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 characteristics of micro-organisms (bacteria, fungi and viruses) followed by 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 molecular basis of drug action will then be discussed. Students will be introduced to the role of enzymes in the catalysis of cellular reactions and the pharmacological strategies employed to exploit our knowledge of these mechanisms. Intracellular signalling, cell to cell signalling, and pharmacological intervention in these processes are covered. 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 gaining experience handling live microbes. In addition, the sessions are also designed to provide students with generic skills such as record keeping, data collection and presentation, protocol planning and written communication.

Further unit of study information


2 lec, 1 prac/wk


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, 6th Edition, 2010; 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, 7th Edition, 2012

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules

Prerequisites and assumed knowledge

42 credit points of Junior Bachelor of Medical Science units of study


Any one from (BMED2801, BMED2802, BIOL2006, BIOL2016, BIOL2906, BIOL2916, IMMU2101, ANAT2008, ANAT2010, PCOL2011, PHSI2005, PHSI2006, PHSI2905, PHSI2906, BCHM2072, BCHM2972, MICR2021, MICR2022, MICR2921, MICR2922, NUTR2911, NUTR2912)

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.