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ONC0251B Introduction to cellular and molecular biology


Introduction to cellular and molecular biology


Academic year 2024/2025

Course ID
Enrico Bracco (Lecturer)
1st year
Teaching period
Related or integrative
Course disciplinary sector (SSD)
BIO/13 - experimental biology
Formal authority
Type of examination
Written and oral (optional)
Type of learning unit
Modular course
Biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology (ONC0251)

Sommario del corso


Course objectives

This module forms an essential component of the Biochemistry, Cellular, and Molecular Biology course, which encompasses various topics including (i) Introduction to Cellular and Molecular Biology, (ii) Cell Signaling, Metabolism, and Immunology, (iii) Modeling and Quantitative Approaches to Life Science, and (iv) Clinical Biochemistry, and Molecular Biology. The primary objective of this course is to equip students with digital skills that can be applied in the healthcare and biomedicine sectors, thereby fulfilling the main objective of the Master's degree. More specifically, the focus of this module is to provide students with a digital perspective on the fundamental building blocks of living organisms.


Results of learning outcomes

By the end of the course, students will possess knowledge concerning chemical and biological disciplines. They will be familiar with the fundamental biological processes essential to life including the signal transduction cascade, the mechanisms of nutrient uptake and utilization by the major metabolic pathways.They will learn how such pathways are integrated and regulated within the cell. Examples will be provided and discussed with the class. Furthermore, they will contextualize the knowledge they've gained from a digital perspective. Finally, students will be able to confidently present their knowledge both verbally and in concise written statements.



Module i_Introduction to Cellular and Molecular Biology

The module aims to offer an overview of the following topics listed below

Features and properties characterizing living organisms
Organization of the plasma membrane and mechanisms of transport across it
Cell architecture: intracellular compartments/organelles (nucleus, endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi apparatus, mitochondrion, peroxisome, lysosome, lipid droplets, ribosome, and proteasome) and their functions, biogenesis, and homeostasis
From DNA to proteins: DNA replication, DNA damage recognition and repair, gene transcription and its regulation, post-transcriptional modifications (splicing and non-coding RNAs), RNA transport across the nuclear envelope, translation, protein docking
Post-translational modifications of proteins (glycosylation, acetylation, methylation, ubiquitination, proteolytic cleavage, phosphorylation, disulfide bond isomerization, arginylation, lipidation, proline hydroxylation): occurrence, mechanisms, biological functions, and their significance in signal integration
Molecular basis sustaining cell shape and motility (spontaneous or directed, e.g., chemo-, aero-, duro-, hapto- and electro-taxis): function and control of actin and microtubule dynamics, and their regulation upon sensing extracellular cues; intermediate filaments; motor proteins (myosin, kinesins, dyneins) and intracellular cargo transport
Cell cycle and programmed cell death: molecular players and how a cell integrates different signals leading to opposite outcomes


Course delivery

Lectures will be held in presence. Explanations on the various topics will be provided to the class using slides as didactic material. The slides will be provided to the class in advance, so that students will be facilitated in following the lessons and in posing questions. At the end of each lesson, some time will be dedicated to recap the major arguments that have been discussed. Similarly, a rapid recap will be also done at the beginning of the following lessons to set the stage for the lesson helping the students to get into the topic. Registration of the lessons is also provided along with movies of Lectures on key topics done by experts in the field. 


Learning assessment methods

To assess the knowledge level and understanding of the specific topics covered in the module the examination forecasts multiple choice and filling-in questions, conceptual maps, and exercises (on the whole approximately 25-30).

No marks will be subtracted from the wrong answers.

Suggested readings and bibliography

Last update: 27/05/2024 12:51
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