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Course Breakdown


Laboratory Component - 25%

Module Quizzes - 5%

Mid-semester Test - 25%

Exam - 45%

Course Information


Course Textbook:
Molecular Cell Biology (7th ed) - Lodish et al.
Official UoA Website: link.

Basic Information

BIOSCI201 is one of the more content-heavy courses out of the stage 2 BIOSCI papers, but as long as you are caught up on lectures it is manageable. You do need to pass both the lab and theory component of the course to pass overall. Each module lasted for 2 weeks, making it easy to keep up with what was happening each week.

Laboratory Component

There is one lab for each module. The format of lab assignments in stage 1 BIOSCI courses continues into stage 2 - a hand-in sheet. This makes it easier to shift your focus on learning the lab content. Although you get a week after the lab to hand the assignment in, make sure you at least have a draft of your answers before you leave the lab, chances are you’ll forget what happened during the lab and make it harder for yourself later on. You’ll start to write your own figure legends for your experimental results, which is exciting! There weren’t many (if any) questions that directly examined lab content.


Lecture Content

Module 1 and 2 are examined in the MST and the remaining four modules are examined in the exam. Tip: The cell biology module taught by Kathryn will overlap with the week of the MST and it is easy to forget this module due to your revision. Try your best to keep up with all the lectures, especially because this module as it is unassumingly challenging, so that you don’t feel so overwhelmed when studying for the exam. All the modules include 5 lectures of content and one tutorial, the perfect opportunity to ask any questions you have! You are able to bring in one double-sided A4 paper of notes into tests and exams. It is especially helpful to include when you have some details you are struggling to remember.

Note: Kathryn and a few other lecturers teaching in BIOSCI love using the document camera. Watching those lectures online during them will make you feel like a loser, I highly recommend attending them in person.

Nucleic acids, gene expression and protein structure (David Goldstone)

This module essentially builds the foundation for the rest of the course, teaching key simple concepts to equip students for cell biology. This topic covers initiation of DNA replication, translation, DNA repair and an intro to protein structure.


Regulation of gene expression (Augusto Barbosa)

This topic covers transcription and RNA processing, chromatin remodelling, gene regulation from mRNA to protein synthesis. This module dives into high detail and it is expected to know. A lot of students found this module new and hard to adjust to, so make sure to ask that question you've been thinking of asking (someone else is definitely wondering the same thing!).

Cell biology (Kathryn Jones)

The dynamic cell module taught by Kathryn Jones covers how each component of the cell is linked to one another, how they communicate to carry out cellular processes. This includes how proteins are targeted to the endoplasmic reticulum, , the pathway from the ER to the golgi complex, vesicle trafficking and regulation of biochemicals across the plasma membrane. 

Developmental Biology (Hillary Sheppard)

This module essentially gives an introduction to how one cell, a fertilised egg, can develop into us (a complex, multicellular organism). It covers ideas like patterning of multicellular organisms, gastrulation and making and maintaining stem cells. There will be a lot of new vocabulary exposed in this module since there is little developmental biology taught in first year courses (if at all), I advise listening closely to the lecture if you don't do so already. :))


Introduction to Immunology (Julie McIntosh)

This module builds on from first year content and covers innate and adaptive (T and B cell responses) immunity, antigen processing and presentation by MHC molecules and vaccines. This module was difficult despite the exposure in first year.

Cell Proliferation and cancer (Rod Dunbar)

Professor Rod Dunbar was very kind and provided lecture notes for his module which was very helpful for study. This module's content covered characteristics of cancer cells, biology of tumours, oncogenes, tumour suppressor genes and immunotherapy for cancer. 

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