University of Technology Sydney

91161 Cell Biology and Genetics

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2020 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Science: Life Sciences
Credit points: 6 cp
Result type: Grade and marks

Description

This subject provides an introduction to the basic concepts of cell biology with a focus on cell structure and function, biological molecules, genetic code and theories of inheritance. The subject aims to develop students' professional skills through the introduction of a range of basic laboratory, analytical and quantitative skills used to investigate the cell structure and the functional significance of their sub-cellular organisation. Students also learn how to utilise modern library resources to find and review published research literature, evaluate its content and significance, and create both written and oral presentations that can be used to communicate core scientific concepts. After completing this subject, students should be able to gather, evaluate and apply necessary information relevant to a scientific problem.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:

1. Describe and explain fundamental concepts of biomolecules, cell structure, cell cycle, cellular processes, genetics, and the importance of water to life.
2. Communicate, in oral and written formats, fundamental concepts of Cell Biology and Genetics in a clear and concise manner to a target audience with basic (high school) scientific knowledge.
3. Accurately follow experimental procedures (methods) to examine biomolecules in a laboratory setting.
4. Analyse scientific data (experimental and published writings) and come to the correct, reasoned conclusion.
5. Present scientific data in graphical, tabular and written formats.
6. Research a specific scientific topic relevant to Cell Biology and Genetics, including literature searches of published materials.

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

Graduate Attribute 1 - Disciplinary knowledge and its appropriate application.

An understanding of the nature, practice & application of the chosen science discipline.

  • Fundamental disciplinary and technical knowledge in cellular biology and genetics will be gained from lectures, course texts and online materials and participation in practical exercises. This knowledge will be assessed both during the subject via quizzes and at the conclusion of the subject by a final formal exam.

Graduate Attribute 2 - An Inquiry-oriented approach

Encompasses problem-solving, critical thinking and analysis attributes, and an understanding of the scientific method knowledge acquisition.

  • An appreciation of critical and independent thinking by objective criticism, logical thought and problem-solving that are considered to be the foundations of the scientific method will be gained by participation in a series of practicals that support learning of key cell biology and genetics concepts. This will be assessed by completion of worksheets for each practical.
  • The gathering, evaluating and applying of information relevant to a scientific problem and an appreciation of the existence of different sources and types of information, such as peer-reviewed publications, databases, research and review articles, textbooks, catalogues and technical reference books will also contribute to the subject enquiry-orientated approach. This will be achieved by completion of and assessment of both an oral presentation and a mini poster assignment that will be supported by dedicated research skills workshops.

Graduate Attribute 3 - Professional skills and their appropriate application

The ability to acquire, develop, employ and integrate a range of technical, practical and professional skills, in appropriate and ethical ways within a professional context, autonomously and collaboratively and across a range of disciplinary and professional areas.

e.g. Time management skills, personal organisation skills, teamwork skills, computing skills, laboratory skills, data handling, quantitative and graphical literacy skills.

  • The application of numerical and analytical skills at a level appropriate to scientific practice for a stage 1 undergraduate student will support development of this graduate attribute. You will develop professional skills in a range of basic laboratory techniques and be assessed by completion of lab worksheets that include analysis of data, creation of tables & graphs and answering of specific questions related to the practicals.
  • An understanding of the observational and experimental character of science and development of basic skills in field and laboratory techniques and experimental design will also constitute an integral part of the practicals with assessment being based on careful completion of the required protocols and accurate reporting of your outcomes in the laboratory worksheets.
  • Management of workload required for scientific based practice and professional work will involve preparation for practicals and contributions to group based parts of the practicals. Assessment will be via several pre-practical preparation exercises and on your observed in-practical participation and contributions.

Graduate Attribute 6 - Communication skills

A fundamental understanding of the different forms of communication - writing, reading, speaking, listening, as well as, visual and graphical - within science and beyond and the ability to apply these appropriately and effectively for different audiences.

  • A level of spoken and written communication skills in the presentation of scientific research and data commensurate with the expected foundation level of stage 1 undergraduate student will be gained by preparation of an oral and written assignment based on a published scientific article. Assessment will be based on clear presentation in both formats to academic staff and student peers.

