Undergraduate School

Medical Biochemistry

C741 BSc Medical Biochemistry
C749 MBiol, BSc Medical Biochemistry (Integrated Masters)

Medical Biochemistry offers a fantastic opportunity to excel in a rapidly evolving and up-to-the-minute discipline. Watch one of our students talk about their time at Leeds.

Society of BiologyMedical Biochemistry (Integrated Masters) - has received interim accreditation by the Society of Biology.

This course offers:   

  • exciting contemporary topics such as: gene therapy, cancer and oncogenes, viruses, protein structure and function, molecular machines in action, stem cells, membranes and signalling, nanotechnology, enzyme design and evolution, genomics and bioinformatics and modern methods in structural biology
  • wide range of options such as: microbiology, pharmacology, immunology, virology, chemotherapy and exercise biochemistry
  • Hepatitus virusthe chance to study in a Faculty ranked 4th in the UK for research in biological sciences by the leading scientific journal ‘Nature’ based on the numbers of staff producing research that was “world leading or internationally excellent”

What is Medical Biochemistry?

Cancer cell - close upBiochemistry is central to all areas of the “biological” and “life” sciences. It aims to provide an understanding of disease through studying every aspect of the structure and function of living things at a molecular level. It is a practical laboratory science that applies the molecular approaches of chemistry to the vast variety of biological systems.

We offer three biochemistry degrees, with a each slightly different emphasis. The first year content is the same for all three degrees, but as you progress you are able to specialise in certain areas. See also: BSc Biochemistry.

Why study Medical Biochemistry?

The impact of biochemistry on modern life is enormous:

  • Understanding diseases such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s is built on research by biochemists. This newfound knowledge is allowing the development of innovative drugs and vaccines.
  • Techniques such as DNA-fingerprinting have revolutionised forensics and crime detection, while DNA-chip technology has fuelled rapid advances in gene research.


These are just a few examples and the revolution is only just beginning!

Biochemists are able to:

  • probe the structure and function of specific biomolecules
  • see in exquisite detail how proteins workMicroscope
  • understand how metabolic pathways are regulated
  • decipher the human genome
  • analyse the expression of genes
  • identify molecular defects in human diseases

Contemporary applications of biochemistry continue to expand and career opportunities are excellent.

Biochemical Society : www.biochemistry.org



Entry Requirements

2014 entry requirements

BSc Medical Biochemistry - UCAS code C741

A Level or Advanced Higher: AAA-ABB from 3 A2/Advanced Higher, including Chemistry and another science subject. Critical Thinking and General Studies excluded.

We consider applications on an individual basis and an offer will depend on the information given on your UCAS form. Applications are assessed from a combination of the following; the balance, nature and quality of A2, AS and GCSE subjects (or equivalents); the referee's comments and your personal statement.

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (QCF): DDD in Applied Science, including Distinctions in 10 units. Four of these will be from the Mandatory Suite. Fundamentals of Science, Scientific Investigations, Scientific Practical Techniques, Using Mathematical Tools in Science. The remaining six will be from Biology, Chemistry and Maths units which will be specified if you are made an offer.

International Baccalaureate: 35-34 (with 18-16 at higher level) including 6 in higher level Chemistry and another science at higher level.

Irish Leaving Certificate: AAAAAB-AAABBB including an A in HL Chemistry and another science at HL.

Scottish Higher: Scottish Highers not accepted on their own.

Cambridge Pre-U: D3/D3/D3-D3/M2/M2 including Pre-U Chemistry plus another science subject.

Science subjects: Biology, Human Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Physics.
Science- related subjects: Computing, Environmental Science, Geography, Geology, ICT, P.E, Psychology, Science in Society, Statistics and Sports Science.

BSc (Hons) Medical Biochemistry with Industrial Placement

If you are interested in this programme, apply via UCAS for the standard BSc programme above. We will provide you with further details of the placement and study abroad schemes in year one, and you can transfer at the end of year two (subject to academic performance).

