module specification

NU5050 - Metabolic Biochemistry for Nutrition (2021/22)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2021/22
Module title Metabolic Biochemistry for Nutrition
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Human Sciences
Total study hours 150
111 hours Guided independent study
39 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Group Presentation 60%   Group presentation (5 min) and individual report (1000 words)
Unseen Examination 40%   Exam (1 hour)
Running in 2021/22
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester North Wednesday Morning

Module summary

This module focuses on understanding key principles of metabolism. These principles are illustrated through study of the major metabolic pathways. How metabolism interacts with the nutritional environment is discussed throughout the module.
The aims of this module are aligned with the qualification descriptors within the Quality Assurance Agency’s Framework for Higher Education Qualifications This module aims to provide an understanding of the principles of metabolism encourage an appreciation of the diversity and interconnection of metabolic pathways, relate these to nutritional status and to stimulate an understanding of the applicability of metabolism in a broad range of biological context. This module will also provide learners with the qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring the exercise of some personal responsibility and decision making.

Prior learning requirements

NU4052 OR DT4052


The specified learning outcomes will be developed around a framework based on the following subject matter:  LO1-6
Carbohydrate metabolism: glycolysis, gluconeogenesis, their metabolic roles and importance in energy supply and provision of precursors. The role of allosteric enzymes in the control of metabolism: phosphofructokinase and the control of glycolysis. Regulation of glycogen synthesis and breakdown. Carboxylic acid metabolism: Krebs cycle, dehydrogenation reactions, proton and electron acceptors, electron transport. Interconversion of fats and carbohydrates. Lipid metabolism: fatty acids and other esters - functions, transport and storage; biosynthesis, degradation and desaturation. Acetyl CoA carboxylase and fatty acid biosynthesis. Purines and pyrimidines: biosynthesis, degradation and metabolic significance. The control of pyrimidine biosynthesis by aspartate transcarbamoylase. Amino acid metabolism: nitrogen sources, nitrogen pool, amination, deamination and transamination. Biosynthesis and catabolism of amino acids and the regulation of pathways. Cellular integrations: signal transduction, membrane proteins; role of cyclic nucleotides; transcriptional control of metabolism.

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Learners will be provided with the opportunity to acquire knowledge of the subject matter through a variety of teacher led activities and self-directed study. Teacher led activities will include traditional and interactive lectures (22 hours), problem solving and revision tutorials (9 hours), and seminar presentations (8 hours). Theoretical and practical problems will be employed to assist learners in the development of their analytical and problem solving capabilities. Learners will be given access to formative on-line quizzes (20 hours).
Learners' ability to handle and interpret information will be encouraged through laboratory based investigations taken over several weeks and the guided use of expected directed reading of additional literature on the subject, video material and other learning resources.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module learners will be able to:
1. Describe the main features, regulation and interconnection of key metabolic pathways
2. Explain how energy is conserved and utilized in metabolic pathways and relate this to nutritional status
3. Explain and evaluate the range and diversity of metabolic processes
4. Critically assess and interpret information from a variety of sources, including primary sources such as laboratory data and published research papers.
5.Understand how experimental evidence has been used to support theories of metabolism
6. Develop transferable skills through accurate writing and science communication.

Assessment strategy

The module will be assessed by means of a coursework component and an unseen in-class test (1 hour) (40%). The coursework will consist of a group presentation and report (1000 words) (60%) The provision of formative feedback will be achieved by a formative seminar session with in class feedback.
To pass the module learners need to achieve a minimum aggregate mark of 40%.

                                                        Learning Outcomes:
Unseen exam                                  1, 2, 3
Presentation and report                   3, 4,5,6


Elliot, WH, Elliot DC (2009) Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (4th edition). Oxford Nelson,
D.L and Cox, M.M (2016). Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry (5th edition). London. Worth (core)
Appleton A, Vanbergen O (2015) Crash Course: Metabolism and Nutrition (4th edition). London. Mosby (core)
Stryer, L , Berg LM, Tymoczko JL (2011). Biochemistry (7th edition).London.  Freeman.