ANAT SC 3104 - Investigative Cell Biology

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2015

Investigative Cell Biology will provide students with a foundation to be good researchers by providing a variety of laboratory and analytical skills. Specifically this course studies cell biology from an investigative perspective, understanding cell biology processes intimately relate to relevant scientific techniques. Modern investigative approaches to studying cell biology are emphasised. Topics included selected important aspects of cell function: protein synthesis, cell differentiation, cell reproduction and cell death. Investigative Cell Biology will facilitate students in developing and improving various skills such as critical thinking, critical evaluation and analysis as well as academic writing, planning and conducting research, time management and independent research.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code ANAT SC 3104
    Course Investigative Cell Biology
    Coordinating Unit Anatomy and Pathology
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 6 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Incompatible 7997 (pre-2002)
    Assumed Knowledge ANAT SC 2104, ANAT SC 2105, ANAT SC 2103, ANAT SC 2102 or equivalent
    Assessment Projects including; oral presentation, laboratory work, written reports. Written; including exams, tests assignments
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Associate Professor Tania Crotti

    Course Coordinator: Dr Tania Crotti
    Phone: +61 8 8313 5986
    Location: Room 308a, Medical School North

    Course Coordinator: Associate Professor Rachel Gibson
    Phone: +61 8 8313 1023
    Location: Room 332a, Medical School North
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 Identify current and emerging research techniques in human health and disease
    2 Generate, illustrate and interpret experimental results in a medical research setting
    3 Explain how the structures at the level of cells, tissues and organs relate to their overall function in both healthy and disease states
    4 Critically evaluate scientific literature used in medical research
    5 Assemble and record a range medical scientific literature
    6 Communicate self generated medical research findings in written and oral format
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1-3
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 1, 4, 5
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 2, 6
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 2, 4-6
    A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 1-2
    A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 1-6
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Laboratory Books

    It is a requirement of this course that you maintain a detailed laboratory book (these will be provided to you at the start of the semester) for your group project.  This book should be written in ink (not pencil) as it is a permanent record of your research endeavours, and all entries must be dated and signed weekly by your demonstrator.  It should detail all of the experiments that you undertake, including those that did not work for one reason or another.  All protocols must be written in sufficient detail to be understood and replicated by another scientist working the same area or using the same methods.  References to techniques derived from elsewhere must be clearly indicated, or more preferably, recorded in the laboratory book.  International protocol is that these SHOULD NOT leave the laboratory.  At the end of the course the laboratory book must be handed in with the group report and will remain the property of the School (students may make a copy, if they so wish).

    Recommended Resources

    The preferred mode of communication of information and notices to students is by MyUni notices and email.  All students will be issued with a student email address by the University, which the Co-ordinator will use for general communication with you.  Because of the difficulty in confirming receipt, it is considered that you have received our communication when emails are sent to you.  It is by this mechanism that you will be informed of changes to schedules and other important information.  It is your responsibility to check your email on a daily basis.


    IT Support

    The School of Medical Sciences now receives centralised IT support via the University IT services (ITS).  Help is available by phoning the ITS Helpdesk on 8303 3000 during working hours.  Note that support is limited to issues with accounts and University-owned computer software and hardware.  Nevertheless it is possible to use personal computers on the University network and at home.  A wireless secure LAN connection is available to all member of the University with a valid email account, for use with personal computers within the University.  Reception is possible within various areas on campus.  The University account also provides access from home for the cost of a local phone call.  Every student has access to web-mail for use anywhere in the world (see:

    We cannot stress enough how important it is to backup your data and written work regularly.  Please ensure that you have well-established routines for backing up your work from the beginning of the year.  In previous years there have been problems where students are unable to retrieve lost work, causing a great deal of unnecessary stress for everyone.


