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.

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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
OfferedGippsland First semester 2014 (Day)
Malaysia First semester 2014 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Phillip Brook-Carter (Gippsland); Dr Lau Khim Heng (Malaysia)


The unit examines the pathways by which cells receive external information and process this into specific biochemical responses. We begin with a survey of different mechanisms of cellular signalling and their roles in 'normal' cellular activities and overall homeostasis. A diverse set of cellular processes is studied and the normal control mechanisms highlighted. This is followed by investigation of the dysfunction of signalling mechanisms in several disease states. Topics covered are: the cell cycle, apoptosis, haematopoiesis, atherosclerosis and HIV/AIDS. The aim is to demonstrate to students that dysfunction or inappropriate cellular signalling plays a key role in the pathogenesis of many common disease. Methods of clinical diagnosis are introduced and incorporated into the laboratory work, which is designed to illustrate concepts of the theory.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Describe a range of cellular signalling mechanisms;

  1. Explain endocrine control of cellular processes;

  1. Discuss the dysfunction of cell signalling mechanisms in several common disease states;

  1. Discuss the role of biochemical and spectroscopic techniques in the diagnosis of disease;

  1. Plan and execute complex biochemical laboratory procedures and interpret data acquired;

  1. Demonstrate basic competence in the safe handling of hazardous biological materials.


Final examination (3 hours): 50%
Major assignment (5000 words): 20%
Practical work: 30%

Chief examiner(s)

Workload requirements

Three hours of lectures per week and 40 hours laboratory work per semester

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