BIOL 2131: Cell and Molecular Biology

Students examine the basic properties of cells and cell organelles, in addition to the properties of differentiated cell systems and tissues. The course aims to equip students with a basic knowledge of the structural and functional properties of cells. From this fundamental perspective, students are introduced to important scientific literature on the subject of cell biology, and instructed on how to critically examine data and interpretations presented by researchers.

Learning outcomes

By doing this course well, students will develop basic knowledge and skills in cell and molecular biology and become aware of the complexity and harmony of the cell. As students proceed through the modules, they will be able to apply this knowledge, skill, and awareness to topics like the following:

  • Basic properties of cells
  • Prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells
  • Viruses
  • Biological molecules: carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids
  • Techniques used in cell and molecular biology
  • Enzymes
  • Metabolism
  • Mitochondrion structure and function
  • Chloroplast structure and function
  • Plasma membrane composition, structure, and function
  • The movement of substances across cell membranes
  • The endomembrane system
  • The extracellular matrix
  • The structure and function of the nucleus
  • Genes and chromosomes
  • DNA replication
  • Transcription
  • Translation
  • Cytoskeleton and cell motility
  • Cellular reproduction
  • Cell signaling
  • Cancer

Course topics

Module 1: The Study of Cell Biology

  • Section 1.1: Introduction to Cell Biology
  • Section 1.2: The Chemical Basis of Life
  • Section 1.3: Techniques in Cell and Molecular Biology

Module 2: Energy

  • Section 2.1: Enzymes and Metabolism
  • Section 2.2: Mitochondrion and Aerobic Respiration
  • Section 2.3: Chloroplasts and Photosynthesis

Module 3: Membranes

  • Section 3.1: Plasma Membrane
  • Section 3.2: Cytoplasmic Membrane Systems
  • Section 3.3: Cells and Their Environment

Module 4: Genetic Information

  • Section 4.1: Gene and Genome
  • Section 4.2: Expression of Genetic Information

Module 5: Cytoskeleton, Cell Signaling, Cell Cycle, Cancer

  • Section 5.1: Cytoskeleton and Cell Motility
  • Section 5.2: Cellular Reproduction
  • Section 5.3: Cell Signaling and Cancer

Required text and materials

Students will need to source the following on their own:

  1. Iwasa, J., & Marshall, W. (2016). Karp’s cell and molecular biology: Concepts and Experiments (8th ed.) Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
    Type: Loose-leaf Textbook: ISBN: 978-1-118-88614-4


Please be aware that due to COVID-19 safety guidelines all in-person exams have been suspended. As such, all final exams are currently being delivered through ProctorU, which has an approximate fee of $35 involved. There will be more information in your course shell, on how to apply, if your course has a final exam.

To successfully complete this course, students must achieve 50% on the final mandatory examination and 50% on the course overall.

Assignment 1 8%
Assignment 2 12%
Assignment 3 10%
Assignment 4 10%
Assignment 5 10%
Final Exam (mandatory) 50%
Total 100%

Open Learning Faculty Member

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of your course.

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