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Cell Biology of Disease

Module titleCell Biology of Disease
Module codeBIO3086
Academic year2020/1
Module staff

Professor Michael Schrader (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

This module will provide insight into the molecular basis of diseases in humans and other eukaryotic organisms.  The emphasis is on the underlying cell biology and molecular defects of various disorders which are linked to alterations of the cytoskeleton and intracellular motility, neurodegeneration such as in Alzheimer's or Huntington's disease, pathogen/parasite invasion, protein sorting, organelle biogenesis and metabolism.

The module is suited for students interested in molecular cell biology.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module aims to elucidate the underlying molecular and cellular alterations in various forms of disease with particular emphasis on cellular dynamics, the cytoskeleton and organelle function. This will allow you a more integrative view and understanding of important research subjects.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Critically evaluate the molecular basis of cellular dynamics, organelle function and cellular organisation
  • 2. Compare and contrast disease-related molecular mechanisms in human neurodegenerative genetic disorders
  • 3. Describe in detail and analyse pathogen-based disorders and ciliopathies
  • 4. Explain current understanding of inherited metabolic and organelle biogenesis disorders

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Evaluate in detail approaches to our understanding of molecular and cell biology with reference to primary literature, reviews and research articles
  • 6. Analyse in detail essential facts and theory in a subdiscipline of the biosciences
  • 7. Analyse and evaluate independently a range of research-informed literature and synthesise research-informed examples from the literature into written work

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 8. Communicate effectively arguments, evidence and conclusions using written and oral means in a manner appropriate to the intended audience
  • 9. Devise and sustain, with little guidance, a logical and reasoned argument with sound, convincing conclusions
  • 10. Analyse and evaluate appropriate data with very limited guidance
  • 11. Work in a small team and deal proficiently with the issues that teamwork requires (i.e. communication, motivation, decision-making, awareness, responsibility, and management skills, including setting and working to deadlines)

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Lecture content will provide the cytological background and more profound insight into human diseases. Thereafter, this content will be revised and expanded in seven scientific discussion sessions that will be led by teaching academics. For each session, small groups of three students (depending on the number of students in the module) will prepare a 15 minute presentation based on lecture material and selected literature. This will be followed by an open discussion (5-10 minutes) after each student presentation. The presentations will be given by three spokespeople (depending on the number of students in the module). The scientific essay will be based on a case report and workshop with problem-based learning approach.

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching14Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching14Discussions
Guided Independent Study122Guided reading of the literature, literature research and revision


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Group presentation15 minutesAllOral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay examination602 hours1-10Written on request
Scientific essay301000 words1-10Written
Group presentation1015 minutesAllOral


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Essay examinationEssay examination1-10August Ref/Def
Scientific essayEssay examination1-10August Ref/Def
Group presentationNot applicableNot applicableNot applicable

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The presentation assessment is not deferrable as it is a group exercise. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to sit a further examination. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of referral will count for 100% of the final mark and will be capped at 40%.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Alberts B. et al. (2015) Molecular Biology of the Cell (6th Edition). Garland Science ISBN978-0-8153-4464-3

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

  • Primary research publications and review articles covering various topics will be made available.

Key words search

Cytoskeleton, mitosis, molecular motor, dynein, kinesin, microtubule, actin, myosin, cilium, organelle, lysosomes, peroxisomes, mitochondria, autophagy, neurodegeneration

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

BIO2088 Advanced Cell Biology 

Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date