Read more about Industrial Placements

BSc (Hons) Medical Biochemistry with Study Year Abroad

If you are interested in this programme, apply via UCAS for the standard BSc programme above. We will provide you with further details of the placement and study abroad schemes in year one, and you can transfer at the end of year two (subject to academic performance).

Read more about Study Year Abroad

MBiol, BSc Medical Biochemistry (Integrated Masters) - UCAS code C749

A Level or Advanced Higher: AAA from 3 A2/Advanced Higher, including Chemistry and another science subject. Critical Thinking and General Studies excluded.

International Baccalaureate: 35 (with 18 at higher level) including 6 in higher level Chemistry and another science at higher level.

Irish Leaving Certificate: AAAAAB including an A in higher level Chemistry and another science at higher level.

Scottish Higher: Scottish Highers not accepted on their own.

Cambridge Pre-U: D3/D3/D3 including Pre-U Chemistry plus another science subject.

Applications are assessed from a combination of the following; the balance, nature and quality of A2, AS and GCSE subjects (or equivalents); the referee's comments and your personal statement.

Science subjects: Biology, Human Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Physics.
Science- related subjects: Computing, Environmental Science, Geography, Geology, ICT, P.E, Psychology, Science in Society, Statistics and Sports Science.

Duration of the course 3 Years Full Time (C741)
4 Years Full Time (C749)
An Industrial Placement or Study Year Abroad will add a year to the duration of the course
Accreditation

Royal Society of Chemistry logoRecognised by the
Royal Society of Chemistry

English language requirements If English is not your first language, please check our minimum English language requirements. UG brochure 2014

See also:

BSc Biochemistry

Admissions policy Download our Admissions Policy for 2014 entry. (PDF format). This includes information on the application process, our admissions intake and the selection process.

Admissions enquiries

Mrs Joan Gillson

Tel: 0113 343 3021
Email: fbsadmissions@leeds.ac.uk

Admissions tutor

Dr. Stephanie McBurney

Tel: 0113 343 1457
Email: s.j.burney@leeds.ac.uk

Department

Faculty of Biological Sciences Undergraduate School

Programme Leaders

Dr Alan Berry

Course brochure

Download a course brochure

Course Structure

Our exciting Medical Biochemistry programme integrates practical, tutorial and lecture courses to deliver a course that will develop your knowledge from basic principles to the latest cutting edge developments in biochemistry.

The structure of your course will vary dependent upon which of the following pathways you choose:

Qualification Course Title Duration
BSc Medical Biochemistry 3 years
BSc Medical Biochemistry with industrial placement year 4 years
BSc Medical Biochemistry with a study year abroad 4 years
MBiol, BSc Medical Biochemistry 4 years
MBiol, BSc Medical Biochemistry with industrial placement year 5 years
MBiol, BSc Medical Biochemistry with a study year abroad 5 years

BSc Course Structure

Modules

Each year of the Medical Biochemistry programme is designed around compulsory core modules. In order to allow you to study additional subjects of interest, there will be opportunities to take optional (chosen from a list of alternatives) or elective (a free choice) modules; the balance depends upon the year and programme of study.

Medical Biochemistry Year 1

The first year of the Medical Biochemistry programme you with an integrated foundation to the subject including the key elements of biochemistry, chemistry and molecular biology. The focus will be on the molecules and processes of life. Laboratory sessions are an integral part of the coursework and small group teaching complements the course and helps develop your problem solving skills. Lectures in “hot topics”, given by Faculty experts and invited external speakers, will introduce you to cutting edge research. You may choose to take optional modules in pharmacology, genetics, immunology and microbiology or to pick an elective module of your choice.

Medical Biochemistry Year 2

group discussionIn the second year the programmes focuses on more in-depth studies of the major areas that underpin modern biochemistry. Key themes will include gene expression, cell communication, the biochemistry of disease and protein structure and function. Regular practical classes provide you with an opportunity to continue to improve your laboratory skills and you will take greater responsibility for your experimental design. Small group, academic tutorials have an emphasis on data analysis, problem solving and the interpretation of research literature. The range of second year optional modules includes exercise biochemistry, human genetics, chemotherapy, toxicology, and virology.

