Cellular Foundations of Medical Sciences (BMED2401)


This unit of study provides a basis for understanding cell structure and function, and response to drugs. It begins with a discussion of the structure and function of human cells. Basic cell structure is examined by focussing on cell specialization and tissue organization in humans. The fundamentals of metabolism are introduced, in particular, the chemical reactions that are responsible for fuel processing. The principles of drug action are then discussed, then characteristics of micro-organisms (bacteria, fungi and viruses) are considered. Students will be introduced to the role of enzymes in the catalysis of cellular reactions, intracellular and cell-to-cell signalling, modifications to cell and system function by drugs, and the pharmacological strategies employed to exploit our knowledge of these mechanisms., To conclude, this unit of study gives an introduction into embryology and how gene expression is regulated during development. Practical classes not only complement the lecture material but also introduce students to a wide range of technical skills, including experience handling live tissue preparations, live microbes. In addition, the sessions are designed to provide students with generic skills such as record keeping, data collection and presentation, protocol planning and written communication.

Our courses that offer this unit of study

Further unit of study information


Two lectures per week


One 2hr theory exam (60%), two in-semester assessments (40%)


Textbook of Biochemistry with Clinical Correlations Devlin TM John Wiley and Sons Inc., 7th Edition, 2011; Prescott's Microbiology Willey JM, Sherwood LM and Woolverton CJ McGraw-Hill, 9th Edition, 2014; Histology: A text and Atlas Ross MH and Pawlina W Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins, 7th Edition, 2015; Medical Pharmacology at a Glance Neal MJ Blackwell Science, 7th Edition, 2012; Rang and Dale's Pharmacology Rang HP, Dale MM, Ritter JM, Flower RJ and Henderson G Churchill Livingstone, 8th Edition, 2015.

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules


42cp from [[12cp from CHEM1XXX and 12cp from MATH1XXX and 12cp from (BIOL1XXX, MBLG1XXX) and [(12cp from PHYS1XXX (except PHYS1500)) or 12cp from PSYC1XXX or (6cp from PHYS1XXX (except PHYS1500) and 6cp from PSYC1XXX) or 12cp from Engineering]] 


MICR2921 or ANAT2008 or IMMU2101 or MICR2021 or BCHM2972 or MICR2922 or ANAT2010 or ANAT2910 or BMED2801 or PCOL2011 or MICR2022 or BIOL2016 or PHSI2905 or BIOL2006 or PHSI2006 or NUTR2912 or BMED2802 or PHSI2005 or NUTR2911 or BIOL2916 or BCHM2072 or BIOL2906 or PHSI2906

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.