Human Molecular Cell Biology (BCHM3072)


This unit of study will explore the responses of cells to changes in their environment in both health and disease. The lecture course consists of four integrated modules. The first will provide an overview of the role of signalling mechanisms in the control of human cell biology and then focus on cell surface receptors and the downstream signal transduction events that they initiate. The second will examine how cells detect and respond to pathogenic molecular patterns displayed by infectious agents and injured cells by discussing the roles of relevant cell surface receptors, cytokines and signal transduction pathways. The third and fourth will focus on the life, death and differentiation of human cells in response to intra-cellular and extra-cellular signals by discussing the eukaryotic cell cycle under normal and pathological circumstances and programmed cell death in response to abnormal extra-cellular and intra-cellular signals. In all modules emphasis will be placed on the molecular processes involved in human cell biology, how modern molecular and cell biology methods have led to our current understanding of them and the implications of them for pathologies such as cancer. The practical component is designed to complement the lecture course, providing students with experience in a wide range of techniques used in modern molecular cell biology.

Our courses that offer this unit of study

Further unit of study information


Two 1-hour lectures per week


One 2.5-hour exam (theory and theory of prac 70%), in-semester (practical work and assignments 30%)


Alberts, B. et al. Molecular Biology of the Cell. 6th edition. Garland Science. 2014.

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules

Prerequisites and assumed knowledge

[12 credit points of (MBLG2071, MBLG2971, BCHM2071, BCHM2971, BCHM2072, BCHM2972)] OR [(BMED2401, BMED2405 and 6 additional credit points of BMED240X) and (MBLG2071 or MBLG2971 or BCHM2071 or BCHM2971)]


BCHM3972 or BCHM3004 or BCHM3002 or BCHM3902 or BCHM3904 

Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.