    Academic Learning and Language

    Supporting Student Learning


    Maths Learning Service

    The Maths Learning Service (MLS) offers free support for all University of Adelaide students meeting their maths (including stats) in their studies.  The Maths Learning Service and the Maths Drop-In Centre is located on Level 2 of the Plaza Building on the North Terrace campus. (It is at reference G9 on the printable North Terrace Campus map).  Access to the Centre will be via the entrance to the Horace Lamb Building, past the Health Service and up the stairs to Level 2 of the Plaza Building.  Please follow the signs to the Centre.  We offer the following services:

    The Maths Drop-In Centre: The Drop-In Centre is open from 10am-4pm during teaching weeks and swot vacs.  Our friendly staff is available during these times to help all students understand maths in their university courses.  No appointment is necessary.  During breaks, assistance is still available by contacting the MLS and making an appointment.

    Bridging Courses: The MLS provides free self-paced bridging courses to cover prerequisite maths knowledge.

    Online and Print Resources: We provide quick revision worksheets on various maths topics plus online refresher modules.  Our website also contains links to useful maths resources specific to various University of Adelaide courses. 

    For further information :

    Maths Learning Centre, Level 3 East, Hub Central

    Online Learning

    This course will provide an online learning environment and all material will be provided to students through the University of Adelaide’s online management system MyUni. In particular students may undertake online learning using the Articulate Storyline Software, complete online assignments through MyUni, submit assignments online, participate in discussion boards and blogs. Links will be provided throughout the semester.

    Note: students do not need Articulate Storyline Software; only access to MyUni.

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Face to face lectures – this course benefits from the real time delivery of content. Academic staff and affiliates from the all the disciplines within the School of Medical Science will be used to deliver lectures specific to cell biology, and current research techniques for investigations. These lectures are supported by practicals, whereby small groups of students undertake a semester long research project.  Face to face lectures offer synchronous learning opportunities and enable students to quickly clarify complex descriptions and terminology. As much of the content for this course is NOT supported by textbooks we support the audio and video capture of lecture content as an aid to revision.  

    Articulate presentations
    – the School of Medical Sciences has a number of staff that are expert in its use. The advantage to the student is the freedom to progress through content at their own pace while receiving in time support for their learning.  This is particularly helpful for the nature of the content which will be available for revision across the semester. The School of Medical Sciences has a purpose built e-learning room with dedicated PC access to training support software.

    Laboratory-based Practicals – weekly practicals sessions enable small group research discovery and peer interaction around a semester long research project.

    Discussion board – discussion boards will provide an interactive portal for students to post questions that may be of common interest to the group.


    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    This is a 3 unit course, and we expect that students should be spending 4 hours per week on reading and lecture preparation and attendance; 6 hours per week on laboratory work (including reading and writing) and 2 hours per week on revision for tests and examinations.

    Learning Activities Summary

    Dr Tania Crotti and A/Prof Rachel Gibson
    Dr Tania Crotti

    Outline on bone cells and origins

    Regulation of bone turn over
    Basic background to bone pathologies
    Function and morphology of the osteoclast
    Osteoclast in vitro analysis – single cell culture/co-cultures and what it tells us
    Introduction to Group Projects
    Ms Betty Reinboth for OHW&S
    Dr Tania Crotti

    Pathogenesis of bone & joint in RA

    Markers of disease activity
    In vivo analysis of human diseases versus normal tissue
    Role of IHC vs Q PCR vs insitu to assess levels of gene and protein expression
    Dr Julia Kuliwaba

    Animal studies to investigate pathogenesis of osteoarthritis:

    Histological grading
    The cartilage-bone unit
    Microarrays – focus on bone
    Animal models of OA: pros and cons
    Trauma vs non trauma models
    Bone structural changes – microCT
    Histoquantitation of bone
    Group Project Work
    Professor Stan Gronthos

    Mesenchymal Stem Cells

    Therapeutic applications of mesenchymal stem cells in skeletal tissue repair
    A/Professor Rachel Gibson

    What is cancer toxicity?

