COURSE OUTLINE: BS1007

Course Title

Molecular and Cell Biology I

Course Code

BS1007

Offered Study Year 1, Semester 2
Course Coordinator Thanabalu, Thirumaran (Assoc Prof) Thirumaran@ntu.edu.sg 6316 2821
Pre-requisites BS1001
No of AUs 3
Contact hours Lectures: 26, Tutorials: 13
Approved for delivery from AY 2016/17, semester 2
Last revised 4 Nov 2018, 14:53

Course Aims

This course will introduce the concepts of basic molecular and cell biology with emphasis on eukaryotic cells and the use of recombinant DNA methodologies to address molecular mechanisms. The course begins by looking at DNA as the carrier of genetic information and how the genetic code is used to produce proteins which carry out most of the reactions in the cell. You will be introduced to restriction enzymes and ligase – the cornerstones of recombinant methodology. We will also explore how the cell is organized into compartments, how proteins synthesized in the cytoplasm are targeted to the various compartments, how the cell maintains its shape and size through the cytoskeleton, how cell moves and how the cell divides to produce daughter cells. Key experiments and researchers’ contributions will be highlighted to inspire students. Tutorials will be used to clarify doubts and strengthen understanding.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Upon successfully completing this course, you should be able to:

  1. Design and construct recombinant DNA molecules.
  2. Design primers for DNA amplification by the polymerase chain reaction.
  3. Describe the use of fluorescence microscopy to visualize cellular components.
  4. Design and carry out genetic screens.
  5. Analyze experimental data and propose possible mechanisms which explain the data.

Course Content

How genes are differentially regulated so as to generate different cell types

The compartments of a cell as well as the constituents in each cellular compartment

Methods in molecular and cell biology

The role of signal sequences in directing protein trafficking to various intra cellular compartments

The mechanisms used to transport small molecules across membranes

The components of the cytoskeleton network, its organization and function

How cells achieve motility, crawling and swimming

The major model organisms and their usefulness in understanding diseases at the molecular level

How the cell accomplishes cell division and the means by which this process is positively and negatively regulated

Basic methods in biotechnology

Assessment

Component Course ILOs tested SBS Graduate Attributes tested Weighting Team / Individual Assessment Rubrics
Continuous Assessment
Assignment 5 2. e
10 individual See Appendix for rubric
Technology-enhanced Learning
Short Answer Questions 1 1. b
2. a, e
3. e
5. b, c
6. a, b
7. b
10 both See Appendix for rubric
Mid-semester Quiz
Multiple Choice Questions 1, 2, 4, 5 1. b
2. e
5. c
7. b
20 individual
Examination (2 hours)
Multiple Choice Questions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 1. b
2. a, e
5. b, c
6. b
7. b
36 individual See Appendix for rubric
Short Answer Questions 1, 2, 4 1. b
2. e
5. c
6. b
7. b
24 individual See Appendix for rubric
Total 100%

These are the relevant SBS Graduate Attributes.

1. Recognize the relationship and complexity between structure and function of all forms of life, resulting from an academically rigorous in-depth understanding of biological concepts

b. Explain the relationship between structure and function of all forms of life at the molecular level

2. Critically evaluate and analyze biological information by applying the knowledge, scientific methods and technical skills associated with the discipline

a. Identify the assumptions behind scientific problems and issues

e. Analyze the validity of qualitative and quantitative scientific data

3. Develop and communicate biological ideas and concepts relevant in everyday life for the benefit of society

e. Discuss current critical questions in the field of biology

5. Develop communication, creative and critical thinking skills for life-long learning

b. Learn collaboratively and be willing to share expertise with peers

c. Demonstrate critical thinking skills such as analysis, discrimination, logical reasoning, prediction and transforming knowledge

6. Develop codes of social responsibility and scientific ethics, particularly in relation to biological advancement and applications

a. Debate the ethical implications of scientific processes and results

b. Design human or animal experiments that do not cause harm

7. Demonstrate information literacy and technological fluency

b. Work effectively with common technologies in biology

Formative Feedback

You will be provided learning feedback on a weekly basis during tutorials and discussions during and after lectures. The continual assessment consist of 3 components: You will carry out 2 online laboratory simulation which will guide them through molecular cloning techniques (term 1) and cell division (term 2). You can attempt the questions in the online simulations till you are satisfied with your understanding of the concepts.
The answers for midyear quiz will be posted within 1 week after the quiz and the coordinator will go through the difficult questions in the class to ensure that you understand how the answers were derived. This will allow you to evaluate your performance in the Class.

