BCH3021 - Cellular organisation: Organelle structure and function in health and disease - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

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




Professor Phil Bird

Unit guides



  • First semester 2017 (Day)


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;
  2. Outline how different organelles are formed and positioned within cells and how these organelles respond to a changing environment;
  3. 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;
  4. Discuss how the application of fluorescence-based imaging and other technologies increases our understanding of cells, organelles and cellular proteins;
  5. 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;
  6. 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;
  7. Work effectively as a pair or in a group to achieve academic tasks collaboratively with respect for each other.


Examination (3 hours): 50% (Hurdle)

In-semester quizzes on lecture material: 10%

Small group/practical work: 30% (Hurdle)

Evaluation of mentored literature review (Essay): 10% (Hurdle)

This unit is subject to the Hurdle and Threshold Standards policiesHurdle and Threshold Standards policies (http://www.med.monash.edu.au/policies/assessment-policy-2017.html) of the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences.

Workload requirements

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

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

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


One of BCH2011, BCH2022, BMS2021, MOL2011 or MOL2022 or MCB2011 OR MCB2022