    An introduction to Mucositis including brief epidemiology
    Basic pathophysiology (including structural cellular damage) of mucositis
    Group Project Work
    Week 4 THEME 2: GI TRACT
    A/Professor Rachel Gibson

    Apoptosis in the context of cancer treatment

    What is apoptosis & why is it important in biological systems?
    Why is apoptosis important in oncology?
    How do we measure apoptosis & what do the measurements mean?
    Dr Joanne Bowen

    Animal models for investigating mucositis 1

    History of animal models
    Are they effective?
    Is there a one fit model?
    Why do we need animal models?
    Group Project Work
    Week 5 THEME 2: GI TRACT
    Dr Joanne Bowen

    Animal models for investigating mucositis 2.

    Pros and cons of different animal models
    Hamster model
    DA model for chemo/radiotherapy
    Radiation mouse model
    Wistar rat model
    A/Professor Amanda Page

    Why dieters ultimately fail when tackling obesity
    Group Project Work
    Week 6 THEME 2: GI TRACT
    Dr Catherine Gibson/Ms Heather Scott

    Maternal health and nutrition and pregnancy outcomes
    Professor Andrew Zannettino

    Multiple myeloma- Human to mouse and back
    Group Project Work
    Professor Andrew Zannettino

    Multiple myeloma- cells involved
    Dr Luke Selth

    Current treatment strategies for metastatic prostate cancer

    Why do so many men become resistant?
    New, research-driven approaches for therapy
    Preclinical development of new anticancer agents
    Models of prostate cancer: their strengths and weaknesses
    Cancer cell lines
    Mouse models- xenograft or transgenic
    Human tumour explants
    Group Project Work
    Dr Luke Selth

    What is a biomarker?

    How are biomarkers identified?
    Potential uses of biomarkers
    Biomarkers of prostate cancer
    Prostate specific antigen – an example of a commonly used biomarker that has revolutionised clinical practice
    Prostate specific antigen screening: a benefit or bane?
    Other uses of prostate specific antigen
    New biomarkers of prostate cancer
    A/Professor Mark Hutchinson

    Neuroimmunology: the basics

    What is brain-immune, immune-brain communication?
    how do drugs modify this communication
    What are the key cells: glia
    What are the key molecular signals?
    How do we research this?
    Mid-semester test scheduled
    A/Professor Mark Hutchinson

    Neuroimmunology & pain

    How does immune-brain communication go bad? chronic pain.
    What are the key cells?
    What are the key molecular signals?
    How can we beneficially target this?
    How do we research this?
    Group Project Work
    Dr Janet Coller

    Genetics and Drug Response

    What is the impact of genetic variability on efficacy and toxicity of drugs?
    How is genetic testing currently used in clinical practice & research?
    Dr Janet Coller

    Genetics and Drug Addiction

    What are the important modulators of neuronal opioid and alcohol response?
    Which genes modulate the response to opioids and alcohol to alter addiction? How do we research this?
    Group Project Work
    Dr Mark Gibson

    Extracellular Matrix and Tissue Function

    What are the macromolecular constituents of the ECM?
    How is ECM composition tailored for tissue function?
    What are disease consequences of mutations in genes for ECM proteins?
    Dr Mark Gibson

    Cell-matrix interactions in tissue development and homeostasis

    How does a tissue cell gain information from the surrounding ECM?
    How does the ECM influence cell behaviour in development, repair and disease processes?
    Group Project Work
    Week 12 THEME 7: BRUISING
    Professor Neil Langlois
    Professor Neil Langlois
    Group Project Work
    Specific Course Requirements
    A lecture time will be scheduled for OHSW induction. All students must complete this induction prior to commencing in the laboratory. Please contact Ms Betty Reinboth regarding any OHSW issues that may arise during the course.

