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Study information

Advanced Cell Biology

Module titleAdvanced Cell Biology
Module codeBIO2088
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Dr Joseph Costello (Convenor)

Dr Steffen Scholpp (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks




Number students taking module (anticipated)


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 via lectures, two recap sessions and two preparation sessions for the summative assessments as well as by 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. The aim is to first understand the fundamental molecular principles which underpin how cells function and to link this to specific scenarios and contexts such as cell communication and disease. The module also aims to develop specific laboratory skills, focusing on microscopy, and includes data and image analysis.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the main processes that occur within a eukaryotic cell and relate sub-cellular structure to function at both the cell and tissue level.
  • 2. Describe in detail and demonstrate competency in the tools with which cells are studied and show understanding of how these tools are applied in molecular cell biology research

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 3. Demonstrate laboratory competency in molecular cell biology techniques, including collecting and interpreting data
  • 4. Drawing evidence-based and independent conclusions

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 5. Employ different communication styles to communicate data and concepts effectively.
  • 6. Demonstrate the ability to work in a group as well as independently
  • 7. Undertake problem solving activities

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 180 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 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 Teaching17Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching4Coursework feedback session
Scheduled Learning and Teaching12Laboratory practical work
Guided Independent Study59Lecture consolidation and associated reading
Guided Independent Study58Revision 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 hoc3,4,6, 7Oral
Feedback via ELE ForumAd hoc1, 2, 4, 6, 7Written

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
Poster50Poster1-7Written feedback, online
Data handling test502 hours1, 2, 4, 6, 7Written feedback, online

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
PosterPoster (50%)1-7August Ref/Def
Data handling testData handling test (50%)1, 2, 4, 6, 7August Ref/Def

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons that are approved by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. If deferred, the format and timing of the re-assessment for each of the summative assessments is detailed in the table above ('Details of re-assessment'). The mark given for a deferred assessment 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 (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) and the module cannot be condoned, you will be required to complete a re-assessment for each of the failed components on the module. The format and timing of the re-assessment for each of the summative assessments is detailed in the table above ('Details of re-assessment'). If you pass the module following re-assessment, your module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • e.g. Alberts et al. (2008) Molecular Biology of the Cell. Fifth Edition. Garland Science ISBN978-0-8153-4106-2
  • Alberts et al. (2019) Essential Cell Biology. Fifth Edition. Garland Science ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0393680398

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

  • ELE2 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