BIOL253-18S1 (C) Semester One 2018

Cell Biology I

15 points, 0.1250 EFTS
19 Feb 2018 - 24 Jun 2018


Internal organisation of the cell. The course will build on the introduction to cell biology in BIOL 111 (BCHM 111) and seek to develop further understanding of the internal workings of the cell.

The course will cover membrane structure, principles of membrane transport and the electrical properties of membranes, intracellular compartments and protein sorting, principles of the cytoskeleton, and the cell cycle and apoptosis. As all cells operate using the same basic machinery, experimental work on cells from “simpler” organisms has revolutionised our understanding of human biology and disease. Studies on the control of the cell cycle in yeast, for example have taught us much about human cancer. The use of such model organisms, which also include the wild mustard Arabidopsis, nematode worms and mice, is crucial in biological research and examples of a key process in cell biology from these organisms will be included. The genomes of these organisms have been sequenced, thus we know the molecular make-up of these cells. Genetics and biochemistry can tell us how various parts function individually and a key task for cell biologists is to understand how all of these interact together to form a dynamic living entity.

Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • gain a greater appreciation of the internal workings of the cell
  • appreciate the sophistication of mechanisms that have evolved to enable the workings of a cell, but at the same time be mindful that we still have much to discover
  • become familiar with modern cell biology experimental techniques
  • understand the use of “model organisms” - appreciate how experimental findings made on seemingly “lower organisms” such as nematodes and yeast can lead to a better understanding of the complexity of human biology and disease
  • gain an understanding of both the theory and the practice of cell biology which will make them attractive to potential employers.

    As a student in this course, I will develop the skills required to:
  • Synthesise information. In everyday life and in many job situations you will be required to read information from different sources, generate your own understanding and develop your own viewpoint. Your understanding of the topics covered in the course will be achieved by reading information obtained from lectures, labs and assigned readings from textbooks and papers. In lectures we will discuss recent research papers and this will develop your abilities to identify the essential elements of research outputs - you will use these skills in report writing.
  • Collect experimental data. Important for research and in governmental and nongovernmental organizations. We will conduct research activities in the lab to provide both the real-world context for lectures and to develop hands-on skills in data collection.
  • Analyse data. Important for research, as well as in a number of private-sector organizations. This skill will be further developed when we assist you to analyse the data we generate in the lab.
  • Write a report on findings. Clear written communication is essential for most professional careers. We will provide you with guidelines on the elements of successful reports.
    • University Graduate Attributes

      This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

      Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

      Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.

      Employable, innovative and enterprising

      Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.


BIOL111 or ENCH281. RP: 15 points of CHEM at 100 level


Equivalent Courses

Recommended Preparation

15 points of CHEM at 100 level

Timetable 2018

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
1 Thursday 13:00 - 14:00 Ernest Rutherford 140 19 Feb - 1 Apr
23 Apr - 3 Jun
Lecture B
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
1 Monday 16:00 - 17:00 E16 Lecture Theatre 19 Feb - 1 Apr
23 Apr - 3 Jun
Lab A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
1 Tuesday 14:00 - 18:00 Putaiao Koiora 463 23 Apr - 27 May
2 Thursday 14:00 - 18:00 Putaiao Koiora 463 23 Apr - 27 May

Examination and Formal Tests

Test A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Wednesday 19:00 - 20:00 E9 Lecture Theatre 19 Mar - 25 Mar

Timetable Note

It is compulsory to wear a lab coat in the laboratory and can be purchased at the beginning of the year.

Where to purchase your lab coats and safety glasses


To purchase: buy a receipt from the Copy Centre, 2nd floor, Puaka-James Hight building, (payment by eftpos and credit card only – lab coats $32, glasses $10), 9.00 am - 4.00 pm, Monday to Friday.

Receipts may then be exchanged in the atrium inside the southern entry to the Ernest Rutherford Building, 8.30 – 10 am and 1.30 – 2.30 pm, Monday to Friday for the first two weeks of the semester.

After the first two weeks they can be collected from Ernest Rutherford Room 130 (Chemical Store).

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Ashley Garrill


Daniela Remus

Guest Lecturer

Professor Marty Serra, Visiting Erskine (Allegheny College, PA)

Lab Coordinator

Ashley Garrill

Lab Technician

Reijel Gardiner


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Final Exam 52%
Lab assignments 30%
In-term Test 18%


Required Texts

Alberts B et al; Molecular Biology of the Cell; 5th; Garland Science, 2008.

Additional Course Outline Information

Academic integrity

It is essential that you are aware that plagiarism is considered a very serious offence by the Academic community, the University and the School of Biological Sciences. Plagiarism is defined as taking content from another work or author and presenting it, without attribution, as if it is your own work. Content here includes text (sentences or major parts of sentences), display items (graphs and tables), and overall structure (the detailed sequence of ideas). Plagiarism includes:
• re-use of previous assignments (even if each individual sentence has been rephrased to say the same thing in different words, if the overall structure is re-used)  
• copying of another student’s work (with or without their consent)
• the unreferenced use of published material or material from the internet e.g. cutting and pasting of paragraphs or pages into an essay.
For most pieces of in-term assessment you will be given information concerning the use of direct and indirect quotes from previously published work. If you are in any doubt about appropriate use of published material, please speak with a member of academic staff. If you are still unsure what plagiarism is, then seek advice.

It is a School policy that courses may request you submit work electronically for subsequent analysis of originality using Turnitin. Students agree that by taking courses in BIOL, required papers may be subject to submission for textual similarity review to for the detection of plagiarism.  All submitted papers will be included as source documents in the reference database solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of such papers.  Use of the service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the site.