    Ms Betty Reinboth 8313 5194
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    Investigative Cell Biology runs semester long small group projects, which can be considered a “Small Group Discovery Experience”. Students will work in small groups of two or three and will be matched with an experienced research active senior academic for the duration of the semester. Face to face meetings offer synchronous learning opportunities and enable students to plan and experience hands on research. This enables students to match research practical applications with theoretical concepts and provide additional opportunities to clarify complex procedures, descriptions and terminology.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary

    Assessment Task


    Assessment Type




    Learning Outcome(s) being addressed

    Mid-semester test




    Research Proposal




    Oral Presentation




    Research Report




    End-of-Semester Examination




    Assessment Related Requirements
    There are 5 assessment tasks for Investigative Cell Biology III. For students to pass Investigative Cell Biology III a mark of at least 50% must be attained for the combined assessments. To qualify for a an academic replacement exam an overall mark of 45% must be obtained. A replacement examination may be offered on medical grounds.
    Assessment Detail
    Mid Semester Test (10% of grade )

    Tests and examinations will be graded using marks. This test will assess lecture material. It is designed to promote continuous learning of course content and preparation for the examination as well as feedback on your level of knowledge and understanding as you progress in the course.  Attendance at this test is compulsory.  If you miss the test for legitimate reasons (ie medical grounds) there WILL NOT be any opportunity to re-sit the test.  However, it will mean that your end-of-semester exam will be worth 45%.  If you fail to sit the test and do not have any medical documentation then you will receive 0 for the missed test.


    Research Project

    For the practical component students are required to undertake a research project.  Students will work in small groups of two or three and will be asked to sign up to a project via the My Uni web page.  To join a project, select Groups from the list on the left handside of the ICB MyUni site, then select “view sign up sheet to join a group” and then read the list of project topics from 1-10.  Once you have made your selection you click the “sign up” button under the topic.  Once you have done this it is final and cannot be changed.  The research projects are designed to introduce students to the various stages of the research process, from the development of a research proposal, to formulating an hypothesis, executing a series of experiments to investigate the topic, critically evaluating the results, and discussing them in the context of current literature.  At the end of the project, each group of students have to write and submit a detailed research report, in the form of a short paper. During the research project students will develop, and refine, skills in the following areas:

    ·    Organisation and time management.

    ·    Critical thinking.

    ·    Experimental design and hypothesis formulating and testing.

    ·    Collaboration with colleagues as co-workers.

    ·    Data collection, synthesis and analysis.

    ·    Data discussion in relation to current literature.

    Students will be asked to read the relevant literature and, with assistance and advice from Tania and Rachel, identify the issue(s) they wish to investigate, and design an appropriate research strategy.


    Research proposal (10% of grade)

    A written research proposal must be submitted in the form of a written plan by Week 4 of semester emailed to Tania AND Rachel.  The following questions should be addressed in the research proposal, and will be used to assess each group's proposed research strategy.  :

    ·    Is the title clear?

    ·    Is the title related to the proposed research topic?

    ·    Are the objectives of the research clearly outlined?

    ·    Has a valid justification for conducting the research been provided?

    ·    Can the project be achieved given the resources that are likely to be available?

    ·    Has a realistic timetable for the completion of the project been indicated?

    ·    Are the research methods appropriate to the question(s) in hand?

    ·    Does the project require ethics


    Format: The maximum length for the research proposal is 750 words excluding images and referencing.  Please use Times New Roman size 12 font, and use double spacing throughout your assignment. 

    Referencing: Please use numbered citation in order of appearance OR alphabetical. As this is a 3rd year course please do not cite websites or textbooks.

    Your proposal should be named as follows: Group member surnames in alphabetical order_Research_Proposal_2014.  For example: Bowen_Crotti_Gibson_Research_Proposal_2014.  Please send both a word and PDF version of your proposal.  You will receive an email acknowledging receipt of your proposal by 5pm on the due date.  If you do not receive this email, please contact both Tania and Rachel.


    The practical work should start as soon as possible after meeting with the appointed supervisor completed by the end of week 11 of the semester.  Please be aware that this is also an important time in the National Research Funding cycle and your supervisor may be more limited n availability.


