Module MSE-2020:
Cell Biology

Module Facts

Run by School of Medical Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Dr Gwyndaf Roberts

Overall aims and purpose

Students successfully completing this second year module should develop a conceptual understanding of how the different organelles and proteins contribute to the life cycle & functions of an eukaryotic cell. Disease examples and novel scientific developments are covered.

Course content

This module takes students on a journey through the eukaryotic cell. The content is arranged in 4 blocks, each block will be assessed at the end of the module by completion of a coursework essay and an examination.

Block 1: The Cell Biology of cell signalling: Ion-channel-coupled receptors, G protein coupled receptors and Receptor Tyrosine Kinases in health and disease

Block 2: Protein Homeostasis: The Endoplasmatic Reticulum, Golgi System, Lysosome (protein glycosylation, ER stress response, lysosomal storage disorders)

Block 3: The Mitochondrion: (basic functions, myopathies, apoptosis)

Block 4: The Cytoskeleton: (centrosome in dividing & postmitotic cells, microtubles, actin fibers, microcephaly, asymmetric cell division)

Assessment Criteria

threshold

Category: D (40%-49%)

Knowledge is limited to key areas & principles with gaps. No evidence of background reading. Answers are poorly focussed with some irrelevant material and/or repetition. No original interpretation and ideas. Limited problem solving skills, poor time management. Many weaknesses in presentation and accuracy. Answers use mainly key phrases without explaining them. The mark reflects how wide the knowledge gaps are and how little explanation & context is provided.

excellent

Category: A (70%-100%)

Strong knowledge based on the lecture material. Evidence of background study and good explanation of the biological principles. Answers are focussed with a good structure. Arguments are presented coherently. Mostly free of errors. Some limited original interpretation. Well known links between topics are described. Good problem solving & time management skills.

Upper A (A+, A*)

Comprehensive knowledge & detailed understanding with clear evidence of background study. Highly focussed answer and well structured and supported by diagrams & tables. Very good explanation and relevant context included. Written for a reader who is not familiar with the topic. Logically presented and defended arguments. No factual errors. Original interpretation and novel links between topics are developed. Excellent problem solving & time management skills.

To obtain marks in the A+ and A* range, clear evidence of background reading has to be present. Top answers based on the lecture material return low A marks.

good

Category: B (60%-69%)

Sound knowledge of key areas & principles. The main areas are understood with some minor omissions. Limited evidence of background study. The answer is largely based on the lecture material. Answers are focussed on the question but also with some irrelevant material and weaknesses in structure. Arguments presented but lack sometimes coherence. No original interpretation & ideas. Only major links between topics are described. Evidence of problem solving & time management skills. Some weaknesses in presentation and accuracy.

C- to C+

Category: C (50%-59%)

Sound knowledge of key areas & principles. The main areas are understood with some minor omissions. No evidence of background study. The answer is only based on the lecture material. Answers are focussed on the question but are limited to statements which are not followed up by explanation or context. Answer may contain some irrelevant material and weaknesses in structure. Arguments presented but lack sometimes coherence. No original interpretation & ideas. Only major links between topics are described. No evidence of problem solving & time management skills. Some weaknesses in presentation and accuracy.

Learning outcomes

  1. Demonstrate an appreciation of how the basic blueprint of a cell evolved to full-fill specialised functions. (Biosciences benchmarks: 6.4 subject knowledge & 4.2 intellectual skills)

  2. Demonstrate a conceptual understanding of how the different organelles and compartments form a living eukaryotic cell. (Biosciences benchmarks: 6.4 subject knowledge & 4.2 intellectual skills)

  3. Combine knowledge and understanding of individual cellular processes to explain normal cell function. (Biosciences benchmarks: 6.3 subject knowledge & 4.2 intellectual skills)

  4. Interpret knowledge and understanding of cellular processes to explain the pathogenesis and origins of disease processes. (Biosciences benchmarks: 6.2 subject knowledge & 4.2 intellectual skills)

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
COURSEWORK Why it was worth a Nobel Prize - Letter to Nature

Students will select one Nobel prize winner, from the Physiology or Medicine, or Chemistry categories. Students will then research the scientific background of the winner, select a key paper that contributed to them winning the prize. Finally students will construct an essay/paper, in the format of a Letter to Nature, which will summarise the background of the winner, the state of knowledge prior to the selected paper, the key points of the paper and finally the impact and knowledge post the paper.
https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/medicine/ https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/chemistry/

50
EXAM Examination

Students will sit an exam consisting of two sections covering all topics discussed in the lectures: (A) 50 eMCQ style questions ; (B) short answer exam questions.

50

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Lecture

A series of lectures exploring the main cell organelles.

40
Workshop

Review sessions towards the end of the module summarising the key points and concepts, and advise on revision.

4
Individual Project

Each student will select one Nobel Prize winner for Physiology or Medicine form the list available at https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/

40
Private study

Students are expected to revise the lecture material and to engage with Cell Biology text books and other relevant resources during the module. The evidence of private study in both assignments informs the final module mark. The formation of study groups is encouraged.

116

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

Biomedical sciences graduates should be able to:

  • recognise and apply subject-specific theories, paradigms, concepts or principles (for example, the relationship between genes and proteins, or the nature of essential similarities and differences between prokaryote and eukaryote cells)
  • make evidence-based decisions
  • obtain and integrate several lines of subject-specific evidence to formulate and test hypotheses
  • apply subject knowledge and understanding to address familiar and unfamiliar problems
  • receive and respond to a variety of sources of information: textual, numerical, verbal, graphical.

(QAA Biomedical Sciences (2015) benchmark: 4.2 Intellectual skills; 4.4 Analytical, data interpretation and problem solving skills)

Resources

Pre- and Co-requisite Modules