BIOC2001 Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of the Cell

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 core unit in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major sequence
  • The area of knowledge for this unit is Life and Health Sciences
  • Category B broadening unit for students
  • Level 2 elective
This is an introductory unit that explores the molecular basis of life at the cellular level. The theoretical content of the unit is divided into four major themes: (1) DNA, with a focus on recombinant DNA technology; (2) information flow from DNA to RNA, with an emphasis on how this is regulated at the transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels; (3) the protein life cycle, involving an examination of protein synthesis and catabolism pathways; and (4) proteins as functional molecules, where the fundamentals of enzyme action are highlighted.

Detailed content includes (1) role of DNA polymerases in DNA replication, tools of the molecular biologist, cloning, genetic recombination and DNA sequencing; (2) transcriptional regulation of genes, post-transcriptional processing and methods to quantify mRNA transcripts; (3) protein synthesis in prokaryotes and eukaryotes, control of protein synthesis, post-translational modifications, protein targeting and protein catabolism; and (4) proteins as enzymes, enzyme kinetics, enzymes as tools of discovery, proteolytic enzymes and antibodies as tools of discovery. The laboratories introduce students to modern technologies used in commercial and research laboratories, and include fundamental techniques, DNA hybridisation, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and enzyme kinetics.
Students are able to (1) develop a broad knowledge of the fundamentals of biochemistry and molecular biology; (2) develop an understanding of the 'language' of biochemistry and molecular biology; (3) develop knowledge of the chemistry, structures and functions of biological molecules in a cellular context; and (4) in the laboratory class: (i) acquire in-depth knowledge about key techniques in biochemistry and molecular biology; (ii) develop laboratory skills required for scientific problem solving; (iii) further develop quantitative reasoning skills; (iv) develop skills to communicate scientific information in written and oral forms; and (v) develop collaborative skills.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) online theme quizzes; (2) an examination; and (3) a laboratory component which involves continuous assessment utilising online quizzes, marked reports and open-book quizzes. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Peter Arthur
Unit rules
SCIE1106 Molecular Biology of the Cell and (CHEM1004 Biological Chemistry or CHEM1002 Chemistry—Structure and Reactivity)
BIOC2203 Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of the Cell, BIOC2201 Biochemistry of the Cell, SCIE2225 Molecular Biology
Contact hours
lectures: 25 x 1 hour (face to face); lectures: 4 x 20 minutes (online); labs: 6 x 3 hours;
post-lab tutorials: 4 x 1 hour
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available via the Booktopia Textbook Finder, which has the functionality to search by course code, course, ISBN and title, and may also be posted or available at the appropriate school's administrative offices. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.