Undergraduate Course: The Dynamic Cell 2 (BILG08009)
|School||School of Biological Sciences
||College||College of Science and Engineering
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||This core biology course covers the dynamic nature of cells and their molecular constituents as well as the metabolic processes that occur within cells. The lecture material is complemented by a laboratory practical, an extended assessed exercise, feedback sessions and Q&A sessions.
In this course we shall study the basic unit of life - the cell. It is important not to view cells merely as the highly organised, static structures built up from lipids, proteins and polysaccharides that we see in electron micrographs. We shall learn that cells are, first and foremost, dynamic entities. A typical cell is in a state of constant flux ¿ a multitude of exquisitely regulated metabolic pathways are in operation; energy is harnessed, stored and released; genes are expressed selectively and polypeptides are synthesised on sophisticated molecular machines; polypeptides are modified, folded up into proteins, transported to appropriate compartments, put to work, and then disposed of when no longer needed; membranes are recycled; subcellular components are towed around the cell by molecular motors. The cell can alter both its proteome and metabolic profile in response to external signals and threats or changes in its surroundings. Viruses, which heavily outnumber cells in the environment and can exchange genetic information with cells, rely on cellular machinery to replicate themselves; resistance and adaptions to viral invasion are drivers in the evolution of the cell that can repair itself when damaged or commit suicide. Of course, cells can copy themselves, communicate and respond to one another and assemble themselves into tissues, organs and organisms.
To help you develop key ¿graduate attributes¿ as follows:
You will deepen your knowledge and understanding of cells as detailed above. Your lecturers are research scientists active in the field with cutting-edge knowledge of the material they deliver. They will share their enthusiasm for understanding biology at a fundamental level.
You will gain experience of research and enquiry in the practical session as well as by tackling the assessed exercise. By engaging with live online sessions involving other students and course staff, and by reading around the topics introduced within each lecture block, you will further enrich your experience of communicating scientific concepts.
You will develop personal and intellectual autonomy that will enhance your capacity for life-long and independent learning through: studying for the multiple-choice test based on the self-taught material; through preparing for live online sessions and participating in Discussion Boards, and through the work involved in successfully addressing questions set as part of the Assessed Exercise.
We encourage you to develop the collaborative working skills essential for every scientist through working with others on the Assessed Exercise, and through participating in the Discussion Boards on the course Learn site as you progress through the course (note that work destined for assessment must be entirely your own and submitted to BTO, by the deadline, individually).
This course has multiple components, some running in parallel, and you will need to organise and summarise your thoughts and material in a flexible and accessible way thus helping you develop the tools needed to maximise your personal effectiveness.
In the laboratory practical exercise we will teach you modern experimental methods, the rudiments of experimental design, data recording and analysis and interpretation skills, and if physical distancing rules allow, good laboratory practice and awareness of health and safety; thus equipping you with technical and practical skills that are required by many employers.
Information for Visiting Students
|Pre-requisites||Equivalent of the courses listed above
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2021/22, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Lecture Hours 33,
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 3,
Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 16,
Summative Assessment Hours 5,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||In-course assessed (ICA) components 100%
The ICA work consists of:
Multiple-choice test: 10%
Assessed Exercise (three Sections worth 13.33% each): 40%
End-of-Block tests/exercises (five Assessments worth 8% each): 40%
Write-up of laboratory practical exercise: 10%
||Laboratory practical exercise follow-up: The practical follow-up session is an opportunity to get feedback on the practical and its associated write-up (a part of the in-course assessment). In the practical follow-up session, a member of the teaching team will discuss the experiments performed and go through the model results. These sessions are also an opportunity for you to ask questions and receive clarification of any experimental methods that you are not sure of.
Live online (whole-class) sessions: As outlined above, each lecture block has at least one timetabled, live, interactive session or part-session(s) (using Learn Collaborate) to which you are invited. The format planned for these sessions varies, but they will be your best opportunity to delve into the contents of each lecture block by directly engaging with the lecturer. You will probably be encouraged to post questions on the Discussion Board in advance of the session, and you will be able to raise additional questions or seek clarifications during these sessions. The sessions, which will be recorded, will be excellent preparation for the unit of in-course assessment that follows each lecture block.
