Cell Biology - Biology - ICU
Cell Biology Spring Autumn 2020


Postponed to Autumn term 2020 due to the COVID-19 situation.


A good chance to do some reading ! See reading .pdfs at the bottom of this page.



MOLECULAR BIOLOGY OF THE CELL, Alberts et al., 2014, 6th Edition

Bovine Pulmonary Artery Endothelial Cells (BPAE Line)

BPAE cells are positive for angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE), an enzyme that is intricately involved in the maintenance of blood pressure and volume. Due to this fact, BPAE cells are often utilized in hypertension research as well as studies of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease.

Cell biology is usually presented over two courses (cell biology, cell dynamics) but in the academic year 2020 it will be in this combined course.
To establish a basic knowledge of how the cell works through topics, themes, vocabulary and weekly assignments.

1. Compartmentalisation and organisation of animal and plant cells
2. Membranes
3. The nucleus
4. Transcription, translation, the Central Dogma
5. The endoplasmic reticulum and glycosylation
6. The Golgi apparatus and protein modification
7. Lysosomes; endocytosis and exocytosis
8. Energy: mitochondria and chloroplasts
9. The cytoskeleton

— molecular phenomena : protein shape change, energy transfer, signal-receptor systems
— the flow of information e.g. DNA → RNA → mRNA → protein → targeted compartments
— the flow of molecules through transport systems (gated, vesicle, trans-membrane)
— organisation and dynamics

UPDATES ! Any updates to the course will be shown here during the term.


Alberts et al. 2014 (6th ed.)
Chapters 1, 2, 4, 6, 10, 12, 13, 14, 16 & 17.
Before attending the course, pre-read at least Chapters 1, 2, 4, & 6.

The textbook is due for a new edition.
I advise not to buy the 6th edition but to download the relevant chapters as .pdfs (see below).

It cannot be emphasised enough how important reading is for the study of any academic subject.
The lectures you attend are merely guides to what is important to study.
Your obligation is to study independently the textbooks and other recommended reading matter, preferably by taking notes.
Gradually you will become an independent thinker who will seek out the relevant information for the pathway you choose.

ASSIGNMENTS Assignment topics will be shown here as the course progresses.

The purpose of the weekly assignment is for cognitive reinforcement of basic topics.
Each assignment is a hand-drawn explanation of a topic based on textbook figures.

The purpose of the major assignment is for the opportunity to make a solid investigation into one aspect of cell biology, improvement of writing and organisation skills, and for a better understanding of referencing in science. Please use a computer for this assignment.

Notes on assignments:

There are nine weekly assignments and one major assignment.

For the weekly assignment
Use both sides of one A4 sheet of paper.
Instructions will be given in class.

For the major assignment
Detailed instructions and advice will be given in class.
Students must choose a topic by the 30th April 2020; the topic must be approved.
The major assignment is due on the 28th May 2020, to give time for assessment, feedback and (if necessary) re-working and re-submission.
Use at least ten sides of A4 paper.
Use 1.5x spacing for the text.
Use a separate sheet for the title page.
Reference your sources and list them on a separate sheet. You must follow referencing as given in the Guide (link below).
Do not copy/paste from the internet or other online source unless it is a bona fide online version of a textbook or research article.
Use illustrations/figures as appropriate.
I advise the use of a spelling checker to catch typing errors, but nothing is better than re-reading your work, or better still ask a colleague to read it. Don't forget that spelling checker programs only find misspelled words, not properly spelled words in the wrong place (eg form vs from).
Before writing, review the "Guide to writing an assignment" (also see below).
For those of you who would like to have an A4 version of the checklist, here it is : checklist.pdf.

The "Guide to writing an assignment" is simply an example; how your eventual report is made is completely up to you.
The guide shows section numbering; you can certainly number sections if you wish, it is up to you. It is meant to be a mental guide for planning your report.
The content of the report including figures should be about 10 x A4 sides of paper (ie 5 sheets of paper using both sides).
Reading Material from the textbook is available. Click on the topic to download the .pdf

Chapter 1. Cells and genomes
Chapter 2. Cell chemistry and bioenergetics
Chapter 4. DNA, chromosomes, and genomes
Chapter 6. How cells read the genome: from DNA to protein
Chapter 10. Membranes
Chapter 12. Intracellular compartments and protein sorting
Chapter 13. Intracellular membrane traffic
Chapter 14. Energy conversion: mitochondria
Chapter 16. Cytoskeleton
Chapter 17. Cell cycle

Medical Topics Guide

Genetic Code


Attendance (30%)
Weekly assignments x9 (36%)
Major assignment (34%)