Medical Biochemistry Year 3

In the final year you will develop specialist knowledge that will enable an understanding of current research themes in medical biochemistry. A distinctive feature of the final year of the BSc Medical Biochemistry degree at Leeds is the strong emphasis on the teaching of “advanced topics”. You will choose advanced topics based on your particular interest and specific degree programme. These topics are taught by leaders in their research fields and focus on an understanding of specialist subjects at the cutting edge of knowledge.

Current advanced topics include:

  • Protein Folding and Assembly
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Molecular Oncology
  • Gene Therapies
  • Membrane Channels
  • Cell Biology of Viral Infection
  • Directed Evolution
  • Bioinformatics
  • Sensory Transducers
  • Stem Cells
  • Protein:Nucleic Acid Interactions
  • Building Blood Vessels
  • Plant Cell Biology
  • Viruses versus Cells

Module Details

This link takes you to detailed information (on another part of the University of Leeds website) about this degree for the 2012/13 academic year. Please bear in mind that programme details may change and that entry requirements refer to previous years.

Research Projects

As a final year student, you will choose an individual research project from a wide range of topics, to suit your interests and career aspirations. The project is an original laboratory, literature or computer-based study, supervised by an academic member of staff. Final year research projects are an important way for students to learn about independent scientific research and develop important skills for future employment.

Recent examples include:

How do virally infected cells excape elimination by the immune system?

The human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) encodes a cohort of proteins that inhibit the recognition of infected cells by the immune system, enabling the virus to form persistent lifelong infections in humans. This project will examine the mechanism of immune evasion by the HCMV protein US6. Techniques that you will use include mammalian cell culture, the expression of recombinant proteins in mammalian cells, the analysis of protein expression by flow cytometry and the localisation of proteins using immunofluorescence microscopy.

Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpevirus: host cell interactions

Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus is one of the most recently discovered human tumour viruses. Only discovered in 1994, we are just beginning to understand who the virus replicates, spreads and causes cancer. Research in our laboratory focuses on how KSHV subverts host cell pathways to help the virus replicate, particularly at the transcriptional and translational level. Therefore, projects involve identifying the virus-encoded proteins involved in taking over these cellular pathways and understanding how they function. A wide range of cellular and molecular biology techniques such as DNA cloning, protein expression, western blotting, mammalian tissue culture, qRT-PCR and confocal microscopy will be used during these projects.

Does Shadoo mimic the inhibitory effect of the prion protein on Alzheimer's disease?

We have shown that the cellular prion protein, the causative agent of 'mad cow disease', can inhibit the proteolytic cleavage of the Alzheimer's amyloid precursor protein, thereby limiting the production of the neurotoxic amyloid? peptide. Shadoo is a recently identified protein with similarities to the prion protein that is also present in the brain. The project will involve the expression of Shadoo in neuronal cells and an investigation of the levels of the cleavage of the amyloid precursor protein. This will pave the way for future research to understand the molecular and cellular biochemical mechanisms involved in this process and whether they could be exploited as a therapeutic approach against Alzheimer's disease.

MBiol Course Structure

To find out more about how the MBiol differs from the BSc programme, download our PDF guide to MBiol degrees.

Visit the Studying with us pages to find out more about studying in the Faculty of Biological Sciences Undergraduate School.

Please be aware that course details do change from time to time. ...

... If in doubt, please contact us to verify course content and availability. Whilst the University endeavours to ensure that the information on this website is accurate at the date of publication it does not accept liability for any inaccuracies. The University reserves the right to change or cancel its courses or services at any time without liability even after students have registered at the University. The University's contract with its students does not confer third party benefits for the purposes of Contracts (Right of Third Parties) Act 1999.

