BIO1001 : Cell Biology

Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


To provide an introduction to the structure and function of eukaryote cells and their organelles, how cells become specialised during the development of multicellular organisms, and the main methods employed to study cells. The lectures will be accompanied by practical classes that introduce important laboratory skills and enhance topics dealt with in lectures by giving students' first-hand experiences in observing and studying cells. This course will provide a background for more advanced studies of cell biology and development, whilst meeting the needs of students intending to pursue other specialities.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module will provide an introduction to the structure, function and diversity of eukaryote cells. The main methods of studying cells will be first outlined and will cover topics such as cell fractionation, organelle purification and various microscopic techniques. The following organelle systems will be described: cell membranes, the nucleus and cell cycle; the cytoskeleton and its cellular functions; the cellular endomembrane system and exo- and endocytosis and their role in cell function. The diversity of specialised cells within multicellular organisms and how cells become specialised during development will be outlined (with emphasis on vertebrates). Practicals will include an introduction to microscopy, an introduction to cell diversity and reproductive cell biology. In addition to formal lectures and practicals, there will be a number of independent computer-assisted learning tutorials and organelle measurement exercises. The continuous assessment component will account for a third of the total module marks, with the remainder coming from a formal examination.

1. Introduction – biological form and function. An overview of scope of module and the way it will be taught and assessed. The diversity of cells – evolutionary aspects.
2. The cell theory of life and the ways cells are studied – cell fractionation and organelle purification.
3. Microscopes and microscopic techniques.
4. Eukaryote cellular organisation. Cell membranes – structural organisation.
5. Cell membranes – integral membrane proteins and carrier/transporter proteins. Extracellular structures – extracellular matrix and plant cell wall.
6. The cell nucleus and cell cycle.
7. The cytoskeleton and its cytoplasmic functions.
8. Cellular motility – muscles and cilia.
9. Evolution of eukaryote cells. Semi-autonomous organelles – mitochondria and chloroplasts and their evolutionary origins.
10. The endomembrane system; endocytosis and exocytosis.
11-12. Cell specialisation; intercellular communication and signalling.
13-15. The beginnings of specialisation: the cell biology of embryogenesis.
16. Summary Session.

1. Microscopy – the use of the light microscope, magnifications provided by light and electron microscopes and the examination of living unicellular organisms. The calibration of the micrometer eyepiece. Using serial sections to measure cells.
2. Cellular organelle purification and quantification of microscopic image (stereology)
3. Microscopic behaviour of the protist paramecium.

Self-paced learning assignments
1. CAL tutorials on microscopes and cells
2. Data analysis - organelle purification

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture181:0018:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion43:0012:00Lab report worksheets
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion12:002:00Final exam
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion180:309:00Revision for final exam
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical33:009:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading181:0018:00Post-lecture directed reading
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study161:0016:00Data analysis
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study14:004:00Study of ReCap, Blackboard etc. to enhance understanding
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study180:4012:00Lecture follow up
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The main body of factual information is delivered by means of lectures.
Some of the fundamental concepts are reinforced by the small group teaching activities and practical exercises, plus independent CAL work and worksheet exercises.
The practicals introduce the necessary skills we are seeking to impart.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
PC Examination1202A75N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Case study2M101 CAL Worksheet
Practical/lab report2M10Lab Assessment 2 - Report
Practical/lab report2M5Lab Assessment 3 - Peer Assessed Lab Report
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Practical/lab report2MLab Assessment 1 - Report
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The practical exercises provide a combination of conventional practical classes and write-ups to develop a general appreciation of subject areas covered. Both lecture and practical exercises may provide questions for the formal exam which focuses especially on the testing of factual knowledge. The practical worksheets assess the ability to record and interpret experimental results. The CAL: work sheets assess the ability of students to study independently and extract appropriate information from available on-line material.

To ensure that students have achieved a sufficient level of background knowledge, students are required to attain 40% in the exam in order to pass the module, although may granted compensation if mark between 35-39%. For students failing to attain at least 30% in the written exam, the module mark returned will be the exam mark ONLY without the inclusion of the in-course assessment marks.

Study Abroad students may request to take their exam before the semester 1 exam period, in which case the format of the paper may differ from that shown in the MOF. Study Abroad students should contact the school to discuss this.

Reading Lists