• Class Number 8667
  • Term Code 3060
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Giel van Dooren
    • Prof Barry Pogson
    • AsPr Maja Adamska
    • Dr Melanie Rug
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 27/07/2020
  • Class End Date 30/10/2020
  • Census Date 31/08/2020
  • Last Date to Enrol 03/08/2020
SELT Survey Results

This course examines the biology of cells, the basic units of life on Earth. The course addresses several central themes in cellular biology, including: the origin and diversity of cells, cellular division and replication, the transport of proteins and other macromolecules within cells, the compartmentalisation of cellular metabolism, the functions of organelles in protists, animals and plants, the cellular basis of differentiation, and signalling between and within cells. Students will be exposed to the latest breakthroughs in the field, and learn key cellular biology techniques in practical components of the course.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

On satisfying the requirements of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
  1. Describe the evolution, diversity and replication of cells;
  2. Explain the role of compartmentalization and signalling in cellular biology;
  3. Interpret and explain key experiments in the history of cell biology;
  4. Evaluate and apply knowledge of modern techniques in cellular biology.
  5. Interpret, analyse and present experimental data.

Research-Led Teaching

BIOL2117 incorporates descriptions of key experiments in teaching the fundamentals of cell biology. The course encourages students to develop critical attitudes towards evidence-based science, and to gain appreciation for experimental techniques that are used in cell biology. The practical component of the course presents students with an authentic research experience, using a CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing approach to localise a protein from the parasite Toxoplasma gondii. The project focuses on students developing a research question that they will then answer through experimentation across a 6-week experimental module (3 weeks in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions). This project culminates in students making their research findings accessible to others in the research community by updating the database of Toxoplasma genes.

Examination Material or equipment

No permitted material.

Required Resources

Students will require a lab coat and safety glasses and must wear covered shoes to all laboratory sessions. A laboratory manual must be purchased prior to the first laboratory session. You will need to purchase your lab manual online at http://scienceshop.anu.edu.au/ using a credit or debit card. Once you have done this you should PRINT your receipt and bring it to the Biology Teaching and Learning Centre in Building 116 to collect your lab manual. If you do not have a credit or debit card, you can purchase a ‘Load&Go’ prepaid card from the ANU post office.

There are no prescribed text books for the class. Students will have access to key papers and reviews that will be posted on the course Wattle page. Useful Cell Biology text books that students may wish to consult (and which will be referenced in some of the lectures) are available from the Hancock library and include:

Molecular Cell Biology (8th edition) Lodish et al. WH Freeman

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:
  • Written comments
  • Verbal comments
  • Feedback to the whole class, to groups, to individuals, focus groups

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Origin and early evolution of cells (GvD)
2 Mitochondrial evolution; Fe-S synthesis in Toxoplasma (GvD) Workshop 1: Introduction to the prac and first assessment task
3 Mitochondrial biology; the endomembrane system (GvD)
4 The endomembrane system; the cytoskeleton (GvD) First assessment task due (10%)
5 Plant cells; chloroplast functions (BP) Online Quiz 1 (5%)
6 Chloroplast signalling; plastid evolution and autophagy (BP) Workshop 2: Discussion of prac data and introduction to second assessment task
7 Microscopy in cell biology (MR); the nucleus (GvD) Online Quiz 2 (5%); Second assessment task due (10%)
8 The cell cycle and mitosis (GvD)
9 Protein turnover and modifications (GvD) Workshop 3: Introduction to third assessment task
10 Signals in cell-cell communication; the Notch pathway (MA) Online Quiz 3 (5%); Live Quiz 1 (2.5%)
11 Wnt pathway; Cell polarity and movement (MA) Live Quiz 2 (2.5%)
12 Cell-to-cell communication in cancer and devlopment (MA) Third assessment task due (35%)
13 Exam period Online Quiz 4 (25%)

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Lab-based research assignment worksheet 10 % 20/08/2020 04/09/2020 1,2,3,4,5
Formative assessment on Results and Figures for research report 10 % 24/09/2020 08/10/2020 2,3,4,5
Research Report 35 % 29/10/2020 20/11/2020 2,3,4,5
Quizzes 45 % * * 1,2,3,4,5

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


Practicals: There are three practical classes. Because the prac builds from the results of previous weeks, it is mandatory that you attend each prac class. If you are unable to attend a prac class for legitimate (i.e. health or personal) reasons, please let Giel know and we can make alternative arrangements. A medical certificate may be necessary.

Alternative to practicals: for students who are unable to be on campus during Semester 2, we will arrange an alternative to the in-person practical. This ‘remote prac’ will, nevertheless, still expose students to the same ideas and insights as the on-campus prac. These students will have slight modifications to assessment tasks to accommodate the changes to practical component.

Workshops: We also will be holding three workshops focused on developing skills in scientific writing and data analysis. These workshops will aid students in completing asssessment tasks 1, 2 and 3, but are not mandatory. We will be holding regular on-line discussions of the lecture content throughout semester (details to come), including live quizzes during the developmental cell biology module in Weeks 10 and 11.


Because of COVID-19 restrictions, we will not be holding an exam for the 2020 course. Instead, we will hold on-line quizzes throughout the course.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 20/08/2020
Return of Assessment: 04/09/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Lab-based research assignment worksheet

Students must complete a worksheet that examines the protein that they will characterise in the practical component of the course. Students are expected to provide short answers to a range of questions about what is currently known about the protein their prac group will be studying.


Value: 10%

Assessment Task 2

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 24/09/2020
Return of Assessment: 08/10/2020
Learning Outcomes: 2,3,4,5

Formative assessment on Results and Figures for research report

Students will write the results section for their research report, including figures and figure legends. This is a formative assessment task, meaning that we will provide students with feedback on their results section that they can incorporate into the results section of their Research Report (Assessment Task 3).

Assessment Rubric: Refer to the prac manual

Value: 10%

Assessment Task 3

Value: 35 %
Due Date: 29/10/2020
Return of Assessment: 20/11/2020
Learning Outcomes: 2,3,4,5

Research Report

Students will write up the results from the practical course in the style of a scientific paper.


Assessment Rubric: Refer to the prac manual


Word limit: approximately 2,500 words, not including methods, figure legends, acknowledgements or references.

Value: 35%

Assessment Task 4

Value: 45 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5


Students will undertake four on-line quizzes across the semester. The first three quizzes will assess material from the most recent block of lectures (worth 5% each). The final quiz will assess all course content, including lectures and pracs (worth 25%). The students will also undertake two live quizzes during the developmental cell biology module in Weeks 10 and 11 (worth 2.5% each).

Value: 45% total.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

The worksheet, results report, and research report will be marked online and available through Wattle.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments

No resubmission permitted.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information. In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service — including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy. If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes. Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).
Dr Giel van Dooren

Research Interests

Dr Giel van Dooren

By Appointment
Prof Barry Pogson

Research Interests

Prof Barry Pogson

AsPr Maja Adamska

Research Interests

AsPr Maja Adamska

Dr Melanie Rug

Research Interests

Dr Melanie Rug

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions