Life Sciences

Genome Stability, Genetic Diseases and Cancer

Module code: C7129
Level 6
15 credits in spring teaching
Teaching method: Class, Seminar, Lecture
Assessment modes: Unseen examination, Coursework

The design of new therapies for cancer depends on first understanding the molecular events that cause the disease. Genomic DNA is damaged spontaneously, by chemical carcinogens and by radiation. If unrepaired, this damage leads to mutations, cancer and other developmental disorders. All cells have evolved a sophisticated array of repair and response mechanisms to deal with DNA damage.

The aim of this module is to understand the molecular mechanisms that control DNA repair and to appreciate how defects in genes involved in these repair processes are associated with different, in many cases cancer-prone, genetic disorders.

Throughout the module, emphasis will be placed on the review and critical evaluation of recently published experimental evidence; advances in this area rely on a combination of biochemical analysis, genetic approaches and bioinformatics.

Lectures will be complemented by discussion groups.

Module learning outcomes

  • Analyse the contribution of specific genetic changes to the development of cancer
  • Design experimental strategies to assess the potential relevance of DNA damage responses to cancer
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of the molecular mechanisms behind the cellular response to DNA damage
  • Recognise how defects in DNA repair pathways contribute to the pathogenesis of DNA repair disorders