Structural Basis of Biological Function (C7114)

15 credits, Level 5

Autumn teaching

This module builds on the topics of protein structure and function relationships introduced by first year modules Fundamentals of Cell and Molecular Biology and Biological Chemistry. Topics covered will include:

  • an introduction to protein structure and folding
  • the methods used to determine high-resolution protein structures
  • protein superfamilies
  • the functional properties of enzymes
  • the methods of analysis for exploring enzyme mechanism
  • how enzyme properties can be modified by protein engineering techniques to produce new enzymes with desirable properties, illustrated using a case study of subtilisin
  • the specificity of small molecule enzyme interactions, illustrated using an example of rationale drug design
  • the role of proteins as transducers of mechanical energy, explored by considering the role of actin and myosin in muscle contraction.


52%: Lecture (Lecture, Post-lab, Pre-lab)
48%: Practical (Laboratory, Workshop)


30%: Coursework (Report)
70%: Examination (Unseen examination)

Contact hours and workload

This module is 150 hours of work. This breaks down into 31 hours of contact time and 119 hours of independent study.

This module is running in the academic year 2019/20. We also plan to offer it in future academic years. It may become unavailable due to staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of such changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.