Student Pages
Postgraduate course

Structural Molecular Biology

Main content

Teaching semester

Spring. This course has a limited capacity, enrolment is based on application. Application deadline is Wednesday in week 2 for the spring semester.

Please see this page for more information: https://www.uib.no/en/matnat/53431/admission-courses-limited-capacity

You will receive confirmation of whether you received a spot in Studentweb no later than Tuesday the week after the deadline.

The first lecture/orientation meeting is compulsory, which means you will lose your spot if you do not attend class that day. The time of the first lecture/orientation meeting can be found in the schedule on the course website or on the "Mitt UiB" learning platform.

Objectives and Content


The course aims to give students knowledge about the relationship between biomacromolecules structure and their function. There will be an emphasize on how several biomacromolecules assembles into functional assemblies and how these give rise to cellular function.



Proteins will get the main focus of this course. Topics that will be covered include how amino acids are assembled into primary, secondary, tertiary and higher order structures and complexes, and how functional protein properties then emerge. How these physical, biochemical and biological properties are utilized in living organisms will then be discussed. Other biomolecules and assemblies of biomolecule will generally only be discussed in connection with their relationship to proteins. The course will build on concepts that has already been introduced earlier, including protein folding, allostery, catalysis and enzymology, ligand and effector binding, post-translational modifications, and signaling. An important aspect of the course will be how all these phenomena regulates, and is regulated by, protein function. The course will offer introductions into relevant methodology, in particular how one determine protein structures experimentally. The course will also discuss protein evolution from a structural perspective.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course the student should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


The student can explain in detail about

  • the different levels og protein structure, from the amino-acid level to larger, quaternary complexes
    • How proteins are synthetized, folded, and modified, and how these processes affect their function
  • forces and effects that leads to the formation of protein structures
  • how a protein uses its structural organization to achieve traits that do not occur in its individual components
  • how these properties underpin function at the molecular level in a living organism
  • how these protein functions are controlled by modification, localization and effector interactions
  • relevant methodology to study biomacromolecules in vitro and in vivo


The student is able to

  • explain (orally and in writing) how the topics outlined above acts together in cell processes such as signal transduction, endo / exocytosis, cell motility and gene regulation
  • choose the right methodology in order to answer simple (and possibly also difficult) questions linked to a given macropmolecualr problem
  • orient themselves in the spatial- and temporal scale that is associated with macromolecalar understanding
  • solve math- and theoretical tasks related to the topics discussed in the course
  • use Pymol, a program for working with protein structures, at a novice level.
  • work in a group to produce a (compulsory) written assignment about a MOL310 relevant topic of the group¿s choice. The assignment must hold a good level with respect to student insight, clarity of presentation and proper use of terminology.

General competence

The student has

  • the ability to place concepts discussed in MOL310 into a wider biological and chemical context, and moreover, reach their own conclusions independently of exisiting material
  • understood how particular protein achieves its specific and unique characteristics
  • the ability to convey qualitative and quantitative aspects of structural molecular biology, by oral and written means, to both specialists and non-specialists
  • the ability to navigate to and understand content in The Protein Databank.

Required Previous Knowledge

Bachelor's degree in molecular biology, or equivalent background.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

Mandatory attendance to orientation meeting about written assignments.

Obligatory activities are valid for total six semesters.

The first lecture/orientation meeting is compulsory.

Forms of Assessment

Written assignment (25 %) and written exam. Written exam counts 75 % and the written assignment 25 % of final grade. Due to coronavirus situation the exam spring semester 2020 will be digital written exam taken home. Exam time: 4,5 hours.

The written exam and the written assignment must be completed and compulsory activity approved, to obtain a grade in the teaching semester.

For a semester without teaching, the student may take the final exam if written assignment is approved. The result of the exam will constitute 75%, and the written assignment 25 % of final grade.

Examination support materials: Non- programmable calculator, according to model listed in faculty regulations

Due to the measures taken to avoid the spread of SARS-CoV-2, UiB is closed for teaching and assessment. As a consequence, the following changes is made to assessment spring semester 2020:

  • Written home examination counts for 65% of the grade
  • Assignments counts as 35% of the grade

Examination Support Material

Textbooks, teaching materials, own notaries and the internet are allowed during written school exams at home, together with simple calculator is equivalent to models specified in the faculty's rules. During school exams -home, it is not allowed to cooperate with fellow student (s) or others. Furthermore, it is important not to disturb fellow students during the exam.

Grading Scale

The grading scale used is A to F. Grade A is the highest passing grade in the grading scale, grade F is a fail.


Department og Biological Sciences, e-mail: studie@bio.uib.no

Exam information

  • For written exams, please note that the start time may change from 09:00 to 15:00 or vice versa until 14 days prior to the exam.

  • Type of assessment: To written eksamination

    Withdrawal deadline
    • Exam part: Written assignment

      Examination system
      Digital exam
    • Exam part: Written eksamination

      01.06.2021, 09:00
      4 hours
      Examination system
      Digital exam