Assessment and grading system

A+ 90% or above
A 85 – 90
A- 80 – 84
B+ 75 – 79
B 70 – 74
B- 65 – 69
C+ 60 – 64
C 55 – 59
C- 50 – 54

A restricted pass (R) may be awarded to those who are close to a pass (i.e. an overall score of 48-49.9%) AND who have achieved at least a 40% overall score in both in-course assessment and tests/exams. If an R grade is awarded you gain credit for the course but cannot continue into papers that require this course as a pre-requisite. NB. The R grade is only available at 100 and 200 level - it cannot be awarded for third year papers.

Failing grades:   D   40-49             E  0–39


What if I have written more than the word or page limit?
If there is a word limit on an assignment, it is usually there to stop you doing too much work and to encourage you to write succinctly.  It also makes things easier to assess.  You can be up to 10% over without too much worry, but if the length increases beyond that your mark may suffer due to failure to follow the requirements.  If you find yourself way over the word limit have a chat to the lecturer concerned about how to trim your assignment to an acceptable length.

Requests for extensions

Reports and assignments should be handed in on time. Extensions may be granted if you have a valid reason. If you require an extension, you should request one from the course co-ordinator (or the lecturer responsible for marking the work), with as much notice as possible.  Please do this BEFORE the deadline for the assignment. If you have been given an extension you should hand the work DIRECTLY to the course coordinator (do not put it in the drop box as it may not be cleared after the due date).
If an extension has not been granted:
• work must be handed in by the due date to gain full credit
• work handed in up to 7 days after the deadline will be marked, but the marks will be discounted 25% before they are recorded to the student's credit
• any work handed in more than 7 days after the deadline date will not be marked or earn credit.

What do I do if I’m sick?

What do I do if I have to miss something or if my performance was impaired?
If you feel that illness, injury, bereavement or other extenuating circumstances beyond your control have prevented you from completing an item of assessment worth 10% or more of total course assessment or if these circumstances affected your performance in such assessments, you should apply for Special Consideration. Applications for Special Consideration should be submitted via the Examinations Office website and notify the course co-ordinator within five days of the assessment or its due date. If this is for medical reasons you should visit a doctor within 24 hours of the assessment (application form available on-line or from the Student Health Centre). The Special Consideration provisions are intended to assist students who have covered the work of a course but have been prevented by illness or other critical circumstances from demonstrating their mastery of the material or skills at the time of assessment – they do not excuse you from doing the assessment within a reasonable time agreed with the course co-ordinator. You should expect to be required to submit additional work if you miss a major assignment (e.g. a field trip for which a major write-up is required).

In rare cases you may not be able to complete an assessment or attend a field trip, because of involvement in international or national representative sport or cultural groups. In such cases you should also apply for Special Consideration. Please review the Special Considerations policy because very few kinds of activities will be eligible for consideration (e.g. holiday trips, birthday parties etc. are not given special status in the University policy).

Students prevented by extenuating circumstances from completing the course after the final date for withdrawing, may apply for Special Consideration for late discontinuation of the course. Applications must be submitted to the Examinations Office within five days of the end of the main examination period for the semester.

For further details on Special Consideration applications, please refer to the Examinations Office website

What if I fail part of the course?

In BIOL, we require a satisfactory level of achievement in both the theoretical aspects of the discipline and in practical activities. This means you must attend all class activities and submit all items of assessment unless you have a very good reason not to (e.g. medical reasons). A student must attain an average score of at least 40% for in-course assessments (e.g. assignments, reports) and an average score of at least 40% in the exam and/or test, AND score at least 50% overall for the course, to be awarded a passing grade. See course outline for clarification of the assessment items included in each category and ask the coordinator if you are still unsure.

What’s the best way to give feedback?

We welcome constructive feedback at all times – help us to make this a valuable course for you.  We endeavour to remain approachable at all times.  If you would rather give feedback anonymously, please use the on-line course survey or talk to lab demonstrators, or your class rep (who will all report back to the staff-student liaison committee that includes a representative from each of the undergraduate classes). Class representatives will be selected from each class at the start of course.

What’s the best way to complain?

If you feel you have not been fairly treated during this course, please raise the issue with the lecturer or course co-ordinator in the first instance.  Other avenues include your class rep., who can raise issues anonymously, or the UCSA education coordinator.

Where to submit and collect work

All assignments should be placed in the designated collection box in the foyer of the 2nd floor of the School of Biological Sciences (near the main office), unless directed otherwise by the course co-ordinator. All assignments must be accompanied by a cover sheet signed by you stating that the submitted work is not plagiarised. Cover sheets are available on top of the collection boxes, or you can download one from the Biology website (under Undergraduate). In addition, you may also be asked to submit your work electronically (via Learn) for analysis in Turnitin. You will be given instructions on how to do this in the assignment handout.

Marked assignments can be collected from the Secretaries' Office between the hours 9.30-10.30am and 1.30-2.30pm, unless directed otherwise by the course co-ordinator. Teaching staff will endeavour to return work as soon as possible, and should contact you if there are likely to be any delays that will prevent return within the maximum 4-week timeframe.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $865.00

International fee $3,788.00

* Fees include New Zealand GST and do not include any programme level discount or additional course related expenses.

Minimum enrolments

This course will not be offered if fewer than 10 people apply to enrol.

For further information see School of Biological Sciences.

All BIOL253 Occurrences

  • BIOL253-18S1 (C) Semester One 2018