Teaching and learning strategies

This subject adopts both teacher and student-led approaches to help you understand and apply the concepts of Cell Biology and Genetics. You will be encouraged to learn via a blended approach of attending face-to-face lectures (1.5 hrs per week) that will be complemented by extensive use of online resources, laboratory practicals (3 hrs per week) and participation in workshops/tutorial (varies). The subject delivery is 4.5 hours per week over 12 weeks of Autumn Session. Over the Session, you will have:

Lectures: 1.5 hours per week x 11 weeks

In this subject, you will learn the basic concepts of Cell Biology and Genetics through the attendance of face-to-face lectures. The lectures will provide you with the opportunity to quickly clarify complex descriptions, terminology, and engage with complicated topics. Approximately 50% of the face-to-face content of the course will be delivered as student-led enquiry. To this end, you will be required to use your time outside of the classroom to review and understand the week’s lecture content with materials provided on UTSOnline so that when you attend the lectures, you can put your learning to practice. You will also be required to engage in online learning modules (Mastering Biology) each week. These modules will involve self-administered mini quiz followed by direct online feedback on your performance with the opportunity to immediately review subject material needed for improved performance in a subsequent retesting. This will provide context for early and ongoing feedback.

Laboratory Practical: 3 hours per week x 6 weeks

You will be expected to attend and participate in 6 practical sessions each of 3 hrs duration. These sessions will occur in a technology integrated laboratory and involve experiments that develop practical laboratory skills and illustrate concepts of both qualitative and quantitative analysis in support of the lecture material. The practical exercises will based on experimental testing of biological materials, modelling of biological structures and process flows and a genetic simulation experiment. Laboratory-based exercised will incorporate both individual and small group based work (i.e. groups of 2-4 students).

Research Workshop: 2 hour per week x 2 weeks

Research Workshop 1 will be structured so that in the first half of the class you will pick your poster topic and learn how to search the literature to find the article you will present. Guided by a worksheet, you will identify the important information from the article and use this to create a poster of the article. You will also be provided with an instruction sheet and detailed marking rubric of the assignment to ensure you understand the outcomes required.

Research Workshop 2 will expect you to come to class with your poster (and a copy of the article) and have this peer-reviewed by your fellow students. This peer-review will be facilitated by the teaching associates (TAs) and follow a developed worksheet that will give formative feedback to you. You will then be asked to self-reflect on this feedback by writing a one-paragraph under the given feedback, describing how the feedback can improve your work. TAs will acknowledge students who have doubts about the accuracy of the feedback given and will encourage any such students to research further, and come to their own evidence-based conclusions. In addition, online resources will be added to UTS Online to assist in your knowledge of scientific articles and how to create a scientific poster. You will give an oral presentation based on the scientific poster that you were guided to complete in the workshops towards the end of the session.

UTSOnline

The use of UTSOnline is integral to the subject and you are expected to login to CBG content regularly to receive information relating to scheduling, assessment tasks, lecture and laboratory times and locations, to participate in the online forums, quizzes, and to access online resources. You will also be able to access UTSOnline Discussion Board to ask/discuss topics of interest related to the content of the subject.

Content (topics)

The major topics covered in this subject are:

1. Cell structure and cellular processes including:

Basic cell structure including organelles of eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells.

  • Cell membrane transport
  • Cellular communication
  • Energy and metabolism
  • Water and basic acid/base concepts as they relate to living organisms

2. Properties of Biomolecules including the structure, function and techniques for quantitative measurements of:

  • Carbohydrate
  • Protein
  • Lipid
  • Nucleic acid

3. Understanding of basic genetics including:

  • Concept of genetic code, chemical structure and regulation through transcription and translation.
  • Cell division (meiosis and mitosis), differentiation and cell cycle
  • Theories of inheritance, including population genetics, evolutionary relationship and Mendelian and Non-Mendelian theories.
  • Diseases pertaining to inherited diseases as well as diseases relating to gene expression or mutation.

Assessment

Assessment task 1: Mastering Biology Quizzes

Intent:

This assessment task contributes to the development of the following graduate attributes:

1. disciplinary knowledge and its appropriate application

Objective(s):

This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

1

This assessment task contributes to the development of course intended learning outcome(s):

.0

Type: Quiz/test
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 5%
Criteria:

You will be assessed on:

  • Ability to correctly answer multiple choice questions based on lecture and practical session material covered during specified weeks.

Assessment task 2: Practical Reports/Datasheets

Intent:

This assessment task contributes to the development of the following graduate attributes:

2. an inquiry-oriented approach

3. professional skills and their appropriate application

Both individual and small group (ie. 2-4 students) work will contribute towards successful participation but all worksheets will be assessed on indivual submissions.

