BIOSCI 201 : Cellular and Molecular Biology


2022 Semester One (1223) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

The fundamental processes of the cell are examined to understand how cells reproduce and use information stored within the genome, express proteins for specific functions, and function within larger tissues. Specific modules examine stem cells, tissues and cellular development, cancer progression and the biology of tumours and the basis of immunity.

Course Overview

Cellular and Molecular Biology is the study of the hidden life of cells. At its essence, it seeks to understand the processes, mechanisms and functions that allow a cell to autonomously reproduce, maintain and use information stored within the genome. Molecular techniques are used to determine how this information regulates normal cellular functions within cells, between organs and within organisms, and what happens when something goes wrong. Understanding molecular cell biology allows us to determine the molecular mechanisms of disease and to develop exciting new technologies including cell-based treatments for disease. 

BIOSCI 201 is a compulsory paper in both the Biochemistry and Cellular Biology pathway, the Cell and Molecular Biomedicine Pathway and the Genetics pathway within the Biological Sciences Major and Biomedical Science Specilisation. It is also a component of many pathways within the Biomedical Science program. 

This paper gives you an excellent foundation to go on and study advanced molecular cell biology topics within the biomedical and biological fields, and will draw you into the fascinating microscopic world that controls the life and death of all living organisms. BIOSCI 201 leads into: stage 3 BIOSCI papers BISOCI 353 Cellular Regulation, BIOSCI 356 Developmental Biology and Cancer and Development, BISOCI 350 Protein Structure and Function, BIOSCI 351 Molecular Genetics and BIOSCI 349 Biomedical Microbiology.

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: BIOSCI 101, and 15 points from BIOSCI 106-109, MEDSCI 142, and 15 points from CHEM 110, 120, 150

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Develop the ability to form a hypothesis about a molecular cell biology question, and work out what techniques are required to test the hypothesis. (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  2. Develop the practical skills associated with cellular and molecular biology research in a group-based learning environment. (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  3. Use practical skills to answer molecular cell biology questions and communicate the answers in the form of a lab report. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5)
  4. Describe the key molecular processes underlying the central dogma of cell biology: the control over cell replication, RNA transcription and protein translation. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  5. Describe how gene expression is controlled at the transcriptional, co-transcriptional and post-transcriptional level, using examples of each of these types of control. (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 5)
  6. Describe the molecular mechanisms of how proteins are trafficked between different compartments inside and outside of the cell. Use examples of human disease that result from dysregulation of these mechanisms. (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 5)
  7. Compare and contrast the role of stem cells in controlling embryonic development, the establishment of the body plan, and uses in research and the treatment of disease. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  8. Integrate and apply information from across the course to answer biological questions. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  9. Explain how cancer arises from normal cells, including the role of oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  10. Describe how the cells in the immune system act in concert to combat pathogens, and how knowledge of this system can be used to develop treatments for the prevention/treatment of disease. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Laboratories 25% Individual Coursework
Test 25% Individual Test
Final Exam 45% Individual Examination
Quizzes 5% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Final Exam
Students must pass the practical laboratories and the theory (Test and Final Exam) independently to pass the course overall. 


A Tuākana tutorial programme is available for this course. 

Key Topics

Module A. The Dynamic Cell
Module B. The Central Dogma of Molecular Biology
Module C: Gene Expression
Module D: Developmental Biology
Module E: Introduction to Immunology
Module F: Cell Proliferation and Cancer 

Special Requirements

Students must pass the practical (laboratories) and the theory (quizzes, test and exam) independently to pass the course overall. 
Evening test 6.30-8.00 pm

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 3 hours of lectures per week, 3 hours of labs per fortnight, 66 hours of reading and thinking about the content including work on laboratory assignments, practice genetics questions, test/exam preparation. This is a minimum of 5 hours per week outside lectures and labs. 

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is required at scheduled activities including labs to complete components of the course.
Lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities including labs will not be available as recordings.
The course will not include live online events.
Attendance on campus is required for the test/exam.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

During COVID lockdowns if teaching is unable to be delivered on campus, lectures are delivered live via ZOOM (and recordings). Labs consist of an online version of the lab to develop data analysis and reporting skills.

A remote version of the course can be made available to students located overseas because of border restrictions, or those with an exemption to study remotely.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Course Guide (available online as PDF)
Recommended Textbook: Lodish et al Molecular Cell Biology
Lab coat and safety glasses for in person labs

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 22/02/2022 09:19 a.m.