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Course Breakdown

Mid-Semester Test: 30%

Laboratories: 20%

Online Feedback: 10%

Exam: 40%

Course Information


Prescribed Textbook:

  • Principles of Anatomy and Physiology (14th ed) - Tortora & Derrickson

UoA Course Website: link

Basic Information

BIOSCI 107 is the first university biology course that you are going to encounter and kind of chucks you in the deep end with its abundance of knowledge and heavily weighted lab work. The coordinator for BIOSCI107 is Dr Suzanne Reid (in 2023), who is fantastic at her job as she is always in the periphery of every lecture, supporting you, sending you emails to update you on your progress.

In BIOSCI107, most of the lecturers teach using lecture slides which makes revision relatively straightforward as these slides are uploaded online and generally contain most of the information needed. The course guide for 107 is filled with all of your prelab work and lecture content. The course guide perfectly aligns with the lecture structure and is filled with a combination of both diagrams to annotate, key information and spaces to write notes. Depending on the style of the lecturer, some lecturers focus on it more than others, but it is definitely the a good way to prime yourself for each lecture.

The mid-term test contains content from the first 3 topics while the final exam covers the last 4 topics.

Laboratory Component

Most of the 5 labs were quite straightforward - requiring you to complete a pre-lab and an in-lab assessment. There were two labs which were quite memorable: the blood and immune lab and the osmolarity lab (usually Lab #3 and #4). The blood and immune lab is technically difficult as you're trying to count blood cells whilst classifying them with a cow blood sample which you must mix yourself. The in person lab for blood and immune was optional in 2023, but the theory aspect was still compulsory through an online lab. The osmolarity lab also worked with cow blood where you would learn how to interpret blood samples. In general, people always freak out about BIOSCI107 labs as it is one of the first BIOSCI courses that you will encounter. With that being said, my hot tip would be for you to calm down about the 107 labs, just do the pre-lab, pre-read the lab instructions and stay calm if you make a mistake!

Lecture Content

BIOSCI 107 consists of 7 Modules:

Cells and Tissues

This section was 4 lectures long and was taught by Professor Anthony Philips in 2023. Many people considered him to be very clear in his lecturing style. This part of the course was relatively 'easy' in the sense that the concepts were not overly complicated and all the information was found on the lecture slides. He consistently uploaded the slides after each lecture. 


During class, he would simply go through his lecture slides which had all the necessary information written on them. The best way to study this topic would be to use his slides as a template. This professor paid attention to detail, so make sure to be specific with your learning as he can use tricky questions in the test. Another useful thing people did was to pay attention to certain diagrams that the lecturer placed emphasis on during lectures. The fine details in those diagrams also proved important (i.e. came up in the test). This section was difficult but only due to the large amount of information. However, it is definitely still achievable to study.

SUPER handy hint; Do not feel too overwhelmed if you can not keep up with his slides. This can be combated with pre-reading his lecture slides, doing practice on various slides, and listening to what he says rather than copying down everything verbatim! You can always rewatch the lecture online. You can do this! 

Topics Covered/Content to Expect:

  • Structural Organisation of the body

  • Human Body Systems 

  • Tissue Types + Histology (+ structure & function)

    • Epithelia

    • Connective

    • Muscle

    • Nervous

Cell Structure and Function

This section was 6 lectures long and taught by course coordinator Dr Suzanne Reid in 2023. There was a lot of content to learn and the content tied into each other, but it is usually easy for most students since it builds on topics taught in high school biology. However, for some people this topic would be their first encounter with inner/extracellular processes and metabolism so it's understandable if you get overwhelmed.  Again, most of the information was in the lecture slides thus a similar approach could be used as for cells and tissues. As for the cellular communication lecture, using sources such as youtube/khanacademy really helped and sitting down to slowly teach the steps to yourself out loud were really handy too!

