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Medical Cell Biology

Module titleMedical Cell Biology
Module codeNEU1008
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Dr Yuktee Dogra (Convenor)

Dr Patrick Hamilton (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

In this module you will be introduced to a variety of cell biology topics. You will learn how cells are organised, the various functions of the subcellular components, how cells receive and respond to stimuli from the surroundings, and the various fates for cells within eukaryotes such as cell division and cell death.

The principles of cell biology discussed in this module will be illustrated with appropriate human processes and disease complications using neurobiology examples where appropriate.

To complement the theory of cell biology covered in the lectures, you will also undertake laboratory practical work where you will be introduced to techniques to visualise cells, study cell dynamics and quantify experimental results.

This module is compulsory for BSc Neuroscience students.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module introduces you to core concepts in medical cell biology and complements this theory with appropriate practical class sessions. The module will discuss topics including cell diversity, intracellular organelles, intra- and intercellular communication, responses to signalling from the outside of the cell, cell division and cell death.

The theory of various techniques used to study cell biology will be discussed to complement the laboratory practical class sessions.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Explain key techniques used to study cell biology.
  • 2. Describe the structure and function of cellular organelles.
  • 3. Describe cell-cell communication and interactions.
  • 4. Describe cell migration.
  • 5. Describe intracellular signalling processes.
  • 6. Explain cell replication and death processes.
  • 7. Understand basic microbiology and the relation to human medical conditions.
  • 8. Understand basic immunology and the relation to human medical conditions.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 9. Describe how the basic cell biology applies to neuroscience using specific examples.
  • 10. Demonstrate knowledge of the fundamentals of cell biology.
  • 11. Begin to utilise simple techniques to analyse cell structure and function and analyse the experimental results.

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 12. Communicate ideas effectively by written and oral means.
  • 13. Begin to identify appropriate information from various relevant sources including teaching material, books and the internet.
  • 14. Develop skills for independent study.

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, an example of an overall structure is as follows:
We will cover topics including:
• Techniques in cell biology
• Organisation and function of subcellular structures
• Cytoskeleton
• Intercellular communication
• Cell migration
• Cell division
• Control of the cell cycle
• Cell death
• Models for cell biology research
• Medical microbiology
• Cells of the immune system

These will be covered through lectures, data analysis and laboratory practical sessions.

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching activities7Synchronous learning including lectures and activities/workshops related to lecture content (7 x 1 hours)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching activities12Laboratory practical sessions (4 x 3 hours)
Guided Independent Study17On-line pre-recorded lectures (17 x 1 hour)
Guided Independent Study64Lecture consolidation and reading
Guided independent study50Revision


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
MCQ test0.5 hr1-10, 12-14Online model answers
Laboratory-based skillson-line videos1-12Oral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Cell biology practical problem set40One set of problems based on practicals – 30-40 questions1-12Written plus online model answers
MCQ and questions with numerical answers examination601.5 hour1-10, 12-14Mark –feedback on request


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Cell biology practical problem set, (One set of problems based on practicals), (40%)Cell biology practical problem set – 20-30 questions1-12August Referral/Deferral period
MCQ and questions with numerical answers examination (60%)MCQ examination and questions with numerical answers (1.5 hours)1-10, 12-14August Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Please refer to the TQA section on Referral/Deferral:


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Essential Cell Biology. 4th Edition. Garland Science.

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Cells, organelles, cell cycle, cell death, migration

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date