Assessed Exercise: We will return your marks and provide feedback for each Section of the Assessed Exercise as the course progresses. Five (duplicated) sessions are timetabled in which we shall provide general comments and points for discussion and invite you to raise questions and concerns directly with a member of the teaching staff. All the returned scripts should have substantive written feedback from markers.
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Understand the molecular basis of the cell¿s dynamic architecture and some of its key machinery.
- Describe the molecular basis of information storage, and of its flow within and between cells.
- Describe processes whereby proteins molecules and membranes are trafficked into, out of, and around the cell.
- Appreciate the cell as a receptacle for viral replication.
- Describe how cells respond to the environment and behave in a multicellular context.
|Do not buy any of these until you have looked at them and decided which, if any, is suitable for you. You should probably own at least Berg, Tymoczko and Stryer and one from each category. Make sure you get the latest edition. Nearly all these books are bundled with CDs and dedicated websites.|
No textbook will include all of the material covered in lectures. It is essential you attend lectures.
W.H. Elliott and D.C. Elliott Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Oxford.
T. McKee and J.R. McKee Biochemistry: the Molecular Basis of Life McGraw¿Hill.
Nelson DL and Cox MM Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry.Freeman.
J.M. Berg, J.L. Tymoczko and L. Stryer Biochemistry Freeman. A classic - the ¿Bible of Biochemistry undergraduates¿.
C. Branden and J. Tooze Introduction to Protein Structure Garland.
T.D. Pollard and W.C. Earnshaw Cell Biology Saunders.
B. Alberts, et al. The Molecular Biology of the Cell Garland Science.
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||To help you develop key graduate attributes as follows:
You will deepen your knowledge and understanding of the cell as detailed above. Your lecturers are research scientists active in the field with cutting-edge knowledge of the material they deliver. They will share their enthusiasm for understanding biology at a fundamental level.
You will gain experience of research and enquiry in the practical sessions, by tackling the assessed problem, by engaging with your tutors and demonstrators, and by reading around the topics in your lectures.
You will develop personal and intellectual autonomy that will enhance your capacity for life-long and independent learning through studying for the multiple-choice test based on the self-taught material in the Appendix of this course book, through preparing for tutorials, and through the work involved in successfully addressing question set as part of the assessed problem.
We encourage you to develop the communication skills essential for every scientist via working as pairs or groups in practical sessions or tutorials, and through participating in the discussion page on the course Learn site when you undertake the assessed problem.
You will also have the opportunity to hone your writing skills when summarising the science in the assessed problem.
This course has multiple components, some running in parallel, and you will need to organise and summarise your thoughts and material in a flexible and accessible way thus helping you developing the tools needed to maximise your personal effectiveness.
In the practical sessions we will teach you modern experimental methods, the rudiments of experimental design, data recording and analysis and interpretation skills, good laboratory practice and awareness of health and safety; thus equipping you with technical and practical skills that are required by many employers.
||It is possible, upon request, for TDC students to avoid being assigned to TDC classes after 13.50 on Weds.
Note: it is NOT possible for TDC students to have any commitments between 10.00 and 13.00 on Weds.
|Additional Class Delivery Information
||Timetabled Online Teaching Sessions:
There will be a total of 33 fifty-minute timetabled, ¿online teaching sessions¿ in TDC. These replace the in-person lectures of a traditional university course. Most of these sessions will consist of either pre-recorded lectures that are made available according to the timetable or live-streamed lectures (that will be recorded). The 33 sessions are divided into six ¿lecture blocks¿: one block of three sessions, in week 1, and then five two-week blocks of six sessions each. Each block will include at least one ¿live¿ session or part-session(s) in which students will be encouraged to interact with the lecturer (and each other) online, in real time, by asking questions or seeking clarifications. The format of a block will vary according to how the lecturer feels it is best to deliver their material. For example, some lecturers have decided to give shorter ¿mini-lectures¿ interspersed with engagement activities, while others wished to deliver full-length lectures. The five six-session blocks (weeks 2-11) will each be assessed by a formal ¿open book¿ test or exercise, released at the end of the second week of the block. Your answers to these will be formally assessed and will count towards your course mark.
