BSc Biology with Science & Society / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
From Molecules to Cells

Course unit fact file
Unit code BIOL10232
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? No


From Molecules to Cells introduces molecular cell biology: the study of the interactions between molecules and systems in a cell. You will learn how cells function individually and as part of a tissue or organism. You will study the processes that determine how and when a cell communicates, grows, interacts with its neighbours, divides and dies and how these processes go awry during cancer.


To provide a general introduction to molecular cell biology for students in Biological Sciences. To demonstrate how molecular cell biology explains cell function at the level of an individual cell, and as part of a tissue or organism.

Learning outcomes

Students will understand the fundamental processes that govern how and when a cell communicates, grows, moves, interacts with its neighbours, divides and dies, and how these processes go awry during cancer. Students will have insight into how cells produce and export proteins, and how material is endocytosed.


Introduction to Cell Biology: cell types and techniques

Intracellular compartments of Eukarytotes: structure and function of membrane-bounded organelles; protein targeting; the endoplasmic reticulum; the secretory pathway and vesicular transport; the cell membrane and endocytic pathway; molecular basis of diseases resulting from defects in these processes.

The cytoskeleton and cell movement: microtubules, actin filaments and intermediate filaments. Molecular motors.

Interactions between cells in multicellular systems: extracellular matrix and connective tissue; epithelia and cell junctions.

Cell response to the environment: cell communication and signalling.

Cycles of division and growth in cell populations: cell division; cell cycle; control of cell proliferation and differentiation; cancer; cell death.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Several e-pbl modules and some lectures require the students to analyse research data and experimental results.
Oral communication
Students are encouraged to answer questions during lectures.
Problem solving
E-learning modules provide opportunities for problem solving. Several lectures contain problem questions that students complete during the lecture.
Students are presented with current Faculty research during lectures, and are asked to solve research-based questions in some lectures. Some e-pbl material is research-based.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 90%
Set exercise 10%

Set exercise - Online coursework assessments.

Eight problem-based eLearning exercises (to a total of 10%) consisting of online MCQ tests in a variety of styles.

Exam - 1 hour examination consisting of 50 multiple choice questions (90%) in the semester 2 examination period.

Feedback methods

Feedback will be provided via Learning Modules, Discussion Board, and by question and answer exercises during the lectures.

Recommended reading

Alberts B et al. Essential Cell Biology 6th Edition 2023, W.W.Norton

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 1
Lectures 11
Independent study hours
Independent study 88

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Victoria Allan Unit coordinator

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