Faculty of Science

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2014 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

print version

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Science
OfferedClayton First semester 2014 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Professor Phil Bird


This unit provides an advanced understanding of the structure-function of the individual structural organelles and components of the cell in the context of cell biology and disease processes. Topics include the cytoskeleton, the formation of the membranes, the intra-cellular trafficking of proteins, the cellular internalization/export of proteins. Over-riding themes of this subject are:

  1. to view the cell as a dynamic unit composed of a series of interacting organelles
  2. to understand the cell as a semi-independent biological entity in constant contact and communication with the extracellular environment and with other cells in multi-cellular organisms.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Describe the structure of eukaryotic cells and explain the function of key organelles;

  1. Outline how different organelles are formed and positioned within cells and how these organelles respond to a changing environment;

  1. Explain the mechanisms that target and move proteins to the correct organelle and how protein mis-localisation and organelle dysfunction may lead to human disease;

  1. Discuss how the application of fluorescence-based imaging and other technologies increases our understanding of cells, organelles and cellular proteins;

  1. Demonstrate the ability to organise, plan and successfully execute laboratory experiments relevant to molecular cell biology, as well as analyse and report the results in a meaningful way;

  1. Demonstrate the ability to conduct literature-based research, identify key knowledge and concepts and build coherent arguments and explanations either in writing or in oral presentations;

  1. Work effectively as a pair or in a group to achieve academic tasks collaboratively with respect for each other.


One examination (3 hours): 50%
In-semester quizzes on lecture material: 10%
Evaluation of practicals and syndicate sessions/data assessment/oral presentations undertaken in the weekly practical/tutorial/self-directed learning sessions: 30%
Evaluation of mentored literature review (essay): 10%
A pass in the examination and the practicals/syndicate sessions/data assessment/oral presentations and the literature review must be obtained to pass the unit.

Chief examiner(s)

Workload requirements

Two 1-hour lectures and one 4-hour practical/tutorial/self-directed learning exercise per week

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study