Topics Covered/Content to Expect: 

  • Organelles of the cell

  • DNA structure and function 

  • Membrane proteins, ATP + Protein synthesis

  • Cell Signalling

  • Cell Division & Cancer 

Special Topics

A series of 2 lectures in which we had guest lecturers teaching about early human development and protein structure and function. They were fun!


Human Development (embryology)

Taught by Dr Hilary Shepherd, this one lecture long topic was a crash course on early human development. Embryology used to be a whole topic in BIOSCI107 but in 2023, they only had it as one of the special topics. Therefore, if you look through previous papers and course resources, you are likely to find a lot of information on it. The topic itself was very interesting and there was definitely a fair amount of rote learning for tissue names and developmental stages. 


Protein Structure and Function

A very straightforward lecture discussing the different shape of proteins, their molecular components, enzymes, and how this knowledge can be used to make medicinal drugs. Dr Yuliana Yosaatmadja used this lecture to help us comprehend the importance of proteins rather than to overload us with new information.


Blood and Immune

This section was 6 lectures long and was taught by Professor John Fraser in 2023. Assoc. Professed Nikki Moreland provides a much needed introductory lecture to help set the scene, as this part of the course was very content heavy. Most of the information was spoken by Professor John Fraser and you may feel overwhelmed with the pacing of the lectures. However, we found the test to be okay as he would mainly test on lecture slide content and course guide content! One thing that people noticed was that this lecturer especially liked to test numbers, names and facts - as evident in the past papers which you would be able to find on the University website.


Topics Covered/Content to Expect:

  • Main components of Blood + Function 

  • Oxygen Transport

  • Complement and Coagulation cascade

  • Infection

  • Innate and Adaptive Immunity

  • Antibodies

  • Cellular Immunity & Histocompatibility 

  • Allergies & Hypersensitivity

Cell Processes

This section was 5 lectures long and was taught by Professor Paul Donaldson in 2023. This section required a bit more conceptual understanding. Most things were on the slides, with some diagrams which you could fill in during lectures. Hot tip; be sure that you know the diagrams inside out; how to draw them and how they work as this is a key concept the lecturer places much emphasis on. This topic was a good way to escape the heavy content of 107 and instead focus on concepts rather than memorisation.


Topics Covered/Content to Expect:

  • Cell Membrane Structure & Function

  • Membrane Transport Methods: 

    • Passive and active transport

    • Channel and carrier mediated transport

    • Osmosis

  • Transport across cell membrane

  • Epithelial transport

  • Glucose transport

  • Chloride secretion 

Excitable Tissue (Nervous)

This section was 4 lectures long and was taught by Dr Monica Kam in 2023. This section was quite straightforward since the lecturer ensured that we fully understood the content. She provided many opportunities throughout the lecture to revise including using course guide diagrams, giving us a summary of the last lecture at the start of each lecture, asking us questions, and more.


Topics Covered/Content to Expect:

  • Action potentials

  • Resting membrane potential

  • Synaptic transmission

  • Neurotransmitters

  • Excitotoxicity

  • Types of neurons

Excitable Tissue (Muscle)

This section was 4 lectures long and was taught by Assoc. Professor Carolyn Barrett in 2023. For this section in 2023, most students found the lecture slides to be the most useful for learning content, and used the course guide just to clarify certain points or give alternative diagrams and descriptions. Most people found this lecturer to be clear and concise on her delivery. She also gave hints as to what she would examine, and what was just "extra information". A big tip Dr Barrett would give is focus on the learning objectives as she would give one question to test each learning objective. As this section is taught last, it does feel a bit rushed but its important to stay up to date with the lectures to ensure success in the final exam.


Topics Covered/Content to Expect:

  • Skeletal Muscle

    • Structure & Function 

    • Action Potentials 

    • Contraction Cycles

    • Anaerobic/aerobic respiration 

    • Excitation Contraction Coupling

    • Length/tension

  • Cardiac Muscle 

    • Structure of heart

    • Contraction

    • Neurotransmitters

  • Smooth Muscle

    • Structure & Function 

    • Contraction Cycles contraction 

    • Contraction force regulation

Updated: 2024

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