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Durham University

Faculty Handbook 2022-2023

Module Description

Please ensure you check the module availability box for each module outline, as not all modules will run each academic year.

Department: Biosciences


Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2022/23 Module Cap Location Durham


  • Level 2 Development (BIOL2471)


  • At least one other Level 3 Biological Sciences Module selected from the following list: Advanced Topics in Ecology, Evolution and Behaviour BIOL3561, Conservation Biology BIOL3551, Ecology in the Anthropocene BIOL3541, Advanced Topics in Development BIOL3521, Stress and Responses to the Environment BIOL3491, Crops for the Future BIOL3611, Biochemistry and Biotechnology BIOL3601, Ageing BIOL3591, Advanced Cell Biology BIOL3481, Biology of Disease BIOL3621, Genomics BIOL3651.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To provide an advanced overview of aspects of stem cell science and the experimental methods used to study stem cells and their application.
  • To develop an understanding of the theoretical and practical basis underpinning tissue engineering.
  • To provide an overall appreciation of the strategies and technologies employed in the development of translational research in the stem cell/tissue engineering fields and their biological rationale.


  • Cell technology: experimental methods in mammalian cell and organ culture.
  • Embryonic and adult stem cells; applications in regenerative medicine.
  • Tissue engineering techniques and applications.
  • Case study: basic research through to application and impact (e.g. neurogenesis, engineering neural tissues, clinical application).

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Understanding of how mammalian cell culture is used experimentally for basic research and understanding biological mechanisms.
  • Knowledge of how cell and organ culture is used experimentally for stem cell and tissue engineering research.
  • Comprehension of how stem cells from embryonic and adult sources are identified, isolated, specialised aspects of their biology and the functional significance of their behavior (e.g. self renewal and differentiation).
  • Knowledge of how the discovery process and regenerative strategies can benefit from understanding and applications of stem cells.
  • Knowledge of clinical applications of tissue engineering and stem cells.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • To be able to recognize and describe some of the limitations and difficulties associated with translational research.
  • To be able to integrate information from different sources to understand diverse types of stem cells, their biology and applied potential.
  • To critically evaluate and discuss experimental data pertaining to stem cell biology and tissue engineering.
Key Skills:
  • Literacy, in being able to consult and extract information from printed and on-line archives.
  • Data analysis, in interpretation and critical analysis of data relevant to stem cells and tissue engineering (e.g. assessment of primary literature).
  • Self-motivation, in self-guided learning.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lectures deliver subject-specific knowledge.
  • Workshops support the development of key and subject-specific skills.
  • Self-guided learning contributes to subject-specific knowledge and self-motivation.
  • Reports / Data Handling Exercises are based on subject-specific knowledge.
  • Unseen examinations demonstrate achievement of the appropriate level of subject-specific knowledge of development, with an emphasis on understanding and communication (essay and problem-based questions).

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 24 Weekly 2 hours p/w 24
Workshops 2 Termly 1 hour 2
Preparation & Reading 174
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Unseen formal examination 3 hours 100% No

Formative Assessment:

2 formative examination exercises of 1 hr each.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University

If you have a query about a specific module or degree programme, please contact the appropriate department.

If you have a question about Durham's modular degree programmes, please visit our FAQ webpage. If you have a question about modular programmes that is not covered by the FAQ, or a query about the on-line Faculty Handbook, please contact us using the Comments and Questions form below.