Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2011 Undergraduate - Unit

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
OfferedClayton First semester 2011 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Melanie Pritchard (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology)


This unit will provide an introduction into the molecular mechanisms that mediate human diseases and the specific biotechnologies used to facilitate diagnosis and treatment. The disease mechanisms mediated by genetic disorders resulting in abnormalities in protein folding, protein trafficking and gain or loss of protein function will be presented. State of the art developments in molecular medicine including transgenic models of human disease, gene therapy, and recent developments in transplantation will be highlighted. Specific biotechnologies to be discussed include structure-based drug design, production of recombinant proteins, vaccine technology and research commercialization.


On successful completion of this unit students will be able to: 1) describe the mechanisms by which molecular defects cause human disease, including the mechanisms by which gene abnormalities may lead to various abnormalities in protein structure and function; 2) give examples of the role of molecular techniques in contributing to the diagnosis of specific human diseases; 3) discuss the use of current and emerging molecular biotechnology techniques to determine the molecular pathology of diseases and to design targeted therapies for specific treatments, 4) appreciate molecular and biotechnology research methodology and understand the skills required to undertake a research project in a research laboratory; 5) appreciate the research process as a collaborative endeavour locally and internationally, as well as the roles of grants, publications and ethics in biomedical scientific research; 6). integrate and synthesise information from fundamental principles and techniques in biomedical sciences and apply them to broader contexts; 7) work effectively and communicate constructively within small groups in the planning, development and implementation of teamwork tasks, with individual and group responsibilities and adherence to project timelines; 8) acquire and use the skills developed in the presentation of data and scientific ideas, both verbally and in writing, using scientific language or plain English as appropriate; 9) apply skills in the preparation of a webpage describing the research of a Laboratory Head in a field of biomedical science.


Mid semester examination (50 minutes): 10%
Final Examination (3 hours): 54%
Small group activity modules comprising Core: 12%, Research Process:12%, and Research-based Selective: 12%

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Melanie Pritchard

Contact hours

3 lectures per week and 3 hours small group activities per week


BMS2021 and BMS2042