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Throughout the 2021-22 academic year, we will be prioritising face to face teaching as part of a blended learning approach that builds on the lessons learned over the course of the Coronavirus pandemic. Teaching will vary between online and on-campus delivery through the year, and you should read guidance from the academic department for details of how this will work for a particular module. You can find out more about the University’s overall response to Coronavirus at:

BS358-15 Biological Clocks

Life Sciences
Undergraduate Level 3
Module leader
Isabelle Carre
Credit value
Module duration
10 weeks
100% coursework
Study location
University of Warwick main campus, Coventry
Introductory description

This final year module allows the students to bring their extensive background in molecular biology to bear on a complex and wide ranging topic which crosses phylum boundaries, is largely new to them, and which is one of the department’s areas of research expertise

Module aims

The module begins with the molecular mechanisms of the circadian system and moves on to clock-regulated processes in whole organisms, including their interactions with the environment and seasonality. Emphasis of the course is placed on understanding how research progresses. Lectures alternate with workshops in which students discuss landmark papers in the field. Students are exposed to a broad range of research approaches and experimental techniques and learn to interpret a variety of data types

Outline syllabus

This is an indicative module outline only to give an indication of the sort of topics that may be covered. Actual sessions held may differ.

1 Isabelle Carre Introduction. General properties of circadian clocks; adaptive significance; human chronotypes
2 Isabelle Carre Identification of clock genes.
3 Isabelle Carre Molecular mechanisms
4 Isabelle Carre Research paper analysis
5 Isabelle Carre Anatomical location of clocks. Hierarchical organisation or circadian oscillators in animals
6 Isabelle Carre input and output from the circadian clock
7 Isabelle Carre Research paper analysis
8 R Dallmann The interplay between the circadian clock and metabolism
9 R Dallmann Impact of circadian disruption on human health
10 R Dallmann Chronopharmacology
11 R Dallmann Research paper analysis
12 Isabelle Carre How circadian rhythms contribute to plant fitness.
13 Isabelle Carre Seasonal responses in plants and animals
14 Isabelle Carre Seasonal responses in plants and animals
15 Isabelle Carre Research paper analysis

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • LO1 Students should develop a better appreciation of the importance of temporal organization in Biology
  • LO2 From the recent research on the molecular mechanisms of circadian rhythms, they should become familiar with the current picture of biological pacemakers in several organisms.
  • LO3 Students will learn to interpret different types of research data and to formulate their own independent conclusions
Indicative reading list

"Rhythms of life. The biological clocks that control the daily life of every living thing" by Russel Foster and Leon Kreitzman. Profile Books. 2004. ISBN 186-197-235-0
Chronbiology: biological timekeeping. Edited by J. C. Dunlap, J. J. Loros and P. J. DeCoursey. W. H. Freeman. Sinauer associates. 2004. ISBN 0-87893-149-X
Young, M. W. and Kay, S. A. (2001) Time zones: a comparative genetics of circadian clocks. Nature Reviews Genetics 2: 702-715

Subject specific skills

a. Demonstrate clear understanding of the scientific topic
b. Contain evidence of extended reading and lateral integration of material not covered in the lectures
c. Demonstrate independent thought and deep understanding
d. Specifically answer the set question using information from multiple lectures and sources
e. Be structured and formatted in a way that demonstrates understanding and logical flow
f. Use multiple sources to construct complex scientific arguments and integrating these to build and develop the student's own scientific conclusions.
g. Use of quantitative skills to analyse and interpret published scientific data

Transferable skills
  1. Critical appraisal of source material
  2. Self directed learning
  3. Adult learning

Teaching split

Provider Weighting
Life Sciences 74%
Warwick Medical School 26%

Study time

Type Required
Lectures 20 sessions of 1 hour (12%)
Private study 130 hours (76%)
Assessment 20 hours (12%)
Total 170 hours
Private study description

130 hrs of self-study and directed reading to prepare for the open book assessment


No further costs have been identified for this module.

You must pass all assessment components to pass the module.

Assessment group A
Weighting Study time
Open Book Assessment 100% 20 hours

Final assessment for the module will be on open book assessment. This is assessment consisting of 4 questions- students need to answer 2.

Feedback on assessment

Pastoral meetings with personal tutor


This module is Core optional for:

  • Year 3 of UIPA-C1L8 Undergraduate Life Sciences and Global Sustainable Development

This module is Optional for:

  • Year 3 of UBSA-C700 Undergraduate Biochemistry
  • Year 3 of ULFA-C1A2 Undergraduate Biochemistry (MBio)
  • Year 4 of ULFA-C702 Undergraduate Biochemistry (with Placement Year)
  • Year 3 of ULFA-C1A6 Undergraduate Biochemistry with Industrial Placement (MBio)
  • Year 3 of UBSA-3 Undergraduate Biological Sciences
  • Year 3 of ULFA-C1A1 Undergraduate Biological Sciences (MBio)
  • Year 4 of UBSA-4 Undergraduate Biological Sciences (with Intercalated Year)
  • Year 4 of ULFA-C113 Undergraduate Biological Sciences (with Placement Year)
  • Year 3 of ULFA-C1A5 Undergraduate Biological Sciences with Industrial Placement (MBio)
  • Year 3 of UBSA-C1B9 Undergraduate Biomedical Science
  • Year 3 of ULFA-C1A3 Undergraduate Biomedical Science (MBio)
  • Year 3 of ULFA-C1A7 Undergraduate Biomedical Science with Industrial Placement (MBio)
  • Year 4 of ULFA-CB18 Undergraduate Biomedical Science with Placement Year
  • Year 3 of ULFA-B140 Undergraduate Neuroscience (BSc)
  • Year 3 of ULFA-B142 Undergraduate Neuroscience (MBio)
  • Year 3 of ULFA-B143 Undergraduate Neuroscience (with Industrial Placement) (MBio)