Course Title: Biology of the Cell

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Biology of the Cell

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


Bundoora Campus


160H Medical Sciences


Sem 1 2006,
Sem 1 2007,
Sem 1 2008,
Sem 1 2009,
Sem 1 2010,
Sem 1 2011,
Sem 1 2012,
Sem 1 2013,
Sem 1 2014,
Sem 1 2015,
Sem 1 2016


Bundoora Campus


173H School of Health and Biomed


Sem 1 2017,
Sem 1 2019,
Sem 1 2020


City Campus


160H Medical Sciences


Sem 1 2013

Course Coordinator: A/Prof Terry Piva

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 6503

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 201.09.006

Course Coordinator Availability: Available by appointment only

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities



Course Description

This course provides an introduction to cell biology. It will cover the molecular and physical structures of cells, their biochemical and physiological functions and their components, as well as the genetic basis of inheritance.

Areas covered include:

  • Structures and functions of cells and organelles 
  • Protein structure and function
  • Macromolecules
  • DNA and RNA structures
  • Cell cycle, mitosis and meiosis
  • Basic genetics, inheritance and evolution
  • Cell membrane structure, transport and signalling pathways
  • Metabolism and energy transduction pathways
  • Functions of specialised cells in the human body

This course will lay the foundations for advanced studies in biochemistry, physiology, molecular and cell biology.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course contributes to the program learning outcomes in the following disciplines:

BP231 Bachelor of Biomedical Science

  • Exhibit depth and breadth of scientific knowledge by demonstrating knowledge across disciplines contributing to biomedical science (PLO 2)

BH102 Bachelor of Pharmacy (Honours)

This course contributes to capability development in the following Domains of the National Competency Standards Framework for Pharmacists in Australia:

  • Critical analysis, research and education (Domain 8)

BP147 Bachelor of Biomedical Science (Laboratory Medicine)

  • Knowledge capability (PLO 1)
  • Technical capability (PLO 2)

BP311 Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Sciences

  • Exhibiting depth and breadth of scientific knowledge
    Develop a broad and coherent body of knowledge particularly in biochemistry, physiology, pharmacology and toxicology (PLO 1)

BP278 Bachelor of Health Science/Bachelor of Applied Science (Chinese Medicine), and, BP280 Bachelor of Health Science/Bachelor of Applied Science (Chiropractic)

  • Provide specialised health care within a patient-centred, evidence-based framework (PLO 1)
  • Communicate effectively in a range of forms (written, online, oral) and with diverse audiences (patients, community/public, agencies and health professionals) (PLO 5)
  • Work independently and in teams, specifically to lead and contribute to inter-professional care partnerships (PLO 6)

This course contributes to the following Program Learning Outcomes (PLO) for BP279 Bachelor of Health Science/Bachelor of Applied Science (Osteopathy):

  • Manage all aspects of clinical practice to comply with ethical, legal, and regulatory standards in an evolving healthcare industry (PLO 5)
  • Work autonomously and collaboratively, to lead and/or contribute to inter-professional healthcare partnerships (PLO 6)

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

  1. Recognise the differences between prokaryotes and eukaryotes, as well as the specialisation of cells in a multicellular organism
  2. Identify subcellular structures, organelles and understand their functions
  3. Explain the basic processes involved in DNA replication, transcription and translation in prokaryotic and eukaryotic systems
  4. Relate the role of DNA in the control of cell division and reproduction
  5. Recognise the fundamental aspects of inheritance and relate this to how genes pass on particular characteristics
  6. Describe the biological processes of mitosis and meiosis
  7. Define the nature and roles of macromolecules in cellular functions
  8. Recognise basic metabolic processes in a cell and how such processes are regulated
  9. Perform basic laboratory techniques in a competent manner

Overview of Learning Activities

The learning activities of this course take place in lectures and laboratory classes.  The theory and practical components of the course are integrated throughout the teaching of this course and focus on the fundamental aspects of cell biology. 

The practical component of the course is designed to build fundamental skills in critical analysis, as the results in the practical classes may not be exactly as expected.  You are required to interpret your results in a contextual framework based on your knowledge and technical capabilities. 

Regular revision lectures (Q&A sessions) will provide feedback on your progress and consolidate the understanding of the material taught in the course.

You will undertake the equivalent of three hours per week in lectures plus a total of four practical classes of three hours each. In addition you can expect to spend a minimum of four hours per week in independent study.


Overview of Learning Resources

Learning resources used in this course include text books, lecture notes (PowerPoint presentations), Lectopia/Echo360 recordings of lecture presentations, practical exercises and additional references on selected topics. The course site in myRMIT provides opportunities for students to independently access much of this material and use asynchronous discussions as an additional mode of learning.

Overview of Assessment

This course has no hurdle requirements.

Assessment Tasks

Assessment Task 1: On-line quizzes

Weighting 10%

This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8

Assessment Task 2: Practical reports

Weighting 20%

This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 & 9

Assessment Task 3: Mid-semester test

Weighting 20%

This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8

Assessment Task 4: End of semester examination

Weighting 50%

This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8