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Study information

Analytical Techniques in Biochemistry

Module titleAnalytical Techniques in Biochemistry
Module codeBIO2090
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Dr Alison Hill (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks




Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

The distinctive features of this module are that you will learn about the ‘state of the art’ techniques that are used to look at the structure and properties of proteins and their complexes. You will gain ‘hands on’ experience in data handling and writing of scientific practical reports. This will be invaluable to you for carrying out a practical project in your final year and if you wish to continue with postgraduate studies such as a Masters or PhD. The module will also be a route to interdisciplinary studies since a general understanding of the chemistry involved in protein mechanism and the physical principles behind some methods of analysis will be acquired as part of this module.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The module will introduce you to the main experimental techniques used in the purification and characterisation of biological macromolecules, with the main emphasis on protein methodologies. It will provide you with important skills of analysis of experimental data and scientific report writing. It will involve research-enriched learning in the area of protein structural and biochemical analysis, and it will provide important skills required for any future laboratory-based employment opportunities.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Explain the principles of the bio-analytical techniques covered and have an awareness of the applications of these techniques in biochemical research
  • 2. Understand selected techniques to purify proteins and analyse the success of their purification
  • 3. Characterise various properties of the purified proteins – molecular weight, enzymatic activity
  • 4. Interpret experimental data obtained using the techniques above

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Demonstrate competency in reading and interpreting scientific literature, and in the synthesis of research-informed examples from the literature into written work
  • 6. Deploy established techniques of quantitative data analysis, practical investigation and enquiry

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 7. Communicate ideas, principles and theories fluently by written, oral and visual means in a manner appropriate to the intended audience
  • 8. Develop a logical and reasoned argument with valid conclusions
  • 9. Collect and interpret appropriate data and complete research-like tasks, drawing on a range of sources, with limited guidance
  • 10. Work in a small team and deal proficiently with the issues that teamwork requires (i.e. communication, motivation, decision-making, awareness, responsibility, and management skills, including setting and working to deadlines)

Syllabus plan

The focus of the module is on methods of experimentation. Topics covered will include:
pH and buffers, centrifugation methods (differential, gradient, equilibrium), electrophoresis methods (SDS, native, isoelectric focusing, immunoelectrophoresis and 2D gel analysis), protein estimation, protein sequencing, protein purification methods (ion-exchange, gel filtration, affinity chromatography), protein characterisation, , UV-visible and fluorescence spectroscopies, mass spectrometry, immunological methods, Cryo-EM (including an introduction to AlphaFold) and HPLC/GC.

There will be one workshop that covers analysis of data from mass spectrometry.

Accessibility Statement:
As part of this course you will undertake three laboratory sessions in GP101/GP108 two of which are 6 hours duration, and one of 3 hours. These sessions will be undertaken in groups, and the 6-hour lab sessions have been designed to allow for each member of the group to take an extended (30 minute) break for lunch. The sessions can accommodate students who require more frequent breaks for health reasons. Please contact the module coordinator if you require any particular support.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching15Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching15Laboratory practicals
Scheduled Learning and Teaching6Workshops
Scheduled Learning and Teaching5Q&A sessions (4 x 1 hr) and revision tutorial (1 hr)
Guided Independent Study45Lecture consolidation and associated reading
Guided Independent Study3Pre-lab preparation
Guided Independent Study20Web-based activities and data handling
Guided Independent Study41Coursework and exam revision

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Guided practical write-up session2 x 1 hour4,, 6-10Oral
Web-based activity on ELE6 x 1 hour, 2 x 2 hours4, 9Written
Lecturer feedback through PadletAd hoc1-5, 7Written (Padlet)
Lecturer feedback during in-person sessionsAd hoc1-5, 7Oral
Lecturer feedback during Q&A sessions4 x 1 hour1-5, 7Oral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Examination (data handling and short answer essay)503 hours1-5, 7-8Written via tutor
Laboratory report352500 words4-6-10Written
Workshop report15500 words1, 4, 6-8Written

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
ExaminationExamination (50%)1-5, 7-8August Ref/Def
Laboratory reportLaboratory report (35%)4-10August Ref/Def
Workshop report Problem sheet (15%)1, 4, 6-8August Ref/Def

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons that are approved by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. If deferred, the format and timing of the re-assessment for each of the summative assessments is detailed in the table above ('Details of re-assessment'). The mark given for a deferred assessment will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral - if you have failed the module (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) and the module cannot be condoned, you will be required to complete a re-assessment for each of the failed components on the module. The format and timing of the re-assessment for each of the summative assessments is detailed in the table above ('Details of re-assessment'). If you pass the module following re-assessment, your module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Boyer R.F. (2012) Biochemistry Laboratory, Modern Theory and Techniques, Pearson, Benjamin/Cummings Publishing Company Inc.
  • Ramesh V. (editor) (2019) Biomolecular and Bioanalytical Techniques: Theory, Methodology and Applications, Wiley ISBN 978-1-119-48396-0.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Key words search

Macromolecules, proteins, separation techniques, electrophoresis, chromatography, centrifugation, fluorescence spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, immunology, HPLC, GC, UV-Vis spectroscopy, cryo-EM

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

BIO1332 Biochemistry or NSC1003 Foundations in Natural Science

Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date