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Advanced Cell Biology

Module titleAdvanced Cell Biology
Module codeBIO2088
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Dr Steffen Scholpp (Convenor)

Dr Joseph Costello (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

In this module, you will encounter the cell as the fundamental, yet dynamic, unit of life. We will explore the spatio-temporal organisation of processes that define cell function, and you will develop a detailed and in-depth understanding of why and how cells behave as they do, both on their own, and as part of a living organism. Topics covered include cell signalling, intracellular transport, cell division and the regulation of cell shape.

The content of this module is delivered in a blended mode, meaning pre-recorded lectures are complemented by face-to-face feedback sessions and challenging laboratory work in which you will visualise and manipulate individual parts of a cell.

BIO2088 is a core module for second year students studying BSc Biochemistry and an optional module for second year students studying BSc Biological Sciences, BSc Biological and Medicinal Chemistry, BSc Human Biosciences, BSc Medical Sciences, and BSc Natural Sciences. It is also a core module for second year students of Flexible Combined Honours (FCH) in Biochemistry, and an optional module for FCH in Biological Sciences.

In order to take BIO2088 you must have already completed BIO1339 Cells or NSC1003 Foundations in Natural Science.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module aims to develop an advanced understanding of cell biology. It will address the major processes that occur within cells, including: principles of cell signalling, regulation of cell shape, cell division, apoptosis and the functions of the endomembrane system.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. Explain the main processes that occur within a eukaryotic cell
  • 2. Relate sub-cellular structure to function
  • 3. Describe the tools with which cells are studied

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 4. Describe and evaluate approaches to our understanding of cell biology with reference to primary literature, reviews and research articles
  • 5. Describe in some detail essential facts and theory across a subdiscipline of the biosciences
  • 6. Identify critical questions from the literature and synthesise research-informed examples from the literature into written work
  • 7. With some guidance, deploy established techniques of analysis, practical investigation and enquiry within the biosciences

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 8. Communicate ideas, principles and theories fluently by written and oral means in a manner appropriate to the intended audience
  • 9. Develop, with some guidance, a logical and reasoned argument with valid conclusions
  • 10. Collect and interpret appropriate data, drawing on a range of sources, with 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

Lectures cover the cytoskeleton, principles of microscopy, model organisms, cell signalling, compartments and protein sorting, regulation of cell shape and migration, cell division, apoptosis and autophagy, cell-cell interactions, the secretory pathway, phagocytosis, nuclear import and export. Laboratory practical work cover microscopy.

Accessibility Statement:

As part of this module you will undertake laboratory sessions in the large teaching laboratory (GP101/108; up to 200 students) that are of 3 hrs in duration. These sessions will be undertaken in pairs, and some sessions involve fine laboratory work. Breaks are possible and students are able to leave the laboratory for short periods.

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 Teaching20Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching19Laboratory practical work (3x 3hrs)
Guided Independent Study60Lecture consolidation and associated reading
Guided Independent Study55Revision for assessments


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Lecturer and/or GTA feedback during contact sessions and practical worksAd hoc3-4, 7-8, 11Oral
Feedback via ELE ForumAd hoc1-6, 8, 10Written

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 examination701000 words1-10Written, online
Data handling test302 hours1-6, 7, 10Online


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
Data handling testData handling test1-6, 7, 10August Ref/Def

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 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 be capped at 40%.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Alberts et al. (2008) Molecular Biology of the Cell. Fifth Edition. Garland Science ISBN978-0-8153-4106-2

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Cell biology, cell function, cell and diseases

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

BIO1339 Cells or NSC1003 Foundations in Natural Science

Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date