BIOSCI 353 : Molecular and Cellular Regulation


2024 Semester Two (1245) (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 innumerable 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. 

BIOSCI 353 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: People and Place
Capability 3: Knowledge and Practice
Capability 4: Critical Thinking
Capability 5: Solution Seeking
Capability 6: Communication
Capability 7: Collaboration
Capability 8: Ethics and Professionalism
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 3, 4, 5 and 6)
  2. Develop the practical skills associated with cellular biology research in a group-based learning environment. (Capability 1, 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8)
  3. Use practical skills to answer cell biology questions and communicate the answers in the form of a lab report. (Capability 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8)
  4. Compare and contrast the competing roles of autophagy processes in cellular homeostasis and in the progression of disease. (Capability 3, 4, 5 and 6)
  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 3, 4, 5 and 6)
  6. Utilise and reflect on knowledge of the 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 3, 4, 5 and 6)
  7. Describe and discuss how cell fate can be manipulated through altering gene expression through gene therapy or cell reprogramming. (Capability 3, 4, 5 and 6)
  8. Predict using knowlege gained in lectures which cell therapy would be best for a variety of human diseases. (Capability 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Quizzes 5% Individual Coursework
Essay 15% Individual Coursework
Test 30% Individual Test
Final Exam 30% Individual Examination
Laboratories 20% 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. 


Tuākana Science is a multi-faceted programme for Māori and Pacific students providing topic specific tutorials, one-on-one sessions, test and exam preparation and more. Explore your options at

Key Topics

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

Special Requirements

The course assessment includes two evening tests; the confirmed date and time for the tests are published in the BIOSCI 353 CANVAS course. As a guide, these are usually held from 6.30-8.00 pm.

Students are required to supply and wear a lab coat and safety glasses while in the teaching lab.

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.
  • We strongly recommend lecture attendance, but they will also be available as recordings. Other learning activities including labs will not be available as recordings.
  • The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

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.

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.

Staff welcome feedback on the course throughout the semester, including the SET evaluations. Please contact your course coordinator or student representative at any time with your feedback.

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 for potential plagiarism or other forms of academic misconduct, 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 16/11/2023 09:57 a.m.