In the first year, students are oriented towards the programme through introductory lectures on
Molecular Biotechnology. This allows the student to have at the onset a broad overview of the
historical development of biotech, its impact on medicine, food and environment, to present day
developments in research, commercialisation of research and career prospects in Molecular
Biotechnology. These lectures are also aimed at exciting the students with the topics they may
learn in subsequent years. Correspondingly, students are given a broad- based foundation in the
basic sciences, that is Chemistry and Mathematics, Cell Biology and Microbiology together with
communication and relevant IT skills.
The second year of the course will build on the first year modules to add
220 further insights into topics such as Cell Technology, Applied Microbiology and
Molecular Genetics. At the same time, techniques employed in Molecular
Biology and Biochemistry including Bioinformatics skills will also be taught
In the final year, core subjects such as Proteomics, Genomics, Drug
Development, Molecular Biology of Infectious Diseases and Clinical Trials will
be taught. In addition, students have a choice of other modules to equip
them for career tracks in Research and Development (R&D)/Drug
Development, Bio-Manufacturing or Bio-Enterprise.
To graduate, students in the final year are required to work on a six-week on-
campus project and another six-week industry project. These projects allow
students to consolidate and integrate the skills and theories learnt during the
course by translating them into project deliverables.
Throughout the course, students will be encouraged to be innovative,
analytical, independent thinkers with an entrepreneurial mindset through the
application of case studies, industrial attachments and in-house projects. As
Life Sciences is multi-disciplinary, students will also be challenged to think
creatively across disciplines.
Diploma in Molecular BiotechnologyCourse Aims
The course equips students with:
Graduates will find jobs in three main career tracks:
• knowledge of basic sciences essential to understand Life
• Research and Development (R&D)/Drug Development
Sciences i.e. Inorganic, Organic, and Physical Chemistry;
- as technologists in R&D and drug development
Mathematics and IT.
programmes of research institutes and centres, hospitals
• firm grounding in Molecular Biology, Cell Biology,
and laboratories, clinical trial organizations and
Microbiology and Biochemistry. These provide the
foundation for more specialized topics including Cell
Technology, Applied Microbiology, Immunology, Molecular
Genetics, Molecular Biology of Infectious Disease, Drug
- involved in working under GMP/GLP conditions in the
Development, Principles of Clinical Trials, Cell
manufacturing operations of bio-pharmaceutical and
Communication, Stem Cells, Bioprocess Design and
medical devices companies.
Biosensors and Biomedical Devices.
• a wide variety of laboratory techniques employed in
Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, Microbiology and Cell
- as business development, sales and marketing
Biology and the biosafety aspects.
executives of pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical
• thorough working knowledge of Good Manufacturing and
devices companies. 221
Good Laboratory Practices (GMP & GLP).
• specialist skills in the use of IT and databases to address
• knowledge of the major technological advances in Life
Sciences as well as emerging fields of the post-genomics
Applicants for the diploma course must have obtained the
era, including Proteomics, Functional Genomics, DNA
following minimum GCE ‘O’ level results:
chips and Microarray, Stem Cells and Tissue Engineering.
• good understanding of the business concepts (including
• English Language (EL1) Grade 1 - 7
marketing, accounting, finance and entrepreneurship) and
• Elementary or Additional Mathematics Grade 1 - 6
issues relating to intellectual property rights pertinent to
• A relevant Science subject Grade 1 - 6
the Life Sciences industry.
• analytical, independent & collaborative learning, research,
communication and interpersonal skills.
Please see section on Entry Requirements for Diploma
• awareness of the social and ethical issues that surround
Courses for more details.
the various issues in Life Sciences.
Duration: 3 academic years on a full-time basis
Diploma in Molecular BiotechnologyCOURSE STRUCTURE
YEAR 1 - SEMESTERS 1 & 2 YEAR 3 - SEMESTERS 1 & 2
LS1100 Introduction to Molecular Biotechnology
LS1101 Physical Chemistry
LS3101 Drug Development
LS1102 Inorganic Chemistry
LS3102 Structural & Functional Genomics
LS1103 Cell Biology
LS3103 MolecularBiology of Infectious Diseases
LS1104 Mathematics for Life Science
LS3104 Principles of Clinical Trials
LS1105 Microbiology A
LS3105 Essentials of Business Management
LS1106 Communication Skills
LS1200 Organic Chemistry
LS4100 Bioprocess Design
LS4101 Biosensors & Biomedical Devices
LS1202 Microbiology B
LS4102 Cell Communication
LS1203 Research Writing & Communication
222 LS4103 Stem Cells & Tissue Engineering
LS1204 Information Technology in Life Science
LS4104 Marketing for Life Sciences
To complete 1 module in languages or 2 modules of both
‘Appreciation in Health Sciences’ and ‘Engineering for Life
YEAR 2 - SEMESTERS 1 & 2
LS2100 Molecular Biology & Techniques
LS2101 Analytical Biochemistry
LS2102 Cell Technology A
LS2103 Human Biology and Disease
LS2104 Applied Microbiology
LS2200 Introduction to Immunology
LS2201 Molecular Genetics
LS2203 Protein Technology
LS2204 Bioprocess Technology
LS2205 Cell Technology B
Diploma in Molecular BiotechnologySYNOPSIS OF MODULES
Mathematics for Life Science [60 hours]
Introduction to Molecular Biotechnology [60 hours]
Algebra, calculus, probability, probability distribution and their
The history of biotechnology and its impact on medicine, food
applications. integration, differential equation. Represent
production, agriculture, environmental science. Ethical issues, social
quantitative data on linear or semilogarithmic graphs. Exponentials
implications and regulation with regard to genetic modification
and logarithms. Interpolation, approximation, limiting behaviour,
and genome projects. Intellectual property. Commercialisation of
maximum and minimum and locating zeros.
