Module Overview

Cell Biology

This module was designed to introduce students to concepts related to the structure, organisation and function of the eukaryotic cell as well as different experimental techniques for studying cells. The theoretical concepts are focused on the structure of the eukaryotic cell, organelles and membranes in the compartmentalisation, sorting, transport and communication within and between other cells in a biological environment. There is an emphasis on plasma membrane structure and function, protein sorting and protein import into organelles. The practical components are closely aligned to theoretic concepts so that students become proficient in the use of microscopy applied to cell counting and viability testing, histological techniques, data interpretation and further cellular isolation and/or analysis laboratory techniques.

Module Code

BIOL 2406

ECTS Credits


*Curricular information is subject to change

Lecture content

  • Eukaryotic cell structure, functions of cellular organelles and interrelationships.
  • The structure and function of the cell and organelle membranes, the endomembrane system and vesicular transport including the secretory pathways of exocytosis and endocytosis.
  • Protein sorting and protein import into cell organelles. 
  • Structure and functions of lipid component of the plasma membrane
  • Structure and function of plasma membrane proteins in cellular transport processes (transporters), cell to cell communication (receptors) and cellular communities (integrins)
  • Components of the cellular cytoskeleton; actin filaments, microtubules and intermediate filaments.
  • Mitochondrial structure and function with emphasis on the electron transport chain (ETC).
  • The eukaryotic cell cycle and associated checkpoints; overview of apoptosis.

Practical content

  • Introduction to microscopic techniques and applications in cell biology; including electron microscopy, fluorescent microscopy, phase contrast inverted microscopy and basic light microscopy.
  • Application of a haemocytometer for cell counting and trypan blue viability testing.
  • Standard slide preparation and staining techniques.
  • Analysis of osmosis in red blood cells.
  • Analysis and interpretation of data obtained from FRAP (Fluorescence Recovery After Photo-bleaching).
  • Isolation and analysis of mitochondria by differential centrifugation and enzyme assays respectively.

Delivery of the module will be through lectures closely aligned to practicals, self-directed learning, online demonstrations and video animations with problem solving tasks and interactive tutorials using student response systems.

Module Content & Assessment
Assessment Breakdown %
Formal Examination60
Other Assessment(s)40