Molecular Biology of the Cell

Course Aim

This course aims to revisit the basic knowledge of molecular and cell biology at the undergraduate level. Target students are 1) those who who did not major in molecular or cell biology, or 2) molecular/cell biology student who wants to review the basic knowledge of the field.

Course Description

Survey the molecular biology of the cell, the universal biochemical mechanisms at the heart of all living organisms, through lectures based on the classic text by Alberts et al. Working through research-based problem sets, explore the cell and its components and constituents from the level of individual molecules to their interaction, dynamics and control at the cellular and intercellular level. Classroom discussions explore new findings that may challenge previous conclusions.

Course Contents

1 Cells and Genomes
2 Cell Chemistry and Bioenergetics
3 Proteins
4 DNA, Chromosomes, and Genomes
5 DNA Replication, Repair, and Recombination
6 How Cells Read the Genome: From DNA to Protein
7 Control of Gene Expression
8 Examination 1
9 Analyzing Cells, Molecules, and Systems
10 Visualizing Cells
11 Membrane Structure
12 Membrane Transport of Small Molecules and the Electrical Properties of Membranes
13 Intracellular Compartments and Protein Sorting
14 Intracellular Membrane Traffic
15 Energy Conversion: Mitochondria and Chloroplasts
16 Cell Signaling
17 The Cytoskeleton
18 The Cell Cycle
19 Cell Death
20 Examination 2
21 Cell Junctions and the Extracellular Matrix
22 Cancer
23 Development of Multicellular Organisms
24 Stem Cells and Tissue Renewal
25 Pathogens and Infection
26 The Innate and Adaptive Immune Systems
27 Examination 3


Three small examinations during the term, weighted 25%, 25%, and 50%.

Prerequisites or Prior Knowledge

The course is very basic. Non-biology students are welcome.


Molecular Biology of the Cell, 6th Edition, by Bruce Alberts et al

Reference Books

The Problems Book: for Molecular Biology of the Cell 6th Edition, by Tim Hunt and John Wilson