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Molecules of life15, 15 Credits

Swedish name: Livets molekyler

This syllabus is valid: 2013-03-25 and until further notice

Course code: 3BK020

Credit points: 15

Education level: Second cycle

Grading scale: Three-grade scale

Responsible department: Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics

Established by: Board of undergraduate education, 2013-03-25


The course aims to give advanced knowledge in modern cell biology and biochemistry. Specific examples illustrate molecular processes and mechanisms that explain underlying causes of certain diseases.

Expected learning outcomes

After the course is completed the student should:

• be able to describe the cell structure and explain the function of the organelles.

• be able to describe and explain the connections between structure and function of DNA, RNA and proteins.

• be able to explain the connections behind the basic chemical reactions in a cell, including the synthesis of DNA, RNA and proteins. This also includes to analyze and discuss the different ways which a cell has at its disposal to regulate the production of these molecules.

• be able to describe how cell membranes are composed and understand the mechanisms of cell nutrient uptake.

• be able to describe how cells communicate with each other and which main signal transduction pathways are involved.

Required Knowledge

60 hp in biology, biotechnology, chemistry, medicine or other life science-oriented disciplines. English B / English 6 or equivalent knowledge.

Form of instruction

The course is a web-based course at 50% of normal pace of work. All exercises including discussions, laboratory sessions, examination and other communications are via the web. For this purpose a course platform is used that mediates teacher-student and student-student communication. We use an individual tutorial approach to meet the individual needs of all our students independently on their level of education. The course is given in English and Swedish.

Examination modes

The grades given are passed with distinction (VG), passed (G) and failed (U). The grade is based on how well the student has performed on all parts of the course, including hand-in exercises, discussion questions, quizzes and electronic laboratory sessions. To pass with VG, the students should demonstrate that they can use subject-specific terminology and be able to show a deeper understanding of the biochemical and cell biological facts. Specific facts should be well integrated into reasoning in which the students should show that they can relate knowledge from the different areas covered by the course.

To pass the entire course, it is required to submit and pass all hand-in exercises/examinations, electronic laboratory sessions and other obligatory activities. A student which has failed twice on any of the obligatory parts have the right to demand from the course organizing department that another teacher is selected to determine the grade at a new examination occasion. A student that has passed an examination is not allowed to make another examination to increase the grade.
Evaluation whether a previous education/activity can (fully or partially) be given credit for is decided by Student Center in agreement with the course coordinator. Students may apply for the whole or part of a course based on previously completed education or professional experience. The application should be submitted to the Umeå University Student Centre/ Examinations, 901 87 Umeå, Sweden. Information about acceptance can be found at http://www.student.umu.se/examen/tillgodoraknanden/

A negative decision on the official approval can be appealed to the Board of Appeals for Higher Education. A negative decision must be justified in writing. The appeal must be presented in writing. In the letter, the complaint should specify the decision which is appealed and the change which is sought. Delayed submission of the appeal will be dismissed.


Valid from: 2013 week 13

Alberts Bruce
Essential cell biology
3. ed. : New York : Garland Science : c2010 : xx, 730 s. :
ISBN: 978-0-8153-4129-1 (hbk.)
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