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Student advisors:
Dr Rob Ingle (; +27 21 650 2406; rm 423)
Dr Shane Murray (; +27 21 650 2402; rm 227B)

















MCB2020F: Biological Information Transfer
This course introduces students to concepts of molecular genetics that are fundamental to molecular and cell biology. Topics covered will include genome organisation and gene structure of viruses, plasmids, bacteria (including plasmids), transposons, plants and animals; horizontal gene transfer, mechanisms of heredity; prokaryotic and eukaryotic gene structure and information transfer as applied to viruses, plasmids, bacteria, plants and animals; basic cell signalling in bacteria, plants and animals; principles of evolutionary genetics.

MCB2021F: Molecular Bioscience
This course will introduce students to the concepts of biological chemistry fundamental to molecular biology as a basis to understanding the distinctive properties of microbial and eukaryotic living systems. Properties of biological molecules and macromolecules will be discussed, as well as recombinant DNA technology and energy production in cells. Students will also learn basic molecular techniques and experimental design.

MCB2022S: Metabolism & Bioengineering
This course will introduce students to some key aspects of metabolic energy production and how this can be exploited in developing renewable energy production. 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. Specific topics covered will include the metabolic diversity in Bacteria and Archaea e.g. nitrogen fixation, methane production; anoxygenic photosynthesis will be considered and well as how the growth of microorganisms can be controlled by physical, chemical, mechanical, or biological means. The harnessing of photosynthesis in plants and algae for renewable energy production, as well as the conversion of biomass to other fuels, will also be discussed.

MCB2023S: Functional Genetics
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 will include forward and reverse genetics; the genetics of mitochondria and chloroplasts; human genetics; the genetic analysis of cell cycle regulation and axis determination in Drosophila; microbial genetics, including regulation of the lac operon, and lysogeny and lysis of bacteriophage lambda.


MCB3012Z: Research project in Molecular & Cell Biology
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.

MCB3019F: Recombinant DNA, Genomics & Proteomics
This course includes recombinant DNA techniques and an introduction to genomic/proteomic and computational approaches to study molecular systems. Topics include: DNA isolation, restriction endonucleases, cloning, polymerase chain reaction, genetic and physical maps, DNA sequencing, databases, comparative genomics, gene expression analysis, proteomics.

MCB3020F: Protein Structure & Function
This course deals with aspects of protein structure and function covering the following topics: protein purification, protein secondary, tertiary and quaternary structure, advanced aspects of enzymology, non-Michaelis Menten Kinetics, WMC model, cooperativity and allostery, Scatchard and Hill plots, haemoglobin, myoglobin, bisubstrate reactions, protein-DNA interactions, cell signalling, signal transduction, receptor structure, channels and neurotransmission.

MCB3021F: Molecular Microbial Genetics
This course deals with the major aspects of molecular microbial genetics, including bacterial genetics, recombination and repair, and prokaryotic gene regulation.

MCB3022S: Advanced Biotechnology
This course focusses on developments in the area of advanced biotechnology, including new venture planning, metabolic engineering, bioethanol; beer and wine biotechnology; biotransformations; heterologous gene expression; bioprocess technology; bioprocess kinetics.

MCB3023S: Molecular Evolutionary Genetics & Development
This course provides advanced level studies in the area of molecular evolutionary genetics and development. The topics covered include: Molecular data used in evolutionary genetics: neutral theory of evolution; behavioural genetics. Principles of mouse molecular genetics applied to vertebrate eye, limb and neural development. Evolution of development; evolution of sex; interactions between the environment and development.

MCB3024S: Defence & Disease
This course will introduce the vertebrate immune system and its components such as MHC cell structure and pathogen recognition. The immune systems of invertebrates and plants will then be examined. The focus will switch to the three major disease challenges in South Africa, HIV, TB and malaria, and host-pathogen interactions. Finally, the course will focus on strategies to produce vaccines that enable immunity to viral infection.

For more information, download the Science Faculty Handbook or Undergraduate student prospectus.