BIOSCI 353 : Molecular and Cellular Regulation


2021 Semester Two (1215) (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 and display 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. BIOSCI353 is a core paper in both the BSc in Biological Sciences Biochemistry and Cell Biology pathway, and the BSc in Biomedical Sciences Cellular and Molecular Biomedicine pathway. 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!

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 and 3)
  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 and 3)
  6. Describe how cell fate can be manipulated through altering gene expression through gene therapy or cell reprogramming. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  7. Compare and contrast the competing roles of autophagy processes in cellular homeostasis and in the progression of disease. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  8. Predict using knowlege gained in lectures which cell therapy would be best for a variety of human diseases. (Capability 1, 2 and 4)


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 8
Final Exam
Students must pass the practical (laboratories) and the theory (quizzes, essay, test and exam) independently to pass the course overall. 


While we have no formal Tuākana programme we can help connect you with other students and Tuākana to support your academic journey with us in the School of Biological Sciences.

For more information about the Tuākana programme, please see -

Key Topics

Module 1. Cell fate, gene therapy and reprogramming
Module 2. Cellular stress response
Module 3. Signalling by G protein-coupled receptors
Module 4. Cellular housekeeping, autophagy and disease

Special Requirements

  • Students must pass the practical (laboratories) and the theory (quizzes, essay, test and exam) independently to pass the course overall. 
  • The course holds two evening tests 6.30-8.00 pm.
  • Students must wear lab coats and safety glasses in the laboratories.

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. 

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.
  • Attendance on campus is required for the test/exam.
  • The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.
  • 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

In this course we do not provide a printed or electronic course guide. Learning resources will be provided in CANVAS for each module, topic, or laboratory. We do not follow any textbook closely and often use journal articles to inform our teaching. 

Recommended Textbook: Lodish et al Molecular Cell Biology

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.

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.

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.


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 your assessment is fair, and not compromised. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the University Website for information about how to proceed.

Level 1: Delivered normally as specified in delivery mode .
Level 2: You will not be required to attend in person. All teaching and assessment will have a remote option. The following activities will also have an on campus / in person option: lectures, tutorials and laboratories. 
Level 3 / 4: All teaching activities and assessments are delivered remotely

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 06/12/2020 01:52 p.m.