Biology Semester Two: Begin!

With a new semester comes new modules (unless you have any that stretch over them both, which I don’t), so I thought I’d give a little run down of my first impressions on the modules I have started this week in 2017.

Western Campus – Partially showing the GeoSciences building.

Biogeography: This module is one that is a kind of collaboration between the Geosciences and Biology department. Despite being two different modules for both departments, they overlap so much that the majority of them are taught together.

The study of biogeography is defined simply as ‘the distribution of species around the globe,’ and the module deals with exactly that. The first session introduced the very idea of what a “species” is, and how they come to be. Of course, their distribution, and how they come to be distributed, was explained next – particularly the idea of Gondwanan distribution (Gondwana was a supercontinent, like Pangea that broke apart to form the continents and microcontinents we know today. Knowing that this is only the tip of the biogeographical iceberg has me excited for what future lectures have in store.

Research Methods: The EHU website concisely summarises the module on their website. An essential program to biological research, R, will be taught.

“Research Methods in Biology introduces you to essential biological research methods and data analysis. You will examine experimental design and analysis with varied types of data and subsequently design a study of your own.” – Edge Hill University

As well as this, the actual assessment section of the module this year will be centred around a research project that is conducted over the course of a week in pairs, and presented on a poster during a “conference style” poster evening.

Biochemistry & Metabolism: The module this year focuses on “biomolecules, the different types of anabolic and catabolic pathways, as well as basic concepts in enzymology and eukaryotic and prokaryotic cellular energetics” (as stated by EHU).

However the intriguing part about the module this year is that part our assessment will be based on a presentation we give in conjunction with animation students. This provides valuable experience in working with others who may have less understanding of scientific terms and concepts. Communication will obviously be a vital part of this assessment – as biologists, we will have to explain our assigned biological process; on the flip side, the animators will have to explain to us what is feasible in terms on the animated end product.

Semester One Biology Highlights

Since semester one has essentially finished (bar a few exams and reports being due), I thought I’d take this time to look back on my favourite parts of the modules I’ve experiences on the second year of my undergrad Biology degree.

Life On The Edge

Tech Hub

Life On The Edge (LOTE) is the new and improved version of the Environmental Physiology module from previous years, it deals primarily in microbe, plant, and animal extremophiles. The largest addition to the module was Life On The Edge Evening, a series of short presentations, by the students, on a chosen extremophile. This was hosted in the lecture theatre of the new Tech Hub. One of the purposes of the event is to test the students’ research and presentation skills – which counted towards our grade. Although public speaking isn’t my strong suit, it did give me the chance to bust out my PowerPoint skills – as lame as it sounds, I’m quite fond of designing the slides. However anxious it made me, I’m sure the experience improved my public speaking abilities and got me used to presenting in a professional environment.

Another point of interest for this module was the field-trip to Anderton Nature Park, where we sampled the salt springs for microbes and isolated them from the water back at the lab.

Molecular Biology

This module featured quite an insight into the techniques and points of interest in the field of molecular biology. My personal highlight was learning about epigenetics, as I already knew a little about it and was interested in it before knowing it was featured in the module. Google defines epigenetics as, “The study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself.” This module was quite technical but very rewarding, in that the subject matter is complex but also very cutting edge.

Laboratory Masterclass

The highlight of Lab Masterclass has got to be using the scanning electron microscope (SEM). It’s an expensive piece of kit, so it’s incredible that the department to trust all the second year undergraduates to use it for our practical coursework. The assignment in question had to contain two images from the SEM which both had to be scientifically relevant, as well as a short report on the subject matter of the images. This practical was weighted quite heavily for the module, so it was imperative we used our time wisely on the microscope to get some impressive images. We could’ve chosen any sample with biological relevance to look at under the SEM, and being a fan of plants, I chose leaves. I won’t go into the details, but here are some of the images I didn’t use, that I think are still pretty impressive:

The course page for biology has a tab that gives an overview of the modules.

Edge Hill’s Sucesses

Hi everyone,

In this blog I thought I would talk about the university and mention some interesting facts and figures that may appeal to you.

In the Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey 2016, Edge Hill was recognised as providing the best student experience in the whole of the North West! I can vouch for the experience aspect because I’ve loved every minute of my time there so far.

The graduate employability rate is really high too – 95% of graduates are in work after 6 months of graduating, this is impressive and shows that a degree from Edge Hill can set you apart from others. This means EHU is in the top 8 universities for graduate employment. I know when I was looking at potential universities this was a figure that I closely looked at because who wants to go to a university with a low employability rate?!

You don’t need to worry about campus being unsafe either because EHU has the safest campus in the North West for the fourth year running!

EHU is top in the UK for teaching and academic support with biology degrees as well as being top in the North West for geography, physical geography and environmental science – how amazing is that! Imagine being able to say ‘yes I do study at the best teaching university in the whole of the UK’.

The  most prestigious award that the university has won would probably be when it was awarded University of the Year in 2014, as well as being short-listed in 2007, 2010 and 2011. I believe this shows how much of a fantastic university it is to be nominated so many times then finally hold the title! All the academics and students are proud to be a part of a university that holds this title – I know I certainly am.

The photo below is the beautiful campus on a sunny day:

EH700 health079

 

 

Last Minute Guide… Choosing the Right Course!

Oh how depressing that Christmas is over and there’s only a few days until the new year! This means it’s nearly the year of intense revision, exams and results- but boy is it worth it! Hopefully you’ve submitted your UCAS application, but if not and you’re unsure of what course to choose I’ve decided to help you out a bit…

I first found my course looking through the Edge Hill prospectus when I wasn’t 100% sure what degree I wanted to pursue. This page of the prospectus broke down the course into the main things I needed to know, such as what content was covered and what grades I needed amongst loads of other useful information. The prospectus is definitely worth a look as it has information on every course at Edge Hill, if you’d like a copy you can order one online, to do so please look here.

However if you can’t wait and want more information on the vast array of courses available look here on our website!

You should ensure that you’re happy with every aspect of your course, such as what you will be learning and also how it is assessed! The worst thing would be to choose a course that is mainly exams when you love coursework or the opposite way round!

My specific course involves exams, some in January and April, and also coursework, essays, portfolios, placements and presentations! Phew! It sounds a lot and honestly it can be overwhelming at times but when you manage your time effectively and organise yourself it isn’t bad!

If I could advise anything it would be to create a check list ranked on the most important aspects of a course for you. Therefore you can make an informed decision, and if you’re missing anything that you need to know you can reach out to us so we can help you!

Feel free to comment if you have anything you’d like to ask!

Now, best of luck and have a fantastic New Year!