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Undergraduate courses

Student advisors
Dr Rob Ingle (robert.ingle@uct.ac.za; +27 21 650 2406; rm 423)
Dr Paul Meyers (paul.meyers@uct.ac.za; +27 21 650 2402; rm 227B)


SECOND YEAR COURSES

  • MCB2020F BIOLOGICAL INFORMATION TRANSFER

    Entrance is limited to 140 students; No semester abroad students will be admitted to this course.
    24 NQF credits at HEQSF level 6

    Convener
    Dr P Meyers

    Course entry requirements
    CEM1000W or equivalent, BIO1000F and BIO1004S (or equivalent).

    Course outline
    This course introduces students to fundamental concepts in genetics and examines how biological information is organised, used and transferred in viruses, prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Topics covered include the biological explanations for Mendel's laws of genetics, principles of evolutionary genetics, genome organisation, horizontal gene transfer and gene structure and regulation.
    Lecture times
    Monday - Friday, 4th period

    DP requirements 
    50% average for assignments and practical reports; attendance at all practicals and tutorials. 

    Assessment
    Tests and assignments count 40%; practicals count 10%; one three-hour paper written in June counts 50%. A subminimum of 40% in the examination is required.

  • MCB2021F MOLECULAR BIOSCIENCE

    Entrance is limited to 140 students; No semester abroad students will be admitted to this course.
    24 NQF credits at HEQSF level 6

    Convener
    Dr T Oelgeschläger

    Course entry requirements
    CEM1000W or equivalent, BIO1000F and BIO1004S (or equivalents) 

    Course outline
    This course will introduce students to the concepts of biological chemistry fundamental to understanding the distinctive properties of living matter and biological processes. The course covers core principles in three major areas, (i) the structural chemistry of key components of living matter and the relationship between chemical structure and biological function of these components, (ii) metabolism - the nature of chemical reactions that occur in living matter and (iii) the chemistry of molecules and processes involved in the transmission of biological information. In addition to these core principles, students will learn about scientific method, basic biochemistry/molecular biology
    techniques and experimental design.

    Lecture times
    Monday - Friday, 5th period

    DP requirements
    50% average for assignments and practical reports; attendance at all practicals and turorials.

    Assessment
    Tests and assignments count 40%; practicals count 10%; one three-hour paper written in June counts 50%. A subminimum of 40% in the examination is required. 

  • MCB2022S METABOLISM & BIOENGINEERING

    Entrance is limited to 140 students.
    24 NQF credits at HEQSF level 6

    Convener
    To be advised

    Course entry requirements
    MCB2020F and MCB2021F (or at least 40% subminimum for the examinations and a final mark of 45% (supplementary) for these courses)

    Course outline
    This course will introduce students to some key aspects of metabolic energy production in eukaryotic and prokaryotic systems. It aims to raise awareness of issues at the forefront of the discipline and give students the ability to dissect problems in order to identify solutions. Topics covered may include carbohydrate and lipid metabolism, metabolic integration, the metabolic diversity in Bacteria and Archaea, and bioengineering in bacteria and plants.

    Lecture times
    Monday - Friday, 5th period

    DP requirements
    50% average for assignments and practical reports; attendance at all practicals and tutorials.

    Assessment
    Tests and assignments count 40%; practicals count 10%; one three-hour paper written in November counts 50%. A subminimum of 40% in the examination is required.

  • MCB2023S FUNCTIONAL GENETICS

    Entrance is limited to 140 students
    24 NQF credits at HEQSF level 6

    Convener
    Professor N Illing

    Course entry requirements
    MCB2020F and MCB2021F (or at least a 40% subminimum for the examinations and a final mark of 45% (supplementary) for these courses)

    Course outline
    The course lays the foundation for the major in genetics, and shows how the tools of classical and molecular genetics can be applied to understanding the regulation of gene expression, cell differentiation and patterning in bacteria and eukaryotes. Concepts covered include gene mapping, forward and reverse genetics; microbial genetics, including regulation of the lac operon; CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing and DNA repair; alternative splicing and sex-determination; epigenetic mechanisms used in dosage compensation; the genetic analysis of cell cycle regulation; stem cell technology and axis determination in Drosophila.

    Lecture times
    Monday - Friday, 4th period

    DP requirements
    50% average for assignments and practical reports; attendance at all practicals and tutorials.

    Assessment
    Tests and assignments count 40%; practicals count 10%; one three-hour paper written in November counts 50%. A subminimum of 40% in the examination is required. 

