What you will study
The module is structured as three blocks, each comprising a printed book and supporting multimedia, including video, animations and interactive activities, all delivered via a website.
The first block, Generating Diversity, begins with a discussion of current theories about the origins and evolution of cells, and an exploration of the diversity seen amongst modern day cells. You will then look in detail at the subcellular structures where essential cell processes take place. You’ll also be introduced to genetics; how characteristics are inherited, and how the information in a cell’s genome directs and controls the synthesis of thousands of different proteins, the versatile molecules that form much of the cell’s structure and perform many of its functions.
In the second block, Working Cells, you will consider in more detail the molecular and structural basis for many of the biochemical activities that are common to all cells: the structure and function of proteins; the role of cell membranes; transport of substances into and out of cells and between different parts of the cell; how cells capture and use energy; and how cells transmit, receive and respond to signals from their environment.
The final block, Challenging Cells starts by exploring the life and death of cells with reference to disease and other abnormal processes – how cells proliferate, age and die, and the mechanisms that allow cells in a complex organism to diversify into different specialised forms. You will investigate the amazing capacity of cells, particularly microbes, to adapt to their environment. Finally, through a series of brief case studies you will look at the application of cell and molecular biology to health science and biotechnology. These include topics related to gene technology, stem cell technology, novel antimicrobial agents and microbial fuel cells.
By the end of the module you will be able to:
demonstrate a broad understanding of fundamental concepts, principles and theories relating to cell biology, genetics and microbiology
appreciate that our knowledge of complex cellular functions is based on observation and experiment
appreciate the importance of cell biology in modern technologies and medicine.
This module provides the basic grounding in cell biology appropriate for further training in careers related to biological and biomedical research, biomedical support and laboratory services and health promotion.