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.

Click on an offering mode for more details.

Unit Overview


This unit focuses on the central role of proteins in controlling or affecting cell function and expands on information covered in BIOC2201 Biochemistry of the Cell. The roles of proteins are examined in cellular activities of metabolism, protein sorting, and communication between cells and cell division. Diseases such as diabetes and cancer are discussed in the context of protein dysfunction.

The content of the unit is divided into several major themes: (1) Metabolism—this is concerned with understanding how the interactions of multiple proteins results in the generation of energy required to fuel the cell; (2) Metabolic integration and control—emphasis is placed on understanding how extracellular and intracellular signals control metabolic pathways; diabetes is described in the context of dysfunctional control; (3) Protein sorting and compartmentation—describes how proteins are directed to specific intracellular locations, and emphasises similarities and specific differences in directing proteins to different organelles in the complex eukaryotic cell; (4) Signal transduction—the information pathways used by chemical messengers such as hormones are considered; and (5) Cell cycle control—introduces specific proteins involved in control of the cell cycle and emphasises how their discovery has been made through molecular studies of diseases such as cancer.

The laboratories reinforce lecture concepts and train students in biological laboratory skills. Techniques and technologies used in modern biological laboratories are introduced.

6 points
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 elective

Students are able to (1) acquire knowledge in the role of proteins in cell function; (2) learn (a) how the organising principle of metabolic pathways is used to understand the complexity of cells containing many thousands of small molecules and macromolecules; (b) how extracellular signals and intracellular signals cause a coordinated response by metabolic pathways; (c) how proteins are directed to specific intracellular locations in the eukaryotic cell; (d) the molecular mechanisms by which cells receive and process signals received from the external environment; and (e) how various signals from outside and inside the cell contribute to the regulation of the cell cycle and how defects in these pathways can lead to cancer; and (3) be exposed to the methodologies used in biochemical research and acquire skills in problem solving, critical thinking, experimental design and data analysis.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) examinations to assess theoretical component and (2) continuous assessment to assess laboratory component. Further information is available in the unit outline.

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 six points of (CHEM1101 Inorganic and Physical Chemistry.
CHEM1102 Organic Chemistry.
CHEM1103 Biological Organic Chemistry.
CHEM1104 Biological Inorganic and Physical Chemistry.
CHEM1105 Introductory Chemistry.
CHEM1106 Biological Chemistry.
CHEM1001 Chemistry—Properties and Energetics.
CHEM1002 Chemistry—Structure and Reactivity.
CHEM1003 Introductory Chemistry
or CHEM1004 Biological Chemistry)
BIOC2201 Biochemistry of the Cell is highly recommended
BIOC2250 Biochemistry
  • 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.