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CODE 72719
SEMESTER 1° Semester
MODULES Questo insegnamento è un modulo di:


This course provides a basic outline of molecular and cellular biology, of the functional mechanisms of nuclear biomolecular processes, from the management of the genetic information to the generation of specialized cell types, with a focus on pathologies associated with malfunctioning of these processes (cancer, specific hereditary diseases)



Lessons aim to introduce students to the basic and most relevant aspects of cell biology, so that, at the end of the course, students will be able to interpret the cell as a functional unit of structures of superior hierarchical order (tissue, organs, and individuals) and as suitable target of therapeutic and pharmacological treatments.

Students are required to retain knowledge of molecular and functional cellular mechanisms that allow the existence of living organisms, as well as to comprehend their significance in relation to other cells and the surrounding microenvironment. Students must also know, comprehend and be able to compare the molecular mechanisms that allow to control and to direct the genetic information that drives the developmental plan of living organisms; they will also be required to critically evaluate the possible effects of alterations of main cellular functions and their biological consequences. Students will also be expected to retain and use the proper scientific terminology. 


Classes will be managed as frontal lectures with Power Point presentations; during classes, students will be engaged in active discussion, via examples and specific exercises. If necessary, lessons may be provided on-line, through specific platforms and pre-arrangements made between the teacher, the students and the different Schools in the region.

Students can take advantage of online material (lectures power point notes) available on the AulaWeb website; the teacher can be reached via email to arrange specific one-to-one meeting for further assistance/explanation as needed

Any Student with documented Specific Learning Disorders (SLD), or with any special needs, shall reach out to the Lecturer(s) and to the dedicated SLD Representative in the Department before class begins, in order to liase and arrange the specific teaching methods and ensure proper achievement of the learning aims and outcomes.


Introduction to the “cell theory”; prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells; the endo-symbiotic theory; structure and functions of the cell membrane; membrane transportation: simple and facilitated diffusion, passive and active transportation (ion channels and transporters); endo- and exocytosis. Chemical composition and structure of DNA; molecular mechanisms of DNA replication in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells; transcription and characteristics of m-, r-, and of t-RNA. Translation and the genetic code; role of mRNA, tRNA and of ribosomes. Proteins: their structures and roles inside the cell; enzymes and structural proteins. Cell cycle and its control in eukaryotic cells (growth factors, oncogenes and onco-suppressor proteins). Mechanisms of cell communication; membrane and intracellular receptors; overview of signal transductions. Apoptosis. Overview of the basic mechanisms that control cell differentiation and embryonic development.


Power point notes of class lectures are available for students to be downloaded from AulaWeb. Files are strictly for personal use only; files must not be shared on social media, posted on any internet website or put on any sharing platform; files must not be printed out for sale or photocopied. Other basic biology and genetics textbooks can be also used, providing they are intended for University Master Degree courses, among which the ones indicated below:

D. Sadava et al.; Biologia: 1La cellula. Zanichelli Ed.

D. Sadava et al.; Biologia: 2L’ereditarietà ed il genoma. Zanichelli Ed.

D. Sadava et al. Principi di Biologia e Genetica. Zanichelli Ed.

E.P. Solomon et al., Elementi di Biologia. EdiSes Ed.

Alberts et al. “L’essenziale di biologia molecolare della cellula”, Zanichelli Ed.

Other basic biology and genetics textbooks can be also used, providing they are intended for University Master Degree courses.






According to the formal communication provided by the competent office of each Faculty/School.

Class schedule

The timetable for this course is available here: Portale EasyAcademy



The exam is a written text –either to be taken on-line or in presence- during which students are requested to answer 10 questions relating each of the integrated course single teaching. Questions will span through all main items/topics presented during the course. Different types of questions will be used, such as multiple choices, correlation questions and graphical questions (mainly referring to pictograms/schemes already presented during classes). The test will be timed, allowing 10 minutes for each set of 10 questions (this applies both for on-line and in presence test sessions).

The examination for the integrated course  is made up of a single written exam for the 4 sub-sections (10 multiple choice questions for each module). In order to pass the examination athe student has to reach a mark of at least 24/40 (18/30).

Students enrolled in other universities or other degree courses who are only required to sit for some of the sub-sections  must achieve an average mark of at least 6, 12 or 18, depending on the number  of modules.


The exam aims to verify the students’ comprehension of cell morphology and general organization, as well as their knowledge of the differences/similarities among prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells and of their vital functions. The exam aims to assess the student’s knowledge of the molecular biology central dogma and of the molecular mechanisms that drive cell development.

The students’ ability to memorize specific terms/statements and to correlate them with specific cellular functions/activities shall be evaluated, primarily, by correlation questions. Different additional types of questions, among which multiple choice questions, will also be used to evaluate the students’ competence relating molecular and functional cellular activities. The appropriateness of the students’ understanding about cause/effect correlations, control mechanisms, as well as organelle structures and/or morphological aspects may also be examined by their answers to graphical questions.


Registration for the exams is strictly limited to the on-line registration system. No students will be allowed to take the exam if not enrolled or if enrolled by any other means. If students experience troubles/inconveniences while enrolling, they are strongly encouraged to contact the on-line student service IN ADVANCE to the enrolment deadline.

Topics covered during lessons are summarized by the power-point presentations available on the AulaWeb page. Additional material can be presented at the end of the front lesson and made available through AulaWeb (

For clarifications, further explanation or any required information, students are strongly invited to contact the referring Lecturer(s) via e-mail or by phone.

Any Student with documented Specific Learning Disorders (SLD), or with any special needs, shall reach out to the Lecturer(s) and to the dedicated SLD Representative in the Department before class begins, in order to liase and arrange the specific teaching methods and ensure proper achievement of the learning aims and outcomes.

Agenda 2030 - Sustainable Development Goals

Agenda 2030 - Sustainable Development Goals
Good health and well being
Good health and well being
Quality education
Quality education