research. Cross-disciplinary nature of applied life science. Career
prospects in applied life science.
Microbiology A [60 hours]
This course will explore the molecular bases for physiological and
Physical Chemistry [60 hours]
biochemical diversity among members of the two major domains,
Topics in physical chemistry that are important for understanding
Bacteria and Archaea. Students should gain an understanding of
processes in biological systems. Included are: the concept of pH,
the concepts of microbial structure. Molecular, genetic, and
acids and bases, atomic structure, chemical equilibrium, factors
structure function analyses of microbial cell cycle, adaptive
affecting chemical reactions, balancing equations, thermodynamics,
responses, metabolic capability, and macromolecular syntheses will
bonding theory, radioactivity and membrane/action potential.
Practical sessions will involve solution preparation (Molar, Normal,
% w/w, % w/v, % v/v), including dilution from standards. Titration
with standard solutions to determine concentration. Calculation
Communication Skills [30 hours]
of stock solutions from molecular formula, specific gravity and %
Equips students with the essential skills in basic communications.
concentration. Interconversion of values currently used in calculating
Topics covered include elements of the communication process,
concentration of solutions. Conversion between kilogram - pound
barriers to communication, effective writing skills, academic report
and degrees Centigrade - degrees Farenheit.
writing and oral presentation skills.
Inorganic Chemistry [60 hours]
Organic Chemistry [60 hours]
Periodic table. Descriptive chemistry of the elements. Properties,
Chemistry of alkanes, alkenes, alkynes, alcohols, carboxylic acids,
structures, and typical reactions of the elements of the periodic
aldehydes, ketones and their derivatives, isoprenes and detergents.
table and their compounds; basic principles of inorganic chemistry.
Nomenclature. Types of organic reactions. Stereoisomers.
Cell Biology [75 hours]
Biochemistry [90 hours]
Introduction to the cell as the unit of life, cell cycle, mitosis, meiosis.
Chemistry of carbohydrates, lipids, protein and nucleic acid. Types
Cell membrane - structure and function. Cell surface and
of chemical bonds. Primary, secondary, tertiary and quarternary
cytoplasmic membranes. Organelles. Protein trafficking.
structures of these molecules. Enzymes & co-factors. Metabolic
Prokaryotes, eukaryotes, and viruses. The cytoskeleton, cell shape
pathways & energy production.
and motility. Cell-cell communication. Respiration and
photosynthesis. Genome, chromatin and DNA as genetic material.
Mutations, oncogenes and cancer. Telomeres and aging.
Differentiation and apoptosis.
Diploma in Molecular BiotechnologyLS1202 LS2100
Microbiology B [60 hours] Molecular Biology & Techniques [105 hours]
Viruses as infectious agents of bacteria, plants, and animals Biochemistry of DNA; the Central Dogma: DNA, RNA, and protein
(vertebrates and invertebrates). Several families of viruses will be synthesis; Mechanisms of DNA replication, transcription, translation;
compared with respect to biochemical, structural and morphological mutation and repair; recombination and transposition; the genetic
properties, and strategies of infection and replication. code; structure of genes and chromosomes; the turning on and
off of genes. Complementary lab-based module covers essential
LS1203 techniques in gene cloning, recombinant DNA, restriction mapping,
Research Writing & Communication [30 hours] isolation of cDNA and genomic DNA clones by hybridisation,
This module provides students with further skills to effectively write Southern and Northern blotting, polymerase chain reaction, DNA
and present research work. Topics taught include methods of sequencing; protein structure and function, protein engineering
researching for materials, writing styles, parenthetical citation and and site-directed mutagenesis; genetic
use of various presentation media/resources. There will also be complementation, transposon tagging.
