UCL Department of Biochemical Engineering


Applied Molecular Biology for Biochemical Engineers 

Course Title BENG3012
Level Three
Credits 0.5
Course Tutors Dr Ivan Wall and Dr Darren Nesbeth
Assessment Three-hour examination (60%)
Coursework (40%)
Prerequisites Courses in upstream and downstream bioprocessing and cultivation in bioreactors.


As biologics become an increasingly important product class in the pharmaceutical industry so the skill sets of process engineers must expand to suit. The ability to acquire and manage DNA-based tools, conventionally restricted to product development, is now being applied to process development within a ‘whole bioprocess’ approach. The course will provide biochemical engineers with an understanding of the science and techniques of molecular biology as they relate to development of cell-based platform technologies. Application themes include host cells for biopharmaceutical manufacturing (biosimilars, vaccines), cells as therapeutics within regenerative medicine and development of whole cell biocatalysts in industrial biotechnology.

Learning Hours


Lectures, seminars and tutorials: 24h
Practical training and assessment: 40h
Coursework: 40h


DNA structure, replication, central dogma, genetic code, transcription, RNA structure, translation, tRNA and ribosome structure, nascent polypeptides, proteins, plasmids, chromosomes, genomes, cultivation of mammalian, yeast and bacterial cells, human cells as therapeutics, gene syntax in mammalian, yeast and bacterial cells, transfection of human cells, transformation of yeast and bacterial cells, synthetic biology, DNA analytics

Laboratory reports assessed as pre-prepared oral presentations on:

· design of preparative PCR strategy
· ligating PCR fragment into mammalian expression plasmid
· bacterial transformation
· diagnostic digest of resultant replicons

Examination of knowledge and understanding of molecular and cellular biology themes and how they relate to biochemical engineering.