The Assessed Exercise:
The Assessed Exercise is a significant constituent of TDC and you must allow plenty of time to complete each Section. You will undertake the Assessed Exercise working on your own or with other TDC students, although you must submit your own answers in your own words. The material needed for the Assessed Exercise will be released in four Sections (numbered 0 to 3) throughout the course and each Section should be completed by you and submitted by you before the appropriate deadline. There will be four timetabled online (and recorded) preview/feedback sessions associated with the Assessed Exercise in which we aim to discuss both the previous Section (work already submitted) and the current Section (work to be submitted). We hope these will be interactive and we will be encouraging questions and comments.
Your answers to the questions embedded within the Assessed Exercise Sections 1-3 will be assessed and your mark for each Section will count towards your course mark. The Assessed Exercise Introduction (Section 0) will be accompanied by a peer-marking exercise. After submitting your own answers to the questions in Section 0, you will be allocated scripts submitted by two other students and will grade these anonymously online. You will also be asked to provide anonymous feedback to these students. Subsequently you will reconcile the marks you have awarded with those awarded by another peer marker (this is called double marking).
Completion of Section 0 and participation in peer-marking will prepare you for the formally assessed components of the Assessed Exercise (Section 1-3). Peer marking will help you think about questions such as the following:
What factors does a marker consider when assessing a script and why are these important?
What is it, specifically, that students who receive a top mark for a piece of work do to deserve that high mark?
Do I understand why my own answer was assessed in a particular way (whether or not I agree with the assessment)?
In short, you will get a sense of what makes a well-received versus a poorly received answer. More important than maximising your marks, you will begin to develop a more rounded perspective of the assessment process and its aims. Being able to assess and provide effective feedback to others is a lifelong skill which will also develop your self-assessment skills.
More information will be made available on Learn about this exercise.
The Lab Skills Session:
We understand that due to the disruptions caused by the pandemic, your practical experience in Year 1 was limited. We have therefore organised additional small-group laboratory skills session in weeks 1-3, which will introduce you to the basics of lab work such as pipetting and the use of a spectrophotometer. For these sessions, you will be divided into 14 groups and each group will spend 60 min in the lab. This will be your opportunity to familiarise yourself with the lab space and core lab skills, and ask any questions you may have before embarking on the more complex laboratory practical exercise described below. Before attending your lab skills session, you should watch the video introducing the session, read through the lab skills protocol (a hard copy will be provided in the lab for you to take away with you) and watch the 3 videos explaining the use of some lab equipment (filmed in the lab), all of which are available on Learn.
The Laboratory Practical Exercise:
The class will be split into 12 groups so make sure you know which group you are in and when your three-hour session is timetabled (two sessions will run on Wednesdays in each of weeks 4-9). It is essential that you attend and you must sign in. You should write up the experiment according to the structured template to be provided and submit your own work for assessment by the appropriate deadline. Your mark for this work will count towards your course mark. A follow-up session for this practical will be offered in triplicate and will be scheduled to take place as soon as possible after your laboratory session but before your submission deadline.
In addition to the timetabled online teaching, assessed exercise preview/feedback and laboratory-practical review sessions, there are several additional entries in the timetable. Early on in this course you must complete the online Multiple-Choice Test on Biological Chemistry Basics and submit your answers after which we will hold a feedback session to go through model answers. There will be a live online PyMOL session (with tutors available to address queries) that you are very strongly advised to attend as this will help you answer an associated test (that you must complete, but which will not be formally assessed).
|Keywords||TDC2,biochemistry,molecular biology,protein structure,cell biology
|Course organiser||Dr Jelena Baranovic
Tel: (01316)50 5534
|Course secretary||Dr Edward Dewhirst
Tel: (0131 6)50 8649