practical sessions for students to gain confidence in making oral
presentations and practice report writing. LS2101
Analytical Biochemistry [45 hours]
LS1204 Students are taught the principles behind instruments for
Information Technology in Life Sciences [75 hours] microscopy, purification and sequencing of protein/DNA, pH
Introduction to basic computer application tools in addressing measurement, separation of biomolecules (paper, thin layer
biological questions: Windows Internet Explorer in literature chromatography, gel permeation, gas and high performance liquid
searches and data mining, software packages for data management, chromatography, SDS-PAGE), centrifugation, UV-visible
electronic spreadsheet, statistical/data analysis (SPSS). spectrophotometry, atomic absorption spectroscopy, mass
spectrometry. The module also covers techniques such as Western
LS1205 blotting and radioimmunoassay. Issues relating to biosafety,
Biostatistics [45 hours] including the handling of hazardous materials and radioisotopes
Biostatistics: application of basic statistical methods and will be highlighted.
experimental design to biological data. Introduction to data analysis.
Data collation and analysis. Summarising data and exploring LS2102
relationships to formulate hypothesis. Communicating and Cell Technology A [90 hours]
evaluating methods of data analyses. Principles and techniques in animal cell culture; media, preservation
of cell line, detection of mycoplasma; primary cell line; batch and
Complementary Electives [60 hours] continuous culture systems; scale-up cultures in bioreactor systems
To complete 1 module in either one language (French or German) including stirred tank bioreactors, microcarrier systems and hollow
or 2 modules in ‘Engineering for Life Sciences’ and ‘Appreciation fiber systems.
of Health Sciences’.
Diploma in Molecular BiotechnologyLS2103 LS2201
Human Biology and Disease [90 hours] Molecular Genetics [75 hours]
This module seeks to help student understand molecular biology Topics include: transformation, transfection and transduction;
in the context of human anatomy, physiological processes and pioneering studies on bacterial genetics, use of mutants; positive
diseases. Introduction to the terminology and basic concepts of and negative gene regulation; mechanisms of gene regulation at
human anatomy and physiology. Aspects of developmental the level of transcription; chromatin structure; mutation, DNA
anatomy and systemic anatomy including cardiovascular, respiratory, damage & repair; gene cloning, vectors (plasmids, cosmids, yeast
nervous, renal, circulatory and endocrine systems are included. The artificial chromosomes), gene libraries and gene sequencing;
functional aspects of these organ systems will be covered in systemic mechanism of genetic recombination; DNA methylation; RNA
physiology. Aspects of pathological physiology especially those with processing; mRNA localization and protein synthesis and
genetic etiologies will be discussed. degradation. Methods used to study gene expression: gene chip,
DNA microarray, bead technology; gene therapy.
Applied Microbiology [75 hours] LS2202
A survey of modern developments emphasizing the application of Bioinformatics [45 hours]
the knowledge of fundamental microbiology to industrial processes, Molecular Biology as an Information Science. Molecular Biology
agriculture and medicine. Topics include production of recombinant info from DNA, protein and other macromolecules: sequences &
human therapeutics, metabolites, enzymes, wine, food, antibiotics structures. Whole genome sequences. Gene expression datasets
and single-cell proteins; genetic manipulation of microorganisms; from microarray data. Through demonstration and hands-on
recovery of minerals; and energy production. The diversity of computer exercises, students are introduced to the use of IT to
microorganisms, their genetic manipulation to optimise biochemical answer biological questions. Students will perform text based
processes and microbial growth will be discussed. searches on PubMed and use software relevant to molecular biology,
including those for DNA/protein sequence BLAST searches,
LS2200 sequence alignment, phylogenetic analysis, modelling based on 3-
Introduction to Immunology [75 hours] D structures of protein families and domains. Applications of
Function and organization of the immune system; B-cells; antibody- bioinformatics: designing drugs, finding homologues and
antigen interaction; functions of T-cells; tolerance, hypersensitivity comparative genomics.
and auto-immunity; complement and its control mechanisms; HLA
and MHC; transplantation; cytokine; host immune response and LS2203
strategies of pathogens to evade host immune system; Protein Technology [75 hours]
immunoassays & diagnostic kits. Introduction to techniques for protein purification; chromatography
based on ion-exchange, affinity, hydrophobic interaction, molecular
weight; Methods for studying protein interaction with itself and
other molecules; industrial application of protein technology:
immobilized enzymes, protein engineering.
Diploma in Molecular BiotechnologyLS2204 LS3102
Bioprocess Technology [75 hours] Structural & Functional Genomics [90 hours]
This module teaches the principles of bioprocess technology as Genome structure; genome mapping and sequencing; ESTs; expression
applied in the biotech industry. Strategies for processing raw arrays; differential display; SNPs; genome projects of human and other
material to the production of pure compounds will be taught. Topics organisms: applications & implications; techniques to study gene
covered include industrial bioprocesses in fermentation, use of function: in situ hybridisation, genetics in model organisms,
enzymes, basic concepts of bioprocess control, instrumentation, transgenics, gene knockouts; transcriptional profiling for disease
bioreactor design & choice for the culture of microorganisms, modeling and analysis, SNPs in pharmacogenetics.
mammalian and plant cells.
