CMB1004 : Cell Biology

Semester 1 Credit Value: 15
ECTS Credits: 8.0


This module introduces students to the fundamental principles of cell biology.

The module describes the main features of mammalian cells and their implications for cell biology. The module begins with an overview of the main features and properties of the mammalian cell and goes on to introduce the biophysical chemistry that underlies cell biology. It considers the properties of biological membranes and their role in cellular function. The lectures also describe the properties of specialised animal cells. Consideration is given to excitable cells. Students will learn how messages are conveyed along nerve cells and how signals pass from the nerve to the muscle to induce contraction. Students are introduced to red blood cells and blood groups. The course moves on to consider the endocrine system. The action of hormones and cell signalling is introduced.
The role of various endocrine glands is described: the hypothalamus and pituitary, the thyroid, the adrenals and the pancreas. Consideration is also given to the female reproductive cycle.

Outline Of Syllabus

Lectures and seminars cover the following topics:

Cells: basic eukaryotic cell structure; function of membrane proteins; intracellular sorting and transport; cytoskeleton and cell movement; cell growth and division.
Transport: The mammalian cell and its environment; types of membrane transport.
Excitable Cells: membrane potentials; the action potential; signal transmission at the neuromuscular junction; muscle contraction; the central and peripheral nervous systems; building a functional neural pathway from single neurones.
Biophysics: life based in water; reactions in water; life and growth is limited by resource; acids and bases; chemical energy and electrical energy.
Cell Signalling: general principles of cell communication; signalling through cell surface receptors; regulation of signalling pathways.
Endocrinology: introduction to endocrinology; the hypothalamus and pituitary; the thyroid gland and control of metabolism; the adrenal glands and gonads.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion11:001:00Formative class tests
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture291:0029:00
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching31:003:00Seminars
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1117:00117:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

1. Lectures will define the scope of the course and communicate basic knowledge as a basis for further study.
2. Seminars will encourage students to develop their understanding of the subject and interpersonal communication skills. They provide an opportunity for students to ask questions and exchange ideas in a small group setting. Skills practiced include critical thinking, numeracy, communication & team working.
3. Private study is used for self-directed learning and includes: reading lecture notes and texts; preparation for seminars; using learning resources on the Web. Skills practiced include critical thinking, active learning, numeracy, planning and organisation and independence.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination901A100EMI format: 25-30 questions
Exam Pairings
Module Code Module Title Semester Comment
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Computer assessment1MA mid-semester EMI (formative) exam, 25-30 questions will be provided to students under exam conditions.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The end of semester examination assesses knowledge and understanding of the course material. The formative EMI questions will help students assess their knowledge and understanding of course material as well as familiarise students with the format of an EMI exam.

FMS Schools offering Semester One modules available as ‘Study Abroad’ will, where required, provide an alternative assessment time for examinations that take place after the Christmas vacation. Coursework with submissions dates after the Christmas vacation will either be submitted at an earlier date or at the same time remotely.

The form of assessment will not vary from the original.

Reading Lists