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Teaching and Assessment

Laboratory practicalOur approach to teaching and learning is based around developing your knowledge and skills, and training you to be independent and to think critically. This means that you will be taught through a combination of lectures, seminars and tutorials with additional time allocated to private study, project work and laboratory practicals, the balance of which will vary through your course and as you become more confident and experienced. At Leeds you will learn in many different ways:

Typical timetable (3 year BSc)

Across all three years, additional workshop and seminar sessions will complement your lectures and lab practicals, and you will also undertake private study. A typical week

  • in year one includes ten to twelve hours of lectures, a tutorial and a three to six hour lab practical session, plus private study time.
  • in year two consists of around eight to ten lectures per week, tutorials and a six hour lab practical session, plus plus private study time.
  • in year three your research project will take around three days per week (mainly in Semester One), you will also attend a number of associated lectures, plus private study time.

Assessment

We use a variety of assessment methods including:

  • multiple-choice testing
  • practical work,
  • data handling and problem-solving exercises
  • group work
  • discussion groups (physical and online)
  • computer-based simulation
  • essays
  • posters
  • oral presentations.

Current assessment details for each individual module can be accessed via the programme catalogue.

Careers

Biochemistry graduates enjoy excellent career prospects as their training opens up opportunities in scientific and non-scientific careers alike. Our Medical Biochemistry programmes foster the development of transferable skills which are highly valued by employers throughout the world.

Medical Biochemistry Careers

biochemical lab

View scientific careers

  • Research careers in academia, and the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, food, brewing, environmental and agrochemical sectors.
  • Other careers in the above industries, in areas such as clinical trials, marketing, sales and administration.
  • Medically-related employment including hospital laboratories, public health laboratories and medical research institutes.
  • Teaching at all levels, including further and higher education. Advances in the biosciences are impacting on engineering, computer science, mathematics, counselling, sociology, ethics, religion, law, agriculture, education, pharmaceuticals, instrumentation, medicine, forensics, bioremediation and biofuels.

View non-scientific professions

Employers in fields such as business or the media, which traditionally did not require staff with life sciences training, are increasingly finding they need employees with a working knowledge of the principles of biology in careers such as sales and marketing, accountancy, finance, patent work and journalism.

View further study

Many biochemistry graduates take postgraduate qualifications including MSc or PhD. Some progress on to postgraduate medicine, dentistry and optometry.

Careers Support

Faculty careers events

We organise regular careers workshops especially for biological sciences students. We also organise an annual Bioscience Careers Networking Event, offering a chance to meet bioscience employers, speak to alumni, attend workshops and get masses of information. Browse the careers fair photo gallery.

University Careers Service

Our on-campus Careers Centre is one of the largest in the country, with experienced advisers and strong relationships with graduate recruiters. The Careers Centre will help you to find out how to develop your employability right from the start and provide support after you graduate. Find out what the Careers Centre has to offer. .

Gaining work experience

Work experience is increasingly important in a competitive job market and Leeds offers many opportunities to gain experience and develop skills valuable to employers, including our industrial placement and year abroad schemes, laboratory placement schemes, and volunteering via Leeds for Life..

Industrial Advisory Board

Our Industrial Advisory Board gives employers the chance to input directly into programme and module content. This ensures that our programmes include appropriate training and skills so that our students and graduates are desirable to a broad range of graduate employers.

Join a global network of Leeds graduates

A remarkable variety of opportunities result from our relationships with our graduates, including access to the Leeds Graduate Careers Network.

Recent graduate jobs include:
Recent graduate employers include:
  • Bioscientist
  • Laboratory Steward
  • Phlebotomist
  • Research Scientist
  • AstraZeneca
  • NHS
  • Pfizer
  • 3M Healthcare Ltd

Read about more BSc Biochemistry graduates...

See more graduate profiles.

Careers Resources

For more information on our approach to graduate employability, please see: www.leeds.ac.uk/employability

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Students' Experiences

Rebecca Platt

Rebecca PlattRebecca did an industrial placement year at Pfizer.

"This was another very valuable experience which opened my eyes to a different world of science."


Ethan MorganLab session

Ethan earnt a Industrial Placement with Glaxosmithkline (GSK).

“The integrated nature of the course means that you are always engaging with different people on your course, such as people who sit on your lab bench and people who are in your tutorial group”


See more student profiles.

 

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