LS2205 Molecular Biology of Infectious Diseases [45 hours]
Cell Technology B [75 hours] Mechanisms of disease pathogenesis: antimicrobial resistance in TB
Insect cell culture and baculovirus systems; principles of generating and Staphylococcus aureus (bacterial), AIDS/Hepatitis (viral), malaria
hybridoma for production of monoclonal antibodies; application (parasitic), candidiasis (fungal); vectors; genetic basis of pathogen
of transfected mammalian cells for production of recombinant virulence, microbial physiology, experimental techniques; development
proteins; micropropagation of plant tissue as important sources of of vaccines; host immune response, role of lymphocyte subsets and
pharmaceutically active compounds; genetic manipulation of plant cytokines in regulation of immune responses.
LS3100 Principles of Clinical Trials [30 hours]
Proteomics [75 hours] The Scientific Method and development of the research proposal.
Protein sequencing & isolation, peptide synthesis, mass Introduction to pharmacology and drug action. Phases and design of
spectrometry, methods of three-dimensional structure analysis and trials. Research validity. Research ethics and good clinical research
molecular modeling, protein analysis by SDS-PAGE, silver staining, practice. Sampling. Design Strategies. Experiments, observations and
Western-blotting, and colorimetric and immunological (ELISA) surveys.
protein quantification. Enzyme kinetics: two-substrate kinetics and
inhibitor kinetics with model-evaluation. Proteomics: functional, LS3105
site map, expression; techniques of analysing protein expression: Essentials of Business Management [45 hours]
2-D gels, proteomic chip arrays, high resolution mass spectrometry; Students will be provided with a broad overview of business
2-hybrid screens; mutagenesis screens. management, basic principles of business finance, financial planning
Drug Development [75 hours]
Search and validation of drug targets; types of libraries:
combinatorial, natural product to screen with; rational and irrational
approaches in drug design; assay systems; high throughput
screening and robotics; chemical characterization of active
Diploma in Molecular BiotechnologyElectives Bio-Enterprise Stream
R&D/Drug Development Stream Marketing for Life Sciences [30 hours]
LS4102 Students will be given an overview of key differences in marketing
Cell Communication [30 hours] techniques/strategies and to appreciate the interaction of marketing
Forms of cell communication; second messengers, phosphorylation, variables and their impact on marketing decisions. They will also
lipids; receptors & signal transducers; specificity in network of learn how to use advertisement, public relations, direct marketing,
signalling; positive and negative regulation of signalling; effectors internet marketing (e-commerce) and sales promotion to market
: transcription factors, ion channels; consequences of aberrant cell products and services effectively. This will culminate in a project to
signalling; oncogenes. Relevance of proteins in cellular propose a marketing plan to promote products.
communication as drug targets.
LS4103 Bioinnovation [30 hours]
Stem Cells & Tissue Engineering [30 hours] The module will focus on the discoveries and innovation occurring
Properties of stem cells; purification and culture of stem cells; cell in the field and the integration of this new scientific know-how
growth on artificial matrices; blood substitutes; structure & function into the Biotechnology industry. Topics covered will also include
of extracellular matrix; cord blood stem cells; tissue engineering of intellectual property, technology transfer and entrepreneurship. This
skin, cartilage, bone and blood vessels. module will also cover managerial, entrepreneurial and financial
aspects of biotechnology. Case studies of real-life biotech ventures
Bio-Manufacturing Stream and commercialisation will be highlighted. Students will have be
LS4100 involved in small business development to propose a business plan
Bioprocess Design [30 hours] to bring a hypothetical research product from lab to market.
Students will be introduced to the principles of Good Laboratory &
Manufacturing Practices. Other topics include immobilised systems,
enzyme catalysed transformations, non aqueous systems,
modelling, control and regulation, properties and application of
products (inclusion complex formation, bioinorganic complex
systems, gel systems, specific syrups).
Biosensors and Biomedical Devices [30 hours]
This module examines the application of sensors and biomedical
devices in the modern biological and biomedical environment.
Emphasis will be laid at the interface between the life sciences and
electronical engineering. Students will be introduced to the clinical
applications of biosensors in the electronic monitoring of blood
sugar levels to non-invasive methods of monitoring physiological
parameters in patients such as ECG, EEG, EMG and blood pressure.
The advantages and disadvantages of using enzymes or whole cells
in biosensors will be discussed. Students will also given a broad
background on applications of artificial organs and biomaterials.
Case studies will form a major component of this module and
students will present a brief seminar on their case-study topic.
Diploma in Molecular Biotechnology