undergraduate students

Undergraduate students

We aim to provide an opportunity for undergraduate students to carry out an in-depth study of specific topics in cell and molecular biology related to the research activities in the Centre for Gene Regulation and Expression, and an analysis of the advanced technologies and experimental design that underpin them through lab-based research, lectures, tutorials, paper analyses and workshops.

We teach dedicated courses in Gene Regulation to Year 3 and Year 4 (Honours) students and provide research projects in the Centre for Honours students and those studying for IMSci.

We welcome international exchange students, and we regularly host students on ERASMUS programmes.

undergraduate students

Level 3

In the third year of the undergraduate degree we organize a course of 10 weeks centered on the fundamental processes in molecular biology that are critical for gene regulation and expression in relation to cellular function. Two lectures a week are delivered by one of the GRE’s Principal Investigators, with a follow-on revision session the week after. The course focuses on the principles underlying the following fundamental processes, including examples of how defects at the molecular level result in disease:

  • Transcription
  • RNA splicing
  • RNA modification
  • Translation
  • Chromatin and epigenetics
  • DNA replication
  • Chromosome segregation
  • DNA recombination
  • DNA repair
  • Molecular biology of cancer

As part of this course we also organise data analysis workshops, in which students work in small groups to critically interpret a number of datasets from experiments in the general area of gene regulation and expression. Furthermore, students will be assigned a tutor, a postdoctoral or senior graduate student member of GRE, who will guide them in writing a ‘News and Views’-style paper summary on a paper directly relevant to research within GRE. This is a great way for undergraduates to have 1:1 interactions with researchers in GRE and to develop their scientific writing skills.

We aim to enthuse students and give them an understanding of the basic concepts as well as latest developments in gene regulation and expression in the broadest sense. Students will develop and apply skills in problem solving, critical analysis of data and scientific literature.  At the end of this course students will be able to explain the mechanism by which diseases states are manifested in perturbations and mutations of molecular and cellular processes that would otherwise allow normal function.

Our researchers also work with undergraduates on BS31004: Biochemistry and Cell Biology Media Project where they interview academics about their research and produce a video explaining their work for a lay audience. In 2016, students worked with Anton Gartner and Joost Zomerdijk. The outcomes of those conversations can be found on our Undergraduate Media Project page.

undergraduate students

Honours Year Students

In the fourth year of undergraduate study, GRE organises an Advanced Gene Regulation and Expression course. This course builds and advances on the content of the year 3 course and includes lectures, aimed at consolidating the key concepts covered in the third year course, tutorials, providing in-depth investigation of contemporary, cutting-edge research in GRE, and Workshops, that allow for the development of practical approaches to data analysis, in particular in Proteomics and Image Analysis. The aim is to cover key topics that will underpin students’s advanced tutorial topics in Gene regulation and Expression.

Student feedback suggests that the majority of students really enjoy the diversity of subjects covered and the format of the lectures, which is ‘flipped-classroom’. In the ‘standard scenario’ students go to the lecture, receive information about a topic, perhaps do some additional reading later to help in achieving the learning objectives, whereas in the flipped classroom the students do their studying first, then the lecture slots are used to go over the key objectives for each topic and discuss /ask questions about it. The students present a particular topic or concept in class and the ensuing discussion is led by a Principal Investigator within GRE. This is a great way for students to engage with both the subject area and with researchers at the forefront of their area of expertise and students will come away with a deeper understanding of each topic.

undergraduate students

Honours Year Research Projects

Students have the opportunity to engage in an Honours research project with one of the Principal Investigators in the Centre. This is a semester long research project based around one chosen area of research, and involves students designing, conducting and interpreting experiments in the laboratory. The aim is to give students the opportunity to actively participate in contemporary, cutting-edge research in a friendly, supportive and collegiate environment, with an emphasis on developing independence during this final year of study. Such a research project will give students an understanding of hypothesis-based study, experimental planning and/or data sourcing, problem solving, data analysis and interpretation, research scientific literature and scientific communication.

GRE PIs [Find out more]

GRE Summer School

How to apply

If you are interested in starting your undergraduate studies in Dundee you should follow the standard University application guidelines. We are present at the different Visit Days organised by Dundee University, so you can visit the Life Sciences building to find out more.

If you are a Dundee student and would like to work in GRE, either through the Summer School or as an Honours or iMSci student, the best thing to do is to directly approach PIs that you’d like to work with.

GRE PIs [Find out more]