Learning and Teaching Approach

Lectures
(26 hours)

1, 2, 3, 4, 5: Each lecture will have some MCQ questions which you can attempt using ResponseWare. The answers for the question will be discussed and a histogram will be shown so that you will know where you stand in terms of their understanding

Tutorials
(13 hours)

The tutorials questions require an understanding of the concepts introduced in the lecture

Reading and References

Bruce Alberts, Alexander Johnson, Julian Lewis, Martin Raff, Molecular Biology of the Cell, 6th Edition, Garland Science, c2015; ISBN-10: 0-8153-3218-1
Harvey Lodish, Molecular Cell Biology, 6th Edition, W.H. Freeman, 2013; ISBN-13: 978-0716776017

Course Policies and Student Responsibilities

The intent of this course is to give you the knowledge required for you to understand the molecular and cell biology techniques being used by researchers.

You are expected to attend all lectures and tutorial classes.

You are to read up on any pre-lecture reading activities.

You are to attempt the tutorial question sheet assignments before the tutorial classes.

Academic Integrity

Good academic work depends on honesty and ethical behaviour. The quality of your work as a student relies on adhering to the principles of academic integrity and to the NTU Honour Code, a set of values shared by the whole university community. Truth, Trust and Justice are at the core of NTU’s shared values.

As a student, it is important that you recognize your responsibilities in understanding and applying the principles of academic integrity in all the work you do at NTU. Not knowing what is involved in maintaining academic integrity does not excuse academic dishonesty. You need to actively equip yourself with strategies to avoid all forms of academic dishonesty, including plagiarism, academic fraud, collusion and cheating. If you are uncertain of the definitions of any of these terms, you should go to the Academic Integrity website for more information. Consult your instructor(s) if you need any clarification about the requirements of academic integrity in the course.

Course Instructors

Instructor Office Location Phone Email
Thanabalu, Thirumaran (Assoc Prof) 01n-14/03n-17 6316 2821 Thirumaran@ntu.edu.sg

Planned Weekly Schedule

Week Topic Course ILO Readings/ Activities
1

How genes are differentially regulated so as to generate different cell types

2

Methods in molecular and cell biology I

1, 2, 3
3

Methods in molecular and cell biology II

1, 2, 3
4

The compartments of a cell as well as the constituents in each cellular compartment

3, 5
5

The role of signal sequences in directing protein trafficking to various intra cellular compartments

1, 2, 3
6

The mechanisms used to transport small molecules across membranes

3, 5
7

Cytoskeleton I: The Actin cytoskeleton and its role in cell shape, cell motility etc

3, 4, 5
8

Quiz

1, 2, 3
9

Cytoskeleton II: Intermediate Filaments and Microtubules; roles in intracellular transport etc

3, 5
10

The major model organisms and their usefulness in understanding diseases at the molecular level

3, 4
11

Cell Cycle I: How the cell accomplishes cell division and the means by which this process is positively and negatively regulated

3, 5
12

Cell Cycle II: How the cell accomplishes cell division and the means by which this process is positively and negatively regulated

3, 5
13

Basic methods in biotechnology

4, 5

Appendix 1: Assessment Rubrics

Rubric for Continuous Assessment: Assignment (10%)

You will be provided with a number of experimental results as well as the methods used to generate the results. You are expected to submit a 250 word abstract. The abstract should have a brief introduction, a summary of the results and a conclusion based on the results.

0-4 marks 5-8 marks 9-10 marks

Poor summary of the results and conclusion.

Good summary of the results and conclusion.

Excellent summary of the results and conclusion. Covers all the results and has a good conclusion statement.

Rubric for Technology-enhanced Learning: Short Answer Questions (10%)

You are expected to complete the 2 online laboratory simulations during the course. Each laboratory simulation carries 5%.

Rubric for Examination: Multiple Choice Questions (36%)

You will need to answer questions from the various topic covered in the course. This may involve designing DNA constructs, analyzing data or questions from the lectures.

NOTE: Scores will be scaled to 36%.

0-5 marks 5-10 marks 10-15 marks

Shows little to no understanding of the molecular biology techniques covered in the lectures

Shows moderate to good understanding of the molecular biology techniques covered in the lectures

Shows thorough understanding of the molecular biology techniques covered in the lectures.

Rubric for Examination: Short Answer Questions (24%)

You will need to answer questions from the various topics covered in the course. This may involve designing DNA constructs, primers, genetic screens and other cell biology techniques.

NOTE: Scores will be scaled to 24%.

0-5 marks 5-10 marks 10-15 marks

Shows little to no ability to execute design techniques covered in the lectures

Shows moderate to good ability to execute design techniques covered in the lectures

Shows an excellent ability to execute design techniques covered in the lectures.

Appendix 2: Intended Affective Outcomes

As a result of this course, it is expected you will develop the following "big picture" attributes:

Appreciation of the complexity of the eukaryotic cell and its organization.

A realization of the impact of recombinant DNA methodology on our daily life.

A realization of the vast array of tools available for characterizing the function of genes.

Awareness of advances in biology

Appreciation of the approaches in molecular and cell biology involved in exploring human biology and disease