductory level undergraduate course targeted at third year Engineering students. This course will be delivered through lectures and a laboratory class.


On completion of the course, students will:

  • understand the potential of engineering living systems
  • understand key common features of living systems
  • have a basic understanding of cellular metabolism and examples of metabolic engineering
  • understand the basics of gene control and expression, concentrating on systems more commonly used in biotechnology
  • have a basic knowledge of what is feasible with genetic engineering, the key underlying technology and case studies
  • understand the impact of the latest methods of genome sequencing, genome analysis, and genome-scale experimental methods including perturbation studies
  • have been introduced to the emerging field of synthetic biology that aims to rationally engineer biological systems
  • have direct experience of some basic experimental techniques


The lecture material will be solely assessed by a written examination (1.5 hours) at the start of the Easter term and coursework derived from the laboratory classes.


  • Laboratory experiment (Investigating the lac operon) external link: download

Full Technical Report (Genetic regulatory systems)

No FTR for 3G1 will be offered this year.


This course will provide a basic grounding in key aspects of molecular bioscience with an emphasis on bioscience engineering.

  • Common features of living systems
  • Cellular structure and metabolism
  • Metabolic engineering
  • Key experimental methods
  • Genetic Engineering
  • Genome sequencing, genomics and key computational methods
  • Synthetic Biology


This course will introduce those elements of molecular biology that are relevant to further study in bioscience and engineering applications.

1-3Overview/introduction-why engineer living systems? Life: cells to organisms
4-5Central dogma of molecular biology; Gene regulation
6-7Genetic engineering I: basic parts, methods and terminology
8-9Genetic Engineering II: Further methods, case studies
10-12Metabolic Engineering: Cellular metabolism; catabolism/anabolism, Core molecular types; Metabolic engineering principles and case studies
13-15Genomics: Genome sequencing/annotation/key computational methods; Functional studies: Gene expression/regulatory networks/perturbation studies
16Synthetic biology

Other EventsDetails
Supervisions:supervision groups will be assigned once course numbers are finalised.
LabFri 25th October; Teaching Lab, Department of Plant Sciences; will take 11am - 6pm with lunch break, shorter if you are organised
LabFri 1st November; Teaching Lab, Department of Plant Sciences; will take 11am - 6pm with lunch break, shorter if you are organised

Lecture pdf files: N.B. Lectures are for your own use and should not be distributed/made public.
external link: Lecture 1
external link: Lecture 2
external link: Lecture 3
external link: Lecture 4
external link: Lecture 5
external link: Lecture 6
external link: Lecture 7
external link: Lecture 8
external link: Lecture 8 Extra Notes
external link: Lecture 9
external link: Lecture 10
external link: Lecture 11
external link: Lecture 12
external link: Lecture 13
external link: Lecture 14
external link: Lecture 15
external link: Lecture 16

Supervision questions/cribsLectures
external link: Examples paper 1Lectures 1-9
external link: Examples paper 1 cribLectures 1-9
external link: Examples paper 2Lectures 10-12
external link: Examples paper 2 cribLectures 10-12
external link: Examples paper 3Lectures 13-16
external link: Examples paper 3 cribLectures 13-16

Supervision questions/cribsPrevious years
external link: Examples paper 12011
external link: Examples paper 1 crib2011
external link: Examples paper 22011
external link: Examples paper 2 crib2011
external link: Examples paper 32011
external link: Examples paper 3 crib2011

Mock exam and Crib
external link: 3G1 Mock Exam
external link: 3G1 Mock Exam Crib
external link: 3G1 2010-2011 Exam
external link: 3G1 2010-2011 Crib

external link: Gibson Assembly__


General text (should be in libraries): Introduction to Genetic Analysis (10th Ed.) Griffiths, Wessler, Carroll and Doebley Publisher: Freeman ISBN13: 978-1-4292-7634-4

The following should be available through college libraries but are also available in full for searching online via NCBI bookshelf: