BIOSCI 759 : Cell and Molecular Biomedicine


2021 Semester Two (1215) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Explores recent advances in cell biology that have led to a greater understanding of a variety of cellular processes at the molecular level. Emphasis will be placed on biochemical and genetic approaches to understand disease mechanisms at the cellular level. A sound understanding of either BIOSCI 349 or 353 or MEDSCI 314 or equivalent is assumed.

Course Overview

This course will provide you with insight into distinct areas of current Biomedical Research with particular focus on immunology and molecular biology. We will examine some of the molecular and cellular events that regulate disease mechanisms and explore how we can exploit them for the treatment of disease. You will learn how this research has been conducted, and discover some of the challenges and wider societal issues which need to be considered when conducting modern Biomedical Research. During this course you will learn how to interpret and critically evaluate the Biomedical Research literature, and develop your science communication and debating skills.

This course is designed for students with an interest in Biomedical Science who are pursuing postgraduate studies in Biomedical Science, Biotechnology or wider biological or medical fields. A sound understanding of either BIOSCI 349 or 353 or MEDSCI 314 or equivalent is assumed.

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

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
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Understand and describe the areas of current Biomedical Research covered in this course. (Capability 1)
  2. Understand and describe the key processes in modern Biomedical Research within the context of wider societal issues, such as human and animal ethics, Māori and Pacifica health advancement, and the public health relevance and economic benefits surrounding research. (Capability 1, 2, 5 and 6)
  3. Identify and critically evaluate the rapidly evolving and diverse body of reputable Biomedical Research literature. (Capability 1, 2 and 5)
  4. Apply discipline specific knowledge to interpret data and create new ideas. (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 5)
  5. Communicate Biomedical Science effectively and appropriately. (Capability 1, 4 and 5)
  6. Debate contemporary issues in Biomedical Research. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Seminar 15% Individual Coursework
Essay 15% Individual Coursework
Research paper synopses 10% Individual Coursework
Class participation 5% Individual Coursework
Final Exam 55% Individual Examination
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6
Research paper synopses
Class participation
Final Exam

Key Topics

  • Monoclonal Antibody Immunotherapeutics; Mechanisms of action, targets and clinical applications.
  • Exploiting antigen presenting cells for vaccine delivery
  • Targeted genome editing – enhancing cells for use in the clinic
  • HIV evasion of the intrinsic cellular defence to retroviral infection

Special Requirements

Class attendance is compulsory.

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 8 hours of lectures, 12 hours of seminars, 30 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 60 hours of work on assignments and exam preparation.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is required at scheduled activities including lectures and seminars to complete components of the course.
Lectures will be available as recordings. Seminars  will not be available as recordings.
The course will not include live online events.
Attendance on campus is required for the 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

You will be provided with the BIOSCI 759 course guide at the start of this course. The research and review articles that you require for this course will be detailed in Canvas and Talis.

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.

How previous student feedback has shaped BIOSCI 759 (2nd semester):

•    Feedback provided by the SBS PG Staff Student Consultative Committee in 2019 stated that students would like the BIOSCI 759 lectures to be recorded. In 2020 the lecturers therefore recorded the lecture they delivered at the start of the module and posted it on Canvas for students to access.

•    In 2018 students commented that there were ‘too many synopses to prepare’. In 2019 we therefore reduced the number of synopses that need to be prepared to one per seminar session. Whilst conducting this change we also increased the word limit from 200 to 300 words, to enable students to incorporate critique of the article e.g. what are the strengths and weaknesses of this article.

•    In 2013 students indicated that although they found completing synopses helpful, they were struggling to write synopses the week they were presenting their seminar. So in 2014 the students presenting seminars that week were not required to prepare synopses.

•    In 2013 students commented that BIOSCI 759 included ‘a lot of readings’. In 2014 we therefore reduced the number of review articles to three per topic. N.B. We were unable to reduce the number of research articles, as we need one for each student seminar.

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.

How BIOSCI 759 will be delivered under the different COVID Alert Levels:
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 and seminars.
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 16/12/2020 02:04 p.m.