Timetable information in the Course Catalogue may be subject to change.

University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Biological Sciences : Postgraduate

Postgraduate Course: Tools for Synthetic Biology (PGBI11128)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Biological Sciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryTools for Synthetic Biology will teach the new tools and techniques being developed and employed in the rapidly expanding field of synthetic biology. The course will seek to teach students the theory behind the methods and how they are used in practice. It will encourage students to explore new ways of solving pressing global challenges.
Course description The course aims to teach students the underlying concepts behind synthetic biology and create a deep understanding of this cutting-edge field. Students will learn about different 'Tools for Synthetic Biology', techniques or scientific approaches that are particularly important for the field of Synthetic Biology:

1. Engineering biology and grand challenges
2. Genetic logic and analog circuits
3. DNA synthesis and assembly methods
4. CRISPR-Cas systems
5. Expanding the genetic code
6. Protein engineering and de novo design
7. Cell-free biology
8. RNA switches
9. Next generation sequencing
10. Genome Foundries

Students will be taught by expert practitioners through lectures, tutorials and practicals: they will learn the theory behind the tools (lectures and Q&A sessions), analyse how these are used in practice (tutorial papers) and apply this knowledge (in practicals).

Students will be assessed through short weekly assignments (brief lecture syntheses) and a final research project exploring how synthetic biology tools can be used to address new research questions.

Link to a video describing the course from the Course Organiser:
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  34
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 10, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 9, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 9, External Visit Hours 1, Online Activities 9, Formative Assessment Hours 7, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 151 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Lecture summaries (40%)
Design project (60%)
Feedback Summaries: feedback is provided weekly to allow students to progress week on week

Final essay: peer feedback in project pitching session, 1-to-1 feedback on project writing (optional), final feedback provided with mark
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Use analytical skills and have the ability to assess the pros and cons of new methods
  2. Recognise the opportunities presented by new biological discoveries
  3. Look at pressing problems from the perspective that these may have an innovative bio-based solution
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills We aim to produce rounded synthetic biology graduates skilled for research, for further education and for employment in biotechnology and other synthetic biology related industries.
Keywordssynthetic biology,engineering biology
Course organiserDr Elise Cachat
Tel: (0131 6)50 7780
Course secretaryMs Karen Sutherland
Tel: (0131 6)51 3404
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information