Objective(s):

This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

3, 4 and 5

This assessment task contributes to the development of course intended learning outcome(s):

.0 and .0

Type: Laboratory/practical
Groupwork: Group, individually assessed
Weight: 30%
Criteria:

You will be assessed on:

  • Ability to undertake simple experimental protocols that involve solutions, instrumentation, models and computer simulations
  • Ability to correctly answer short-answer questions, correctly perform and demonstrate workings out of set calculations, draw and label graphs, record, interpret and analyse data collected for each experiment.
  • Some practicals will also incorporate online pre-practical preparation exercises which will incorporate a small component of the assessment mark.

Assessment task 3: Poster

Intent:

This assessment task contributes to the development of the following graduate attributes:

1. disciplinary knowledge and its appropriate application

3. professional skills and their appropriate application

6. communication skills

Objective(s):

This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

1, 2 and 6

This assessment task contributes to the development of course intended learning outcome(s):

.0, .0 and .0

Type: Project
Groupwork: Group, individually assessed
Weight: 25%
Criteria:

You will be assessed on ability to:

  • source relevant published information
  • prepare an electronic poster of the publication that clearly identifies the main ideas and content (assessed early to provide feedback)
  • write clear and well-argued descriptions of the topic
  • prepare and present a poster according to the guidelines
  • give a 3-minute oral presentation of the research topic displayed on the poster

See poster assignment guidelines and checklist for further details (available on UTSOnline).

Assessment task 4: Final Examination

Intent:

This assessment task contributes to the development of the following graduate attributes:

1. disciplinary knowledge and its appropriate application

Objective(s):

This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

1

This assessment task contributes to the development of course intended learning outcome(s):

.0

Type: Examination
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 40%
Criteria:

You will be assessed on:

  • Ability to correctly answer multiple choice questions that cover both theory and practical aspects of the subject.

Minimum requirements

  • You are expected to attend all lectures and laboratory sessions. For laboratory sessions, a record of attendance will be taken.
  • Check the assessment schedule for dates and content of the Online quizzes and assignment. You need to check in advance each week whether you have an upcoming quiz or assessment item - ignorance of a scheduled assessment date is NOT an acceptable excuse for poor results and will NOT be taken into account.
  • Any assessment task worth 40% or more requires you to gain at least 40% of the mark for that task. If 40% is not reached, an X grade fail may be awarded for the subject, irrespective of an overall mark greater than 50.
  • In order to pass this subject the sum total of all assessment components must be greater than or equal to 50%. A satisfactory level must be achieved in all sections, including the final exam.

Recommended texts

Campbell Biology (2018) 11th Edition, Australian Version (Pearson)

Other resources

Alternative Text:

  • Raven PH, Johnson GB, Losos JB, Mason KA and Singer SR. (2008) Biology 8th Edition (McGraw-Hill)
  • Brooker RJ, Widmaier EP, Graham LE and Stiling PD. (2008) Biology (McGraw-Hill)
  • Sadava D, Heller HC, Orians GH, Purves WK and Hillis DM. (2008) Life – The Science of Biology, 8th Edition (Sinauer/ Freeman)
  • Freeman S. (2005) Biological Science. 2nd Edition (Pearson / Prentice Hall)


Additional Text:

  • Knox RB, Ladiges P, Evans B and Saint R. (2005) Biology 3rd Edition (McGraw-Hill)
  • Brooker RJ. (2005) Genetics: Analysis and Principles, 2nd Edition (McGraw-Hill)
  • Lodish H, Berk A, Kaiser CA, Krieger M, Scott MP, Bretscher A, Ploegh H and Matsudaira P. (2008) Molecular Cell Biology 6th Edition (WH Freeman & Co)
  • Alberts B, Johnson A, Lewis J, Raff M, Roberts K and Walter P. (2002) Molecular Biology of the Cell, 4th Edition (Garland)
  • Alberts B, Bray D, Hopkin K, Johnson A, Lewis J, Raff M, Roberts K and Walter P. (2004) Essential Cell Biology, 2nd Edition (Garland)
  • Nelson DL and Cox MM. (2005) Lehninger - Principles of Biochemistry, 4th Edition (Freeman)


Additional Resource Text:

  • Garrett LK. (2007) Get Ready for Biology (Pearson/Benjamin Cummings)
  • Reed R, Holmes D, Weyers J and Jones A (2007) Practical Skills in Biomolecular Sciences 3rd Edition (Pearson/Benjamin Cummings)
  • Jones A, Reed R and Weyers J. (2007) Practical Skills in Biology 4th Edition (Pearson/Benjamin Cummings)
  • Lawrence E. (2008) Henderson’s Dictionary of Biology, 14th Edition (Pearson/Benjamin Cummings)