BIOSCI 353 : Molecular and Cellular Regulation


2020 Semester Two (1205) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

The molecular mechanisms which mediate intracellular sorting and targeting of biologically active molecules and the networks of intracellular and extracellular signals which regulate cell function form the focus of this course. The roles of growth factors, oncogenes, plasma membrane receptors, nuclear receptors, ion channels and membrane transporters are emphasised.

Course Overview

Cells are exceptionally complex. They have an almost unaccountable number of biological processes occurring inside a tiny volume of space. With such a complex network of interacting biological processes, the correct regulation, timing and location of cellular events is critical to maintain normal cell function. In this course we focus on specific aspects of cellular regulation including how molecules are made and transported around the cell, how cells communicate, how cellular homeostasis is maintained through quality control processes and adaptation to stress, damage, or disease, and ultimately how cells die. This paper provides you with a strong foundation to further your studies in cell biology as a post graduate; the intriguing molecular world of the cell is waiting for you to dissect!

*Students who are approved are able to take this course remotely.

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: BIOSCI 201, 203

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. Evaluate critically the current literature to form a hypothesis about a cellular biology question, and form a coherent written argument to support this hypothesis. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5)
  2. Develop the practical skills associated with cellular biology research in a group-based learning environment. (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  3. Use practical skills to answer cell biology questions and communicate the answers in the form of a lab report. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5)
  4. Utilise knowledge of the unfolded protein response, heat shock response, and cell death pathways to predict how cells will respond to acute or chronic stressors, including heat, chemical agents, and protein misfolding. (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 5)
  5. Describe how G protein-coupled receptors function by post-translational modification, sequence variation and splicing, and how their function can be regulated by other membrane and intracellular proteins. (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 5)
  6. Evaluate key molecular processes underlying the organisation of cellular organelles, protein translocation into membranes and the secretory pathway. (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 5)
  7. Compare and contrast the competing roles of autophagy processes in cellular homeostasis and in the progression of disease. (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 5)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Quizzes 5% Individual Coursework
Essay 10% Individual Coursework
Test 30% Individual Test
Final Exam 30% Individual Examination
Laboratories 25% Group & Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Final Exam

Students must pass the practical (laboratories) and the theory (quizzes, essay, test and exam) independently to pass the course overall.

Key Topics

Module 1. Organelles and disease
Module 2. Cellular stress response and cell fate
Module 3. Signalling by G protein-coupled receptors
Module 4. Autophagy and disease

Learning Resources

In this course we do not provide a printed or electronic course guide. Learning resources will be provided in CANVAS for each module or topic. We do not follow any textbook closely and often use journal articles to inform our teaching. Students who are approved to take this course remotely will be provided with appropriate resources to complete all practical and theoretical components.

Recommended Textbook: Lodish et al Molecular Cell Biology

Special Requirements

Students must pass the practical (laboratories) and the theory (quizzes, essay, test and exam) independently to pass the course overall.
Two evening tests 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 laboratory every two weeks, four 1 hour tutorials, and over the entire course ~60 hours of reading and thinking about the content, and working on assignments and/or test preparation. 

Digital 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.


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.

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.

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 at

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.

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.

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 you may be asked to submit your 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. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.

Published on 03/07/2020 01:43 p.m.