Molecular Cell Biology

The details
Life Sciences (School of)
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 4
Thursday 03 October 2019
Saturday 14 December 2019
05 September 2019


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BSC C700 Biochemistry,
BSC C701 Biochemistry (Including Placement Year),
BSC C703 Biochemistry (Including Year Abroad),
BSC CR00 Biochemistry (Including Foundation Year),
BSC C100 Biological Sciences,
BSC C101 Biological Sciences (Including Year Abroad),
BSC C102 Biological Sciences (Including Placement Year),
BSC CD00 Biological Sciences (Including Foundation Year),
BSC B990 Biomedical Science,
BSC B991 Applied Biomedical Science (NHS placement),
BSC B995 Biomedical Science (Including Year Abroad),
BSC B999 Biomedical Science (Including Placement Year),
BSC BD00 Biomedical Science (Including Foundation Year),
BSC C400 Genetics,
BSC C402 Genetics (Including Year Abroad),
BSC C403 Genetics (Including Placement Year),
BSC CK00 Genetics (Including Foundation Year),
BSC C410 Genetics and Genomics,
BSC C411 Genetics and Genomics (Including Placement Year),
BSC C412 Genetics and Genomics (Including Year Abroad),
BSC C200 Human Biology,
BSC C201 Human Biology (Including Year Abroad),
BSC C202 Human Biology (Including Placement Year)

Module description

Cells are the basic functional units of living organisms. All of the activities of multi-cellular animals and plants depend ultimately on the actions of individual cells. Cells have very different structures in different animals, plants and micro-organisms, but all cells are complex systems of molecules capable of carrying out the interactions necessary for life, including energy transductions, synthesis of molecules, growth and duplication.

Cellular biologists aim to understand these functions of cells in structural and molecular terms. We focus on the elementary principles of cell structure and function. We examine the eukaryotic cell cycle and its' regulation. The basic biochemical characteristics of the small molecules and large macromolecules that make up all cells are described. How the cell utilises energy is critical to its survival, we will examine the way cells use and store energy. Finally the biochemical properties and metabolic reactions that are common to most eukaryotic cells are described and discussed in the context of different areas of biology

Module aims

The aim of this module is to provide an introduction to the study of cell biology.

Module learning outcomes

To pass this module, students will need to be able to:

1. describe the structure, evolution, structure and organisation of simple molecules, macromolecules, cells and organelles;
2. describe the basic principles and regulation of energy transformations in the cell and how cell structure, function and metabolism are integrated and modulated;
3. demonstrate an understanding of the cell cycle;
4. demonstrate competence in microscopy and spectrophotometry and present and analyse data from simple experiments.

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

24 x 1 hour lectures plus 1 revision class before MCQ and 1 revision class before summer exam; 3 x 3 hour practicals or equivalent. Online assessment throughout lecture period guided by lecturer.


  • Jones, A. M.; Reed, Robert; Weyers, Jonathan D. B. (©2016) Practical skills in biology, Harlow: Pearson.
  • Campbell, Neil A. (c2018) Biology: a global approach, New York: Pearson.
  • UD Virtual Compound Microscope,
  • Phase Contrast Microscope,
  • Introduction to Spectroscopy - SpectraSchool,
  • Innovations in Light Microscopy,

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Mastering Biology    10% 
Practical   Practical 1    30% 
Practical   Practical 2    30% 
Practical   Practical 3    30% 
Exam  50 minutes during January (Multiple Choice) 
Exam  60 minutes during Summer (Main Period) (Main) 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
33% 67%


Coursework Exam
33% 67%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Nicola Slee, email:
Dr Nicky Slee, Dr Philippe Laissue, Dr Gareth Jones
School Undergraduate Office, email: bsugoffice (Non essex users should add to create the full email address)



External examiner

Dr Clive Butler
The University of Exeter
Associate Professor of Microbial Biochemistry
Available via Moodle
Of 349 hours, 23 (6.6%) hours available to students:
326 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information
Life Sciences (School of)

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