    Research Report (30% of grade)

    Students are advised to revise their final report in light of comments made by Rachel and Tania on their initial proposal. At the completion of the project a group research report (in the form of a research paper) must be submitted Monday Week 13 of Semester

    Each student should be listed alphabetically according to their last name i.e. T.N. Crotti, R.J. Gibson. The research report should be organised under the following general headings:

    ·    Title

    ·    Abstract (of no more than 250 words)

    ·    Introduction

    ·    Materials and methods

    ·    Results (including figures/images)

    ·    Discussion

    ·    References to relevant literature cited in text.


    Format: The maximum length for the research report is 3000 words excluding images and referencing (this is a standard journal article length).  Please write in Times New Roman, size 12 font, double spacing. Please use endnote for referencing. 

    Referencing: Please use numbered citation in order of appearance OR alphabetical. As this is a 3rd year course please do not cite websites or textbooks.

    The report should be named as follows: Group member surnames in alphabetical order_Final_Research_Report_2014.

    For example: Bowen_Crotti_Gibson_Final_Research_Report_2014.  Please send both a word and PDF version of your report.  You will receive an email acknowledging receipt of your proposal by 5pm on the due date.  If you do not receive this email, please contact both Tania and Rachel.


    The following questions may serve as a guide for the layout and content of your final research report:

    ·    Has a clear statement of the question, or hypothesis, to be investigated been presented?

    ·     Has a thorough explanation of the question being investigated been provided?

    ·     Is the explanation clear, well reasoned, and logical?

    ·     Are all components in the explanation given appropriate attention?

    ·    Is the report well organised in the presentation of the information?

    ·    Is the text legible and free from grammatical and typographical errors?

    ·    How clearly does the text and graphics transfer information to the reader?

    ·    Is appropriate use made of figures and tables?

    ·    Are figures/tables easily understood and have they been integrated into the text?

    ·    Has the research been appropriately discussed in relation to that of other literature of the field?

    ·    Does the report reflect the research methods and resources appropriate to the topic?

    ·    Are the conclusions supported by the data obtained?

    ·    Is there evidence of critical evaluation of results?

    ·    Are references appropriate to the topic?

    ·    Does the project require ethics?


    Oral Presentations (15% of final grade)

    As all graduates from the University of Adelaide are expected to have competency in oral and written dissemination of information related to your degree field, you will be expected to give a short (10mins + 5 min questions) presentations of your group project


    The content of your presentation should give a concise overview of your project.  It is important to illustrate key points with diagrams and images.   It is compulsory for you to attend this session. 

    ·    Powerpoint programs must be compatible with Windows 7

    ·    Your presentations must be given to either Tania or Rachel (either via email or USB) no later than 9am on the morning of the symposium to allow for loading.

    ·    Your presentation must be based on diagrams and illustrations – simply reading notes out loud is discouraged.


    Examination (35% of final grade)

    There will be a two hour theory examination for this subject.  Important information about exams that all students should be aware of can be found at

    Tests and examinations will be graded using marks. Questions in the written theory paper will be based on material covered in the lectures. The examination aims to examine the depth of a student’s understanding of the topics that have been covered during the semester.  The total possible mark for the exam will be specified on the test / examination. Marks for individual questions in the examination will be stated on the question paper. The marks give a guide as to how much you should write in your answer. Don’t assume that, for example, 3 marks means that only 3 points/facts must be covered in the answer. Three marks just means that you need not give as much or as detailed information as for a 10 mark question for example.

    All assignments are to be submitted via email as both a word file AND PDF to both Dr Tania Crotti and A/Prof Rachel Gibson. All submissions will be acknowledged via return email by 5pm of the day submitted.

    If you find that you need an extension for an assignment you must notify Dr Tania Crotti or A/Prof Rachel Gibson prior to the due date. All late submissions without extensions will be penalised at the rate of 30% per day. Attendance at the oral research symposium is compulsory. An attendance roll will be taken.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.