BMS3031 - Molecular mechanisms of disease - 2019

12 points, SCA Band 3, 0.250 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

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


Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Organisational Unit

School of Biomedical Sciences

Chief examiner(s)

Assoc. Professor Yvonne Hodgson


Associate Professor Elizabeth Davis
Dr Daniel Czech

Unit guides



  • First semester 2019 (On-campus)


BMS1011, BMS1021, BMS1031, BMS1042, BMS1052, BMS1062, BMS2011, BMS2021, BMS2031, BMS2042, BMS2052, BMS2062.


Must be enrolled in one of the following:

  • Bachelor of Biomedical Science (including double degree programs)
  • Bachelor of Biomedical Science (Scholar Program)
  • Bachelor of Biomedical Science Advanced with Honours.




This unit will provide insights into the molecular mechanisms that mediate human diseases and the specific biotechnologies used to facilitate diagnosis and treatment.

Relevant areas studied in this unit may change from year to year but will generally include a number of topics related to pharmacology, cancer, cardiovascular disease, development and stem cells, infection and immunity, metabolic disease and obesity, and neuroscience.

The small group work in the unit is designed to build employability skills for graduates.

Emphasis is placed on critical thinking, research skills and on communication skills in the context of biomedical research.


Upon successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. Integrate, apply and build upon knowledge from previous core units in the study of the molecular mechanisms and defects that cause human disease, including how developmental errors and gene abnormalities may lead to abnormalities in protein structure and function.
  2. Discuss and evaluate the role of molecular techniques in the diagnosis of human diseases and the design of targeted therapies or specific treatments.
  3. Explain and predict the principles of pharmacokinetics and how these can influence the therapeutic use of drugs.
  4. Explore and analyse how patient factors (including genetics) can lead to interindividual variation in responses to drugs.
  5. Describe and apply skills required to undertake biomedical research activities and apply this to develop a career plan.
  6. Synthesise, integrate and summarise information from fundamental principles and techniques in biomedical sciences, then apply it to broader contexts.
  7. Work effectively and collaboratively in small teams and evaluate peer and self-performance.
  8. Present data and scientific ideas, in oral, written and visual forms using scientific language or plain English as appropriate.


  • Small group learning (5,000 words equivalent) 40% - hurdle
  • Lecture workshops (1,000 words equivalent) 10%
  • Mid-semester test (50 min) 10%
  • End of semester exam (3 hours) 40% - hurdle

Hurdle Requirement: Small group learning and end of semester exam as per Faculty policy for assessment worth 40% or more of the unit.

Workload requirements

12 hours per week of directed learning including lectures (5hr), workshops (1hr), small group learning (3hr) and group and online activities (3hr), plus 12 hours of self-directed learning including private study and independent research

See also Unit timetable information

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study