USQ Logo
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.

BIO2107 Cell and Molecular Biology 1

Semester 1, 2020 Online
Short Description: Cell and Molecular Biology 1
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Sciences
Student contribution band : Band 2
ASCED code : 010901 - Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Grading basis : Graded


Examiner: John Dearnaley


Pre-requisite: CHE2120


An understanding of the theory and techniques of cell and molecular biology are becoming an essential component in the research and medical diagnostic spheres. The course will provide the student with theoretical knowledge in basic molecular biology and cell biology. During the course students will gain an insight into the nature of cellular substructure, vesicle trafficking, protein targeting and control of the cell cycle. The students will also explore the nature of cells at the molecular level as well as the current molecular technologies that enable such information to be derived. Finally the students will gain knowledge of the nature of the molecular and other technologies that have advanced the analytical options in a pathology diagnostic laboratory.


The course is presented in two modules: in the first, the course introduces the nature of gene organisation, replication and expression in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic systems. The course also provides an overview of molecular technologies including recombinant DNA techniques and standard molecular methods such as Western Blot assays, PCR, rtPCR and real time PCR. These procedures underpin state of the art research and medical diagnostic assays. Applications of this technology are discussed. In the second module the course explores the nature of cellular ultrastructure; protein post-translational modification and targeting; vesicle transport in cells; regulation of the cell cycle and apoptosis.


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 prokaryotic and eukaryotic systems;
  3. demonstrate an understanding of basic tools used in recombinant DNA technology including: enzymes, plasmids and techniques for cloning and characterisation;
  4. explain the practical application of a range of basic molecular techniques including Western Blot, PCR, rtPCR and real time PCR;
  5. demonstrate a basic understanding of post-translational protein modification;
  6. demonstrate an understanding of the cytoskeleton and the structure, function and maintenance of cell organelles;
  7. demonstrate an understanding of cellular trafficking, cell cycle control mechanisms and apoptosis.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Genome organisation in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells 4.00
2. DNA replication and repair 8.00
3. Transcription and translation 8.00
4. Gene expression in prokaryotes 8.00
5. Gene expression in eukaryotes 8.00
6. Recombinant DNA techniques 10.00
7. Cell & molecular application in a medical pathology laboratory 10.00
8. Post-translational protein modification 8.00
9. Protein sorting and targeting 8.00
10. Intracellular compartmentalisation 10.00
11. Cellular cytoskeleton 8.00
12. Cell cycle control and apoptosis 10.00

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. (

Iwasa J and Marshall W 2016, Karp's Cell and Molecular Biology: Concepts and Experiments, 8th edn, John Wiley, New York.

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 2018, Essential cell biology, 5th edn, Garland Science, New York.
Nelson, DL & Cox, MM 2017, Lehninger principles of biochemistry, 7th edn, WH Freeman, New York.
Nicholl, D 2008, Introduction to genetic engineering, 3rd edn, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Plopper, G Sharp, D &Sikorski, E 2015, Lewin's Cells, 3rd edn, Jones & Bartlett.
Weissensteiner, T, Griffin, HG & Griffin, A 2013, PCR technology: Current innovations, 3rd edn, CRC Press, Boca Raton, Fla.
Wu, W, Welsh, MJ & Zhang, HH 2011, Gene biotechnology, 3rd edn, CRC Press, Boca Raton, Fla.
(ISBN 0-8493-1288-4.)

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Assignments 30.00
Examinations 2.00
Online Lectures 26.00
Online Tutorials 13.00
Private Study 99.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
Assignment 1 50 13 20 Mar 2020
Assignment 2 50 13 24 Apr 2020
Assignment 3 50 14 22 May 2020
Online Exam 120 60 End S1 (see note 1)

  1. This will be an open examination. Students will be provided further instruction regarding the exam by their course examiner via StudyDesk. The examination date will be available via UConnect when the official examination timetable has been released.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the students' responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities (such as tutorials) 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.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    Due to COVID-19 the requirements for S1 2020 are: To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks for that item.

    Requirements after S1 2020:
    To complete the assignment satisfactorily, students must obtain at least 50% of the marks available for the assignment. To complete the examination satisfactorily, students must obtain at least 50% of the marks available for the examination.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    Due to COVID-19 the requirements for S1 2020 are: To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

    Requirements after S1 2020:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must obtain at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

    To be awarded a passing grade for a supplementary assessment item (if applicable), a student must achieve at least 50% of the available marks for the supplementary assessment item as per the Assessment Procedure (point 4.4.2).

  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:
    Due to COVID-19 the requirements for S1 2020 are: An Open Examination is one in which candidates may have access to any printed or written material and a calculator during the examination

    Requirements after S1 2020:
    Candidates are only allowed to access specific materials during a Restricted Examination. The only materials that candidates may use in the restricted examination for this course are:
    i. calculators which cannot hold textual information.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Due to COVID-19 the requirements for S1 2020 are: The details regarding deferred/supplementary examinations will be communicated at a later date

    Requirements after S1 2020:
    Any Deferred or Supplementary examinations for this course will be held during the next examination period.

  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, for medical, family/personal, or employment-related reasons, are unable to complete an assignment or to sit for an examination at the scheduled time may apply to defer an assessment in a course. Such a request must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation. One of the following temporary grades may be awarded IDS (Incomplete-Deferred Examination); IDM (Incomplete Deferred Make-up); IDB (Incomplete - Both Deferred Examination and Deferred Make-up).

  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 requested by the Examiner. Students must retain a copy of each item submitted for assessment. If requested by the Examiner, students will be required to provide a copy of assignments submitted for assessment purposes. Such copies should be despatched to USQ within 24 hours of receipt of a request being made. The examiner of a course may grant an extension of the due date of an assignment in extenuating circumstances. The Faculty will normally only accept assessments that have been written, typed or printed on paper-based media. The Faculty will NOT accept submission of assignments by facsimile. Students who do not have regular access to postal services or who are otherwise disadvantaged by these regulations may be given special consideration. They should contact the examiner of the course to negotiate such special arrangements. In the event that a due date for an assignment falls on a local public holiday in their area, such as a Show holiday, the due date for the assignment will be the next day. Students are to note on the assignment cover the date of the public holiday for the Examiner's convenience.

  3. 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.

Date printed 19 June 2020