USQ LogoCourse specification
The current and official versions of the course specifications are available on the web at //
Please consult the web for updates that may occur during the year.

BIO2209 Cell Biology

Semester 1, 2012 On-campus Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Sciences
School or Department : Biological & Physical Sciences

Contents on this page


Examiner: Mark Sutherland
Moderator: John Dearnaley


Pre-requisite: BIO1101
Co-requisite: BIO2201


The course will provide the student with practical and theoretical experience in basic molecular biology and cell biology. Students will gain hands on experience in molecular techniques. During the course students will study the nature of cellular substructure, vesicle trafficking, protein targeting and control of the cell cycle.


An understanding of the theory and techniques of cell and molecular biology are now becoming essential to many diverse areas of study in biology, ranging from biodiversity and evolutionary relationships to genetic engineering of microbes, plants and animals. In the first half of the semester, the course introduces the nature of gene organisation, replication and expression in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic systems. Potential applications of this technology in a number of areas of biology are discussed. Laboratory sessions introduce a range of fundamental techniques in molecular biology. The course then examines cellular ultra structure; protein post-translational modification and targeting; vesicle transport in cells; and regulation of the cell cycle.


On completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate an understanding of the current concepts of DNA structure maintenance and repair;
  2. explain the basic processes involved in gene replication, transcription and translation in both procaryotic and eucaryotic systems;
  3. demonstrate an understanding of basic tools used in recombinant DNA technology including: enzymes, plasmids and techniques for cloning and characterisation;
  4. demonstrate the practical use of a range of basic molecular biological techniques;
  5. demonstrate a basic understanding of postranslational protein modification;
  6. demonstrate an understanding of the cytoskeleton and the structure and function of cell organelles;
  7. demonstrate an understanding of cellular communication, cell cycle control mechanisms and apoptosis.


Description Weighting(%)
1. DNA structure 6.00
2. Genome organisation in procaryotic and eucaryotic cells 6.00
3. DNA replication and repair 7.00
4. Translation 7.00
5. Gene expression in procaryotes 10.00
6. Gene expression in eucaryotes 10.00
7. Recombinant DNA techniques 14.00
8. Postranslational protein modification 6.00
9. Protein sorting and targeting 10.00
10. Intracellular compartmentalisation 8.00
11. Cellular cytoskeleton 8.00
12. Cell cycle control and apoptosis 8.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • Dearnaley, J., Sutherland, MW 2012, Cell biology practical notes and exercises,
    (USQ Studydesk.)
  • Karp, G 2010, Cell and molecular biology, 6th edn, Wiley, New York.
    (ISBN 9780470483374.)

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Alberts, B et al 2010, Essential Cell Biology, 3rd edn, Garland Science, New York.
  • Bolsover, SR, Hyams, JS, Shephard, EA, White, HA & Wiedmann, CG 2004, Cell biology a short course, 2nd edn, John Wiley & Sons, New Jersey.
    (ISBN 0 471 26393 1.)
  • Brown, TA (ed.) 2000, Essential molecular biology: A practical approach, 2nd edn, IRL Press, Oxford.
    (Vol 1&2.)
  • Lewin, B, Cassimeris, L, Lingappa, VR & Plopper, G 2007, Cells, Jones & Bartlett Publishers, Massachusetts.
    (ISBN 0 7637 3905 9.)
  • Nelson, DL & Cox, MM 2008, Lehninger principles of biochemistry, 5th edn, WH Freeman, New York.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Examinations 2.00
Laboratory or Practical Classes 27.00
Lectures 24.00
Private Study 112.00
Test 1.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
1 HR MID SEM RESTRICTED TEST 60 25 29 Feb 2012 (see note 1)
PRAC. ASSESSMENTS & PROBLEMS 25 25 29 Feb 2012 (see note 2)
2 HR CLOSED EXAM 120 50 End S1 (see note 3)

  1. Examiner will advise details regarding the mid-semester test.
  2. Examiner will advise due dates for practical assessments.
  3. Examination dates will be available during the Semester. Please refer to the examination timetable when published.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the students' responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities (such as lectures, tutorials, laboratories and practical work) scheduled for them, and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration. To maximize their chances of satisfying the objectives of the practical component of the course, students should attend and actively participate in the laboratory sessions in the course.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To complete the assignment satisfactorily, students must obtain at least 50% of the marks available for the assignment. To complete the examination and test satisfactorily, students must obtain at least 50% of the marks available for the examination and test. To complete the practical component satisfactorily, students must submit all the nominated practical reports and obtain at least 50% of the marks available.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    If students submit assignments after the due date without (prior) approval of the examiner then a penalty of 5% of the total marks gained by the student for the assignment may apply for each working day late up to ten working days at which time a mark of zero may be recorded.

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the weighted aggregate of the marks (or grades) obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    In a Closed Examination, candidates are allowed to bring only writing and drawing instruments into the examination.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Any Deferred or Supplementary examinations for this course will be held in the fourth week of the semester following this course offering and the examiner will advise students involved in writing of the date time and location of any such examination.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. Students who obtain an overall passing mark, but who do not perform satisfactorily in an examination, may, at the discretion of the Examiner, be granted a supplementary examination. Students will be granted a deferred examination only if they perform satisfactorily in all other assessment items.

  2. The due date for an assignment is the date by which a student must despatch the assignment to the USQ. The onus is on the student to provide proof of the despatch date, if request by the Examiner. Students must retain a copy of each item submitted for assessment. This must be produced within five days if required by the Examiner.

  3. In order to attend laboratory classes, students must provide and wear appropriate personal protective equipment. This shall include a laboratory coat, closed in shoes, and safety glasses. Such equipment must be approved by supervising staff. Failure to provide and wear the appropriate safety equipment will result in students being excluded from classes.

  4. Harvard (AGPS) is the referencing system required in this course. Students should use Harvard (AGPS) style in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The Harvard (AGPS) style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide. //