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Unit information: Molecular Cell Biology in 2021/22

Unit name Molecular Cell Biology
Unit code BIOC20001
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Cory
Open unit status Not open

BIOC10003 & BIOC10004



School/department School of Biochemistry
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences


The unit will develop material introduced in the Level C/4 Biochemistry units.

It covers how the cell is organised at a molecular level, the intracellular signalling pathways used by cells in response to stimulation, cell communication, properties of the extracellular matrix and cytoskeleton and how these molecular processes are integrated into cell behaviours such as cell migration and cell cycle progression.

The teaching in the unit is normally delivered through lectures and is supported by practical sessions and data handling workshops.

The unit aims to develop an understanding the following areas:

Element 1. Cellular Organisation

  • Organisation of eukaryotic cells
  • The secretory and endocytic pathways
  • Glycosylation
  • Intracellular protein degradation

Element 2. Cellular Signalling

  • GPCR signalling
  • Receptor tyrosine kinases
  • Phospholipids and calcium
  • Serine/threonine kinases
  • Kinase cascades

Element 3. Cellular Behaviours

  • Communicating and adhesive interactions between cells
  • The extracellular matrix
  • The actin and microtubule cytoskeleton
  • Cell migration

The units aims to develop the following skills:

  • Understanding of core experimental techniques and how they can be applied to address specific research questions in molecular cell biology
  • Data analysis and problem-solving skills.
  • The ability to describe molecular cell biology concepts and experimental approaches concisely in written form.

Intended learning outcomes

Students should be able to demonstrate the following:

1. Knowledge and understanding of cellular organisation and the trafficking pathways in cells.
2. Knowledge and understanding of intracellular protein degradation.
3. Knowledge and understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved intracellular signalling in response to stimulation.
4. Knowledge and understanding of the extracellular matrix, cell-cell adhesions and the cytoskeleton and how these are involved in cell shape and the regulation of cell movement.
5. Knowledge and understanding cell cycle regulation, apoptosis and autophagy.
6. Knowledge and understanding of relevant experimental techniques and how they can be applied to address molecular cell biological questions.
7. The ability to interpret experimental data from molecular cell biological experiments

Teaching details

The teaching in the unit is normally delivered through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous sessions, including lectures, workshops and practicals.

Assessment Details

Coursework: 40%

Timed assessment: 60%


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. BIOC20001).