 


THIRD YEAR COURSES

  • MCB3012Z RESEARCH PROJECT IN MOLECULAR & CELL BIOLOGY

    0 NQF credits at HEQSF level 7

    Convener
    Dr C O’Ryan 

    Course entry requirements
    MCB3025F or MCB3026F (or concurrent registration in, MCB3023S or MCB3024S).

    Course outline
    Groups of students will select and perform a research project two afternoons per week by arrangement. The work will be written up in the form of a research paper. This course replaces practical classes for all the third year second semester MCB courses. 

    DP requirements
    None

    Assessment
    Project counts 100% 

  • MCB3023S MOLECULAR EVOLUTIONARY GENETICS & DEVELOPMENT

    36 NQF credits at HEQSF level 7

    Convener
    Professor E Rybicki

    Course entry requirements
    MCB2020F, MCB2021F and MCB2022S or MCB2023S 

    Course outline
    This course provides advanced level studies in the area of molecular evolutionary genetics and development. Focus is placed on understanding key experiments in these fields and on interpreting data. Topics covered include: Principles of mouse molecular genetics applied to limb and neural development; evo-devo or how genetic change leads to morphological diversity; interactions between genetics, the environment and development. 

    Lecture times
    Monday - Friday, 4th period

    DP requirements
    None

    Assessment
    Tests count 40%; one 3-hour examination written in November counts 60%. A subminimum of 40% in the examination is required.

  • MCB3024S DEFENCE & DISEASE

    36 NQF credits at HEQSF level 7

    Convener
    Associate Professor R Ingle

    Course entry requirements
    MCB2020F, MCB2021F and MCB2022S or MCB2023S

    Course outline
    This course will examine the innate immune systems of invertebrates and plants. The focus will switch to the adaptive immune system, with emphasis on three major disease challenges in South Africa, such as HIV, TB and malaria, and host-pathogen interactions. Finally, the course will examine strategies to produce vaccines that enable immunity to viral infection.

    Lecture times
    Monday - Friday, 5th period

    DP requirements
    None

    Assessment
    Tests count 40%; one 3-hour examination written in November counts 60%. A subminimum of 40% in the examination is required.

  • MCB3025F STRUCTURAL & CHEMICAL BIOLOGY

    Entrance is limited to 90 students.
    36 NQF credits at HEQSF level 7 

    Convener
    Dr R Hurdayal

    Course entry requirements
    MCB2020F, MCB2021F and MCB2022S or MCB2023S

    Course outline
    This course addresses how modern techniques of structural and chemical biology are being used to solve biological problems. It draws on multiple aspects of macromolecular biochemistry including nucleic acid structure and interactions, signalling proteins and membrane proteins, and demonstrates how this knowledge can be used in drug discovery and protein design in biotechnology. Topics include: mechanisms of reversible and irreversible enzyme inhibitors, ligand binding, protein folding, molecular basis for protein function, regulation of protein activity, cell signalling and proteomics.

    Lecture times
    Monday - Friday, 5th period

    DP requirements
    50% average for assignments and practical reports; attendance at all practicals and tutorials.

    Assessment
    Tests count 40%; practicals, tutorials essays and assignments count 10%; one 3-hour examination written in June counts 50%. A subminimum of 40% in the examination is required. 

  • MCB3026F MOLECULAR GENETICS AND GENOMICS

    Entrance is limited to 90 students.
    36 NQF credits at HEQSF level 7

    Convener
    Dr S Rafudeen

    Course entry requirements
    MCB2020F, MCB2021F and MCB2022S or MCB2023S

    Course outline
    This course explores various topics in molecular genetics covering humans, plants, bacteria, viruses and mobile genetic elements (MGEs). Focus is given to understanding genetic mechanisms by studying genes, proteins, antisense RNA, sRNA and the role they play in regulatory and biochemical processes. Topics include plasmid biology, regulation of viral lifecycles, bacterial biosynthetic pathways, human genetic disorders, transgenic plants and metagenomics among others. Different and cutting-edge tools in modern day molecular biology are taught with an emphasis on data analyses and interpretation and these include bioinformatics (DNA sequence analysis, assembly, annotation, databases, BLAST, primer design), phylogenetics, Next generation sequencing, RNA sequencing and genome projects.

    Lecture times
    Monday - Friday, 4th period

    DP requirements
    50% average for assignments and practical reports; attendance at all practicals and tutorials.

    Assessment
    Tests count 40%; practicals, tutorials, essays and assignments count 10%; one 3-hour examination written in June counts 50%. A subminimum of 40% in the examination is required. 

 

Useful links

Science Faculty Handbook
Undergraduate student prospectus
Applying to UCT
Fees and funding