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Unit information: Normal and Tumour Cells in 2020/21

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Normal and Tumour Cells
Unit code PANM12051
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Williams
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

Study of cell and tissue structure, cell division, membrane trafficking, and growth control. Developmental biology and differentiation. Tumour cells and an introduction to tumour immunology.

The unit introduces the basic structure of cells and tissues and covers cellular processes and differentiation, how cells interact together to form complex multicellular organisms. It provides knowledge of and some practical experience of experimental techniques used to study cell and tissue structure and function. The unit is delivered using a series of integrated lectures, tutorials and online laboratory practical sessions and online resources.

Unit aims:

To provide students with information about:

  1. the structure of cells and tissues,
  2. regulation of cell division and tumorignenesis,
  3. the mechanisms by which cells become different from each other, and how they interact together to form complex multicellular organisms,
  4. the experimental research has led to an understanding of these mechanisms,
  5. the fundamentals of developmental biology,
  6. the basics of cellular control processes.
  7. the basic principles of tumour immunity.

To teach students skills including:

  1. experience of experimental techniques for examining cell and tissue structure and function,
  2. data interpretation,
  3. written and oral presentation.

Intended Learning Outcomes

At the end of the unit a successful student will be able to:

  1. describe the basic structure of cells and tissues,
  2. recall the fundamentals of developmental biology,
  3. describe cellular differentiation,
  4. define cellular interactions,
  5. describe cellular growth control and tumour development,
  6. list examples of how these processes relate to the development and differentiation of specific tissues,
  7. knowledge of experimental techniques for examining cell and tissue structure and function,
  8. explain the applications of these experimental techniques
  9. interpret data,
  10. present scientific information and arguments in written and oral form,
  11. undertake the further study of cellular growth control at Level 5 and 6.

Teaching Information




e-learning to support laboratory practicals via eBiolabs

Assessment Information

Oral presentation (10%)

eBiolabs pre-lab quizzes and post-lab assignments (15%)

Mid Unit Essay (15%)

Examination (January) (60%)

The exams will cover learning outcomes 1-10.

The assessment via eBiolabs will assess learning outcomes 7-10.

The essay and oral presentation will cover learning outcome 10 and any from 1-6.

Formative assessment:

For formative purposes students will receive feedback as follows:

  • The mid unit essay will be marked and a feedback session will be given by the Unit Director.
  • Electronic feedback will be provided for the pre-lab and post-lab work via eBiolabs.
  • Oral presentations will be marked and subject to verbal feedback during the tutorial and a written feedback.
  • Feedback during the laboratory practical session will be provided by staff and demonstrators.
  • A breakdown of marks for the exam will be provided and additional feedback will be provided by the Unit Director on request.

Reading and References

Recommended reading:

The most useful general reference books, which students may wish to consider buying, are: Lewin’s CELLS, 3rd edn. by Plopper et al (2015)


Molecular Biology of the Cell by B Alberts et al., 6th edn. (2015).


Molecular Cell Biology by H Lodish et al., 8th edn. (2016).

Further reading:

A shorter, simpler text which students without A level biology may find particularly useful is Essential Cell Biology by B Alberts et al., 5th edn. (2019).

Essential Developmental Biology, by J Slack 3rd edn. (2012) is also recommended for reference.

Histology and Cell Biology: An Introduction to Pathology, by Abraham L. Kierszenbaum 4th edn. (2016).

All textbooks are available in the Medical Sciences library.