ANAT SC 3104 - Investigative Cell Biology

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2016

The course information on this page is being finalised for 2016. Please check again before classes commence.

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 Medical Sciences
    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 5388

    Course Coordinator: Dr Kencana Dharmapatni
    Phone: +61 8 8313 5986

    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

    No information currently available.

  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Laboratory Books (to be provided per group)

    It is a requirement of this course that you maintain a detailed laboratory book (these will be provided to your group at the start of the semester) for your group project.  This book should be written in ink (not pencil) and English 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).

    The course does not have a required textbook. The lecturers teaching into the course teach current knowledge in their field and research areas and will provide journal articles or links to information to complement the lecture material via MyUni.

    Please ensure all records, images and data files are given to the laboratory when you leave in order for them to utilise and continue the work.

    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


    Lecture 1 Monday 10-11am 

    Lecture 2 Thursday 12-1pm 

    Practical Tuesdays 1-5pm

    In supervisor or school lab




    Dr Kencana Dharmapatni absent/Dr Tania Crotti

    Bones & Joints

    Lecture 1

    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

    Sign up to group projects online 


    Bones & Joints

    Lecture 2

    Dr Tania Crotti

    RA osteolysis and joint failure

    In vivo analysis of human diseases versus normal tissue

    Role of IHC vs Q PCR vs in situ to assess levels of gene and protein expression

    In vivo murine model of RA



    Bones and Joint

    Lecture 3

    Dr Kencana Dharmapatni

    RA Apoptosis and autophagy


    Group Project Work



    Bones and Joint

    RA Apoptosis and autophagy

    Lecture 4

    Dr Kencana Dharmapatni



    Bones and Joint 

    Lecture 5

    Dr Julia Kuliwaba

    Animal studies for investigating Osteoarthritis (OA)

    Cartilage-subchondral bone changes in OA

    Pros and cons of different animal models

    Assessing subchondral bone changes (microCT imaging)

    Assessing cartilage degeneration (histological grading MRI imaging)

    Animal model relevance to human OA

    Group Project Work



    Stem Cell Biology

    Lecture 6

    Prof Stan Gronthos

    stem cells

    Characterisation of mesenchymal stem cells

    Stem Cell Biology

    Lecture 7

    Prof Stan Gronthos

    stem cells

    applications of mesenchymal stem cells in tissue repair.



    Stem Cell Biology

    Lecture 8

    Dr Danijela Menicanin

    Stem Cell Biology

    Lecture 9

    Dr Danijela Menicanin

    Proposal Due 

    Group Project Work




    Lecture 10

    A/Prof Amanda Page

    Why dieters ultimately fail when tackling Obesity


    Lecture 11

    A/Prof Amanda Page

    Why dieters ultimately fail when tackling Obesity




    Haematological Disease

    Lecture 12

    Professor Andrew Zannettino

    Multiple myeloma- cells involved

    Haematological Disease

    Lecture 13

    Professor Andrew Zannettino

    Multiple myeloma- Human to mouse and back


    Group Project Work



    Prostate Cancer

    Lecture 14

    Maggie Centenera

    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


    Prostate Cancer

    Lecture 15

    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

    Group Project Work

    Mid Semester test open Tuesday 14th September

    Mid Semester Break



    Public Holiday

    To be confirmed


    Group Project Work



    Lecture 16

    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?


    Lecture 17

    Dr Janet Coller

    Genetics and Chronic Pain Severity

    How do we design a research study to investigate this?

    What are the important modulators of chronic pain?

    Which genes contribute to chronic pain in patients with fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis?

    Group Project Work


    Lecture 18


    Dr Jo Bowen GIT

    What is
    cancer toxicity?

    introduction to Mucositis including brief epidemiology

    pathophysiology of Mucositis

    What is cancer toxicity?

    An introduction to Mucositis including brief epidemiology

    Basic pathophysiology of Mucositis

    Lecture 19
    Dr Jo Bowen GIT

    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


    Lecture 20


    Dr Jo Bowen 

    No lecture schedules 

    Group Project Presentation

    Barr Smith South








    Specific Course Requirements
    The introductory lecture is mandatory as it will incorporate an OHSW induction. All students must complete this induction and have signed an attendance role for OHSW regardless of whether it has been done as part of another course. This must be completed 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




    End-of-Semester Examination




    Assessment Related Requirements

    There are 4 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 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 (15% 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 50%.  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 three or 4 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 Kencana, identify the issue(s) they wish to investigate, and design an appropriate research strategy.

    Research proposal (20% 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 Kencana.  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. We strongly encourage you to use endnote for consistent formatting.

    Please include a coversheet

    Your proposal should be named as follows:

    Group member surnames in alphabetical order_Research_Proposal_2016.  For example: Bowen_Crotti_Gibson_Research_Proposal_2016. 

    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 Kencana.

    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 in availability.

    Oral Presentation of Research Proposal (30% 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) presentation of your group project

    The following questions may serve as a guide for your oral presentaton:
    ·     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 presentation well organised?
    ·     Is the text legible and free from grammatical and typographical errors?
    ·     Is appropriate use made of figures and tables?
    ·     Are figures/tables easily understood?
    ·     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?
    ·     Does the project require ethics?

    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 Kencana (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. Do not 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.



    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.