Course Title: Cell Structure and Function

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Cell Structure and Function

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


135H Applied Sciences


Sem 1 2015


City Campus


171H School of Science


Sem 1 2017,
Sem 1 2018,
Sem 1 2019,
Sem 1 2020,
Sem 1 2021


Open Learning Australia

Non Award

171H School of Science

Distance / Correspondence


Course Coordinator: Assoc Prof. Donald Wlodkowic

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 7157

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: Bundoora West campus 223.01.32A

Course Coordinator Availability: By appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

This is an introductory enabling course requiring no formal prerequisites, but you will find that knowledge of biology and chemistry at VCE level will be an advantage.

Course Description

This course is intended as an introduction to biological structure and function at the molecular and cellular levels. This course is designed to provide you with fundamental knowledge in  biochemistry and cell biology and how cells and their component parts are structured and interact to allow organisms to carry out their basic functions.

The course topics covered include: fundamentals of biochemisty incl. chemistry of life, macromolecules and molecular diversity; cellular bioenergetics and thermodynamics; membranes and movement of molecules; enzymes and enzyme regulation. This course then follows on to discuss origins of modern Cell Theory describing the common characteristics of cell types, cell and membrane structure; organelle structures and functions; respiration, fermentation, photosynthesis, cell cycle, proliferation and programmed cell death and cell signalling and communication. A particular emphasis of this course is future work-oriented exploration and learning of latest practical laboratory methods and techniques used in modern laboratories working with biomolecules and cells.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course contributes to the following Program learning Outcomes (PLO) in BP229 Bachelor of Science, BP226 Bachelor of Science (Biotechnology), BH101 Bachelor of Science (Applied Sciences) Dean Scholars (Hons)and the double degrees BP293 Bachelor of Science (Biotechnology)/Bachelor of Biomedical Science, BP305 Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Business (Business Management) and BH087 Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical Engineering)(Hons)/Bachelor of Science (Biotechnology)

You will 

2 Scientific knowledge

2.1. exhibit depth and breadth of biological knowledge by demonstrating well-developed understanding of biological sciences.

 3 Inquiry and problem solving

3.1. critically analyse and solve problems in biological sciences by gathering, synthesizing and critically evaluating information from a range of sources.

3.4. critically analyse and solve problems in biological sciences by collecting, accurately recording, interpreting, and drawing conclusions from scientific data.

4 Communication

4.1. be an effective communicator of biological sciences by effectively communicating scientific results, information, or arguments using a range of modes (oral, written, visual) for a variety of purposes and audiences.

5 Personal and professional responsibility

5.1. be accountable for individual learning and scientific work in environmental science by being an independent and self-directed learner.

5.2. be accountable for individual learning and scientific work by working effectively, responsibly, ethically, and safely in an individual or team context.

On successful completion of this course you should be able to: 

  1. Explain the fundamental concepts of biochemistry and chemical building blocks of life;
  2. Explain the structures and functions of various classes of macromolecules in cells;
  3. Explain the way in which cell membranes and organelles contribute to cellular functions;
  4. Explain mechanisms of intracellular protein and macromolecule transport;
  5. Explain the mechanisms and energy flows underpinning cellular metabolism including fundamentals of cell bioenergetics, enzymatic biocatalysis, cellular respiration and photosynthesis;
  6. Explain the mechanisms of complex cellular processes such as cell cycle, proliferation and programmed cell death as well as fundamentals of cell signalling and cell communication
  7. Demonstrate diverse practical laboratory methods and techniques used in modern laboratories working with cell-based models
  8. Undertake virtual laboratory simulations to explore, learn and practice practical laboratory techniques useful to investigating cellular structure and processes and interpret experimental data based on learned theoretical concepts;
  9. Demonstrate holistic practical and conceptual knowledge of fundamentals of cell biology and selected laboratory techniques to be able to undertake further studies in diverse fields of biosciences and biomedicine.

Overview of Learning Activities

The learning activities included in this course are: 

  1. Online pre-recorded lectures where syllabus material will be presented and explained, and the subject will be illustrated with demonstrations and examples;
  2. Online weekly live Q&A tutorial and discussion sessions
  3. Interactive online virtual laboratory simulations designed to provide self-paced practice in the application of modern laboratory methods and techniques 
  4. On campus laboratory classes to explore and provide hands on training in laboratory methods and techniques
  5. Critical reflection on laboratory simulations, and their applications in modern bioscience laboratories
  6. Completion of assignments teaching basic laboratory problem solving capabilities based on learned topics
  7. Development of written and oral communication skills and interpersonal awareness;
  8. Private study, working through the course as presented in lectures and other learning materials.

Overview of Learning Resources

The course website on Canvas provides a syllabus, lecture slides, lecture video recordings, and supporting material for practical classes such as virtual simulations, laboratory manuals, videos, online assessments and links to additional resources. 

A textbook (Jeff Hardin and Gregory Bertoni Becker's Word of the Cell.) is recommended.

Overview of Assessment

This course will be assessed by the following assessment tasks:

Assessment tasks 

Assessment Task 1: Online MCQ quizzes
Weighting 20%
This assessment supports CLOs 1-5

Assessment Task 2: Applied short answer and case studies written test
Weighting 40%
This assessment supports CLOs 1-5 & 7-8

Assessment Task 3: Oral viva
Weighting 40%
This assessment supports CLOs 1-9