Lecture Schedule & Notes

Course Goals & Expectations

Information & Help Resources


Check Your Grade

Assignments & Answers & Old Exams

Cell Biology 03240 Goals and Expectations


The basic goal of this class is for the student to gain an understanding of how cells operate, communicate, and control their activities. The level of understanding that will be pursued spans the spectrum from the structure/function analysis of single molecules to tissue organization within a complex organism. Nevertheless, the emphasis will be on how molecules and their interactions carry out specific cellular processes in six broad areas of cell biology: membrane function, protein targeting, signaling, cytoskeletal function, cell division, and cell interaction.


Of course, there is much more to the study of molecular cell biology than the understanding of how cellular processes are thought to work. There is also the experimental basis for that understanding. This incorporates diverse disciplines such as biochemistry, genetics, microscopy and physiology, and diverse model systems including bacteria, yeast, flies, and cultured mammalian cells. There is also the clinical relevance of the understanding. For example, from a molecular understanding of how a process works, we can see how it fails in disease and how it may be corrected by medical intervention. Finally, there is also an evolutionary view of how a given process came to be. Therefore a secondary goal of this class is to impart some knowledge, as it relates to cell biology, of experimental inquiry, human disease, and evolutionary thought.


The key expectation of the students follows directly from the basic goal of the class. Successful students will be able to describe how certain key cellular processes work. For this the students will use their knowledge of the essential features of the required molecules and their knowledge of the basic regulatory mechanisms that govern the interactions of these molecules. This information will be obtained from the lecture material and it is described in detail in the text. Most of the exam questions will test this type of understanding.


A secondary expectation is that the student will begin to understand the experimental basis of our understanding and, to some extent, be able to suggest experimental strategies and techniques that might be used to extend our knowledge in certain areas. Again, this information will be obtained from lecture and the text, but it will be tested primarily in weekly "open book" problem sets. Therefore, the problem sets are expected to deepen the students understanding through the use of analytical and quantitative skills applied to the cellular processes of interest. This will directly aid the students understanding of how scientific understanding is achieved and indirectly bolster the students understanding of the material covered in the exams.



                                      ---------------------------------last modified: 9/24/10----------------------------