Frontiers in Cell Biology - BIOS5030

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Autumn Term 5 15 (7.5) Campbell Gourlay checkmark-circle


The cell is the fundamental structural unit in living organisms. Eukaryotic cells are compartmentalized structures that like prokaryotic cells, must perform several vital functions such as energy production, cell division and DNA replication and also must respond to extracellular environmental cues. In multicellular organisms, certain cells have developed modified structures, allowing them to fulfil highly specialised roles. This module reviews the experimental approaches that have been taken to investigate the biology of the cell and highlights the similarities and differences between cells of complex multicellular organisms and microbial cells. Initially the functions of the cytoskeleton and certain cellular compartments, particularly the nucleus, are considered. Later in the unit, the mechanisms by which newly synthesised proteins are secreted or shuttled to their appropriate cellular compartments are examined.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 30
Private study hours: 120
Total study hours: 150


It is required that you have taken all the core modules within one of our Bioscience programmes in order to take this module.

Method of assessment

Presentation on scientific literature, 8 min (10%)
Practical Report, 1000 word limit (25%)
Exam, 2 hr (65%)

Indicative reading

Core texts:
Lodish HF, Berk A, Kaiser CA, Krieger M, Molecular cell biology, 8th Edition, W.H. Freeman, 2016

Optional texts:
Alberts B, Molecular Biology of the Cell, 6th Edition, Garland Science Pub., 2015
Alberts B, Essential Cell Biology, 4th Edition, Garland Science Pub., 2014

Much of the module material is covered at some (usually more introductory) level in Biology and Biochemistry textbooks, as recommended in other modules - examples include Campbell's Biology and Nelson & Cox's (Lehninger's) Principles of Biochemistry

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

Demonstrate an understanding of cellular organisation and associated processes.
Demonstrate an understanding of modern procedures for investigating cellular components.

The intended generic learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
Access and evaluate scientific literature.
Present a concise digest of a research area both orally and in written form.


  1. Credit level 5. Intermediate level module usually taken in Stage 2 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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