BIOCHEM 3001 - Cancer, Stem Cells & Development III

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2019

This course will study the regulation of cellular signalling, proliferation and differentiation in the context of diseases such as cancer, and in normal embryonic development. It will provide detailed information on the major conceptual and technical advances in this field, including specific medical applications, focussing on three principle themes: Cell Signalling: Epigenetics in cell differentiation and memory, lipid anchors, signal regulation, GPCRs, insulin and cannabinoid signalling, adipokines, kinases and cancer therapeutics, and calcium signalling. Molecular Basis of Cancer: Principles and hallmarks of cancer, clonal selection, driver mutations, cell cycle, DNA damage, senescence, genomic instability, tumour suppressors, liquid tumours, mTOR, cancer metabolism, oncometabolites, and drug development for prostate cancer, CML and ALL.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code BIOCHEM 3001
    Course Cancer, Stem Cells & Development III
    Coordinating Unit School of Biological Sciences
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 6
    Contact Up to 23 hours per fortnight
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites BIOCHEM 2500 & BIOCHEM 2501 or equivalent
    Assessment Exam on lecture material, practical component and written test
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Associate Professor Dan Peet

    Course Timetable

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

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 Understand key aspects of cell signalling and the molecular basis of cancer.
    2 Understand key aspects of stem cells, neurogenesis and the application of gene editing.
    3 Understand and apply the advanced experimental techniques required to solve specific biochemical problems, and understand of the ethical implications of this research.
    4 Plan, perform, interpret, quantitatively analyse and communicate biochemical research using a variety of modern experimental techniques.
    5 Find, read, interpret and critically analyse relevant scientific literature and apply it to solve specific problems in molecular biology.
    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)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    1, 2, 3
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    3, 4, 5
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    4, 5, 6
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    5, 6
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
    4, 6
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Laboratory coat, safety glasses and closed shoes.
    Recommended Resources
    Text book: Molecular Biology of the Cell (5th Edn) by Alberts et al., 2008, Published by Garland Science
    Online Learning
    Resource material such as lecture, tutorial, practical and past exams will be available on Myuni.Online assessment will be conducted via Myuni.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This course will be delivered by the following means:

    3 Lectures of 1 hour each per week by the Academic research staff.

    1 Tutorial of 1 hour per week developing material covered in lectures. The lecturer takes the tutorial classes for their section.

    1 Practical of 15 hours per fortnight. (Odd weeks = 5 hours & Even weeks = 10 hour
    duration) during the first seven weeks of the semester.

    1 essay topic: 7 regular practical sessions are set aside for students to research and
    prepare a specific essay topic.

    3 online multiple choice tests of 1 hour duration per semester (weeks 4, 8 and 12, with
    immediate feedback provided).


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

    A student enrolled in a 6 unit course, such as this, should expect to spend, on average 24 hours per week on the studies required. This includes both the formal contact time required to the course (e.g., lectures and practicals), as well as non-contact time (e.g., reading and revision).

    Learning Activities Summary
    Week 1 Mechanisms of epigenetic cell memory Lecture
    Week 2 Signalling domains: structure and function Lecture
    Week 3 Signalling domains: structure and function Lecture
    Week 4 Cell signalling pathways Lecture
    Week 5 Cancer molecular biology Lecture
    Week 6 Cancer molecular biology Lecture
    Week 7 Cancer and metabolism Lecture
    Week 8 mTOR signalling in cancer Lecture
    Week 9 Stem cells/CRISPR technology                  Lecture
    Week 10 Bowel cancer, stem cells & the tumour microenvironment Lecture
    Week 11 Neurogenesis, and exploring neuronal circuits Lecture
    Week 12 Neurogenesis, and exploring neuronal circuits Lecture
  • 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 Task Type Due Weighting Learning Outcome
    Written test on lecture material Summative

    Week 6

    25% 1, 2, 3
    Practical report (poster) on research project Summative end of week 7 15% 4, 5, 6
    Essay research topic Summative end of week 12 15% 4, 5
    Online assessment Summative/formative weeks 6, 10 and 12 5% 1, 2, 3
    Written exam on lecture material Summative examination week 40% 1, 2, 3
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Attendance and active participation at all practicals is mandatory.
    Assessment Detail
    End of semester written Exam (65% of total course grade) – 3 hour examination covering the lecture material. It is made up of a mixture of short and long answer type questions.

    Practical write up (15% of total course grade). The six week long practical exercise will include experimental work, keeping an up to date laboratory notebook, 1 oral presentation and the
    submission of a final practical report. The oral presentation is 10-15 minutes, cover the research performed in the practical, and performed in small groups in week 6. Students receive feedback throughout the semester on laboratory performance and keeping of laboratory notebooks, immediately after the oral presentation, and on the final report.

    Outstanding students may have the option of a laboratory-based research project in place of the practical exercise.
    Essay write up and presentation (15% of total course grade). Students (working in groups of 6 - 8 with an essay advisor) will be given the opportunity to write an individual essay of approximately 2000 words on a current area of biochemical research and then present their topic, as part of a small group, to the Discipline of Biochemistry academic staff members and the essay advisors. Students receive detailed written feedback on the assessment of their essay.

    Online exercises: Three multiple choice tests in weeks 4, 8 and 12 (5% of total course grade). Encourages revision of the material soon after the relevant lectures, and immediate feedback provided to students.
    If an extension is not applied for, or not granted,then a penalty for late submission
    will apply.  A penalty of 10% of the value of the assignment for each calendar day that the assignment is late (i.e. weekends count as 2 days), up to a maximum of 50% of the available marks will be applied. This means that an assignment that is 5 days late or more without an approved extension can only receive a maximum of 50% of the marks available for that assignment.
    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.

    Provision of Feedback to Students
    The assessor usually provides appropriate feedback of assessment tasks to the student by means of
    written comments. The student has the opportunity to directly liaise with the assessor to obtain additional feedback and clarification if required.

  • 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.