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Study information

Energy Metabolism

Module titleEnergy Metabolism
Module codeBIO3093
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Dr Clive Butler (Lecturer)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks




Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

Life is dependent on the conservation of energy derived from various sources (food or light, for example). These processes use a plethora of sophisticated membrane-associated protein complexes that drive electron transport, generate proton gradients and synthesise ATP. In mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation, the electron transport chain culminates in ATP synthesis and the reduction of oxygen to water. In chloroplasts, light-driven electron transport is used for ATP synthesis and CO2 reduction.  In this module you will study the respiratory and photosynthetic reaction centres, supermolecular organisation, reaction mechanisms and regulation. In addition, you will learn how the proteins involved in energy metabolism can be studied on a structural level, to gain a deeper understanding of their function.

The following topics are typical of what might be covered in this module:

  • Chemiosmotic Energy Transduction
  • Mitochondrial Electron transfer chain
  • ATP synthase – structure and function
  • Bacterial electron transfer chains under aerobic and anaerobic conditions
  • Electron transfer beyond the bacterial outer membrane I
  • Photosynthetic energy metabolism

Module aims - intentions of the module

The Energy Metabolism module aims to advance your knowledge of metabolic biochemistry by studying in detail the reactions in anaerobic energy metabolism, oxidative phosphorylation and photosynthesis. During this module you will engage critically with current scientific literature and methodology in order to gain a rounded understanding of the limits of current research in bioenergetics in a number of diverse model systems.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. Critically evaluate the methods used in studying bioenergetic reaction mechanisms.
  • 2. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the principles of anaerobic energy metabolism, oxidative phosphorylation and photosynthesis.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 3. Evaluate in detail approaches to our understanding of biochemistry with reference to primary literature, reviews and research articles.
  • 4. Analyse and independently evaluate a range of research-informed literature, and synthesise research-informed examples from the literature into written work

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 5. Effectively communicate arguments, evidence and conclusions using written and oral means in a manner appropriate to the intended audience

Syllabus plan

The contents of the module will be selected from the following subject areas:

  • Oxidative phosphorylation
  • Photosynthesis
  • Electron transfer reactions
  • Proton translocation reactions
  • Respiratory metalloprotein complexes
  • Structural basis of respiration
  • Anaerobic energy metabolism
  • Redox control of photosynthetic enzymes
  • Supermolecular organisation of mitochondria and chloroplasts
  • Prokaryotic motility with focus on the structure and function of flagella and archaella
  • Investigating bioenergetic systems by cryo-electron microscopy

Accessibility Statement:

This module includes student-led journal clubs in which you will analyse, evaluate and discuss primary publication journal articles. Articles will be chosen by the lecturers, and you will have two weeks to research and prepare for the journal club session, during which time you will receive guidance from one of the lecturers associated with the module. The content of the journal club sessions could be covered in the final examinations.

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 Teaching18Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching3Journal clubs
Guided Independent Study10Guided analysis of research papers
Guided Independent Study54Lecture consolidation and associated reading
Guided Independent Study65Worksheet and exam revision

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Journal club discussions1 hourAllOral

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
Essay examination601500 wordsAllWritten
Problem-based worksheet4020 short answer questionsAllWritten

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Essay examinationEssay examination (60%)AllAugust Ref/Def
Problem-based worksheetProblem-based worksheet (40%)AllAugust 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

  • Berg JM, Tymoczko JL and Stryer L (2011) Biochemistry, 7th Ed., Freeman, ISBN 1-429-27635-5
  • Garrett RH and Grisham CM (2009) Biochemistry, 4th Ed., Brooks and Cole, ISBN 0-495-79078-8
  • Nicholls DG and Ferguson SJ (2013) Bioenergetics 4, Academic press, ISBN 9780123884251

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

  • ELE page:

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

  • Journal reviews and research articles will be recommended.

Key words search

Bioenergetics, electron transfer, metalloproteins

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

BIO1332 Biochemistry

Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date