Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

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Unit Overview


This is an introductory unit that explores the molecular basis of life. This foundation unit explains how macromolecules such as proteins and lipids are central to understanding how cells function. The unit is organised into four broad themes which define the key concepts to be taught. Each theme provides a distinct body of material to assist study in depth: (1) placing molecules within the cellular architecture—this theme focuses on the structure of membranes and their importance in organelles and cells; (2) molecular and structural biochemistry of proteins—the functions of proteins in the cell are introduced with the relationship between protein structure and protein function emphasised; (3) proteins in action (transport across membranes)—the principles and mechanisms of transporting key molecules across membranes is described in detail; and (4) proteins as chemical catalysts—principles of catalysis as applied to biological systems and enzymes are introduced and the use of enzymes as biological tools is discussed. The laboratory course reinforces lecture concepts and trains students in biological laboratory skills. Techniques and technologies used in modern biological laboratories are introduced.

6 points

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Peter Arthur
Unit rules
SCIE1106 Molecular Biology of the Cell and (CHEM1103 Biological Organic Chemistry
or CHEM1104 Biological Inorganic and Physical Chemistry)
BIOC2210/BIOC2250 Biochemistry
Contact hours
lectures: 2 hours per week
labs: 3 hours per week, as arranged
  • 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.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.