SHE Level 2
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code M2C126363
Module Leader Catherine Wright
School School of Health and Life Sciences
Subject Biological and Biomedical Sciences
  • B (January start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Cell structure and function knowledge, gained through undertaking Level 1 modules Core Skills in Biosciences 1 and Biological Chemistry or equivalent if direct entry.

Summary of Content

This module introduces students to the core principles and use of model organisms and systems (cell culture) to study cell biology. An overview of techniques in cell biology including use of live cell imaging of protein trafficking and cell movement by microscopy techniques is highlighted. The structure and function of cell membranes and general principles of membrane transport along with features of endocytosis and phagocytosis are explained. The role of the immune system in a cellular context is explored. Foundation knowledge of the composition and role of the cytoskeleton in cell to cell adhesion and cell to matrix interactions in maintaining cell and tissue architecture is considered. Finally, cell-cell communication and its importance is considered.


Lectures with tutorials to support each section Principles of the use of model systems/organisms Tissue culture of animal cells, immunocytochemistry, western blotting and ELISA. Structure and function of cell membranes and membrane proteins: Lipid bilayer fluidity, membrane lipid constituents The nature of membrane proteins membrane transport of small ions and molecules transport across the plasma membrane, including the role of pumps, transporters (carriers) and channels features of passive versus facilitated diffusion, and active and secondary active transport. General features of bulk transport Immune cells and their functions: specialised phagocytic cells and their functional roles Cells in the native and adaptive immune response The role of cytokines in immune cell function Antigen presenting cells Immune cell responses to virus and bacterial challenge Cell signalling in immunity The physical properties, composition and cellular locations of microfilaments (mf), microtubules (mt) and intermediate filaments (if) The dynamics of the cytoskeleton, the growth of mf and mt with reference to nucleation and the ATPase and GTPase activity of mf and mt and their relationship to cell architecture. Mf and mt associated proteins and the ability of mf and mt to act as networks for transport Cell motility and the role of actin and myosin Intermediate filaments Cell-cell communication The role of intercellular junctions in tissue integration Introductory concepts of adherens junctions and desmosomes in cell adhesion Concepts of tight and gap junctions in cell communication Case studies of the effect of pathogens and example disease states/mutations on the above events.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, the student should be able to:Relate knowledge of fundamental cell biology in a wider biological context by 1. Reviewing the range of model organisms and their properties.2. Discussing the structure of biological membranes, their associated proteins and the transport of ions and molecules across biological membranes.3. Comprehending immunity as a cellular process.4. Describing the role of the cytoskeleton, cell to cell adhesion and communication proteins in cellular organisation and homeostasis.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

Lectures will be used to deliver the core material, with tutorials encouraging students to evaluate and consolidate their knowledge base. Tutorials, the use of virtual learning environments, and an online discussion forum will also provide opportunity for case studies and group work (such as a collaborative wiki or similar) enabling divergent thinking and deeper understanding.

Indicative Reading

Alberts, B., Bray, D., Hopkin, K., Johnson, A., Lewis, J., Raff, M., Roberts, K. & Walter, P. (2019) 'Essential Cell Biology' 5th Edition. Garland. ISBN: 9780393680398 Alberts, B., Johnson, A., Lewis, J., Raff, M., Roberts., and Walter P. (2015) Molecular Biology of the Cell, 6th edition, Garland Science. ISBN: 9780815344643 Parham P. (2015) The immune system, 4 th Edition. Garland Science. ISBN: 9780815345245 In addition, students will be provided with selected topical references to original and review articles as a basis for deeper learning.

Transferrable Skills

On completion of this module students should appreciate many of the essential techniques used in cell biology. They should have consolidated knowledge on fundamental aspects of dynamic cellular events including the structure of cell membranes and the role of the cytoskeleton in maintaining cell integrity. Tutorials will enable them to improve their interpretation and critical analysis of scientific data and communication skill by the written word will be enhanced by the media of exam questions. The collaborative wiki (or similar) will enhance students' team work as well as their digital skills, and allow more in depth study of a chosen topic. The common good curriculum: The module aligns well with the common good curriculum with students encouraged to critically evaluate real world examples of biosciences. The module requires collaborative work where the students must consider others as part of global citizenship, and encourages all criteria of responsible leadership and confidence building. Critical analysis skills development allows students to examine presented facts in a positive manner.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Independent Learning (FT) 137.00
Lectures (FT) 24.00
Tutorials (FT) 6.00
Assessment (FT) 3.00
Coursework Preparation (FT) 30.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Course Work 01 1.00 30.00 35% Collaborative wiki
Exam 01 2.00 70.00 35% Unseen Written Exam, MCQ and short answers