Undergraduate Course 4411B


1. Course Information

Course number:
ACB 4411B

Course Name:
Discovery-based Cell Biology II

Winter Term 2014

This course focuses on cell specialization, cell signaling and the cell biology of aging. Students will also be trained in effective writing, grant writing and scientific presentations focusing on a Nobel Laureate. 

Mondays:                    12:30-2:20 pm
Wednesdays:              10:30-11:20 am
All lectures are in MSB 447.

Not applicable

Not applicable

Prerequisites:              Biology 3316A/B (minimum mark of 70%) or ACB 3309 (minimum mark of 75%)
Corequisite(s):             none
Antirequisite(s):           none

Senate regulation regarding the student’s responsibility regarding requisites:
Unless you have either the requisites for this course or written special permission from your Dean to enroll in it, you may be removed from this course and it will be deleted from your record. This decision may not be appealed. You will receive no adjustment to your fees in the event that you are dropped from a course for failing to have the necessary prerequisites.

2.  Instructor Information





Office Hours

Dr. Paul Walton


MSB 474


By appointment

Dr. Andrea Disebastiano




By appointment

Dr. Lisa Hoffman


Rm E5-118
(at Lawson)


By appointment

Lecture notes, research papers, reviews and other course materials are available through OWL. https://owl.uwo.ca/portal
Students with OWL issues should contact the Computer Support Centre at 519 661-3800.

3.  Course Materials

Textbook: None required; but for background reading we recommend; Alberts et al., 2008, Molecular Biology of the Cell, 5th Edition. Garland Science, Taylor and Francis Group. 
Supplemental Information: Not applicable
Laboratory Manual: Not applicable
Laboratory Materials: Not applicable
Safety Materials: Not applicable
Electronic Devices: Not applicable

4.  Evaluations:
Component Mark                                                   Date Mark Available          % of Final Mark
3 intra-term Modules of equal weighting                       ~2nd week of
                                                                                      February                             33.3%
                                                                                      March                                  33.3%
                                                                                      April                                     33.3%

Final exam: none

Rounding of grades:
The final mark assigned to you is the mark you achieve and will not be rounded up to the next grade level.

Absence from course commitments

A.  Absence for medical illness:
Students must familiarize themselves with the Policy on Accommodation for Medical Illness:  https://studentservices.uwo.ca/secure/index.cfm

Statement from the Dean’s Office
If you are unable to meet a course requirement due to illness or other serious circumstances, you must provide valid medical or other supporting documentation to the Dean's office as soon as possible and contact your instructor immediately.  It is the student's responsibility to make alternative arrangements with their instructor once the accommodation has been approved and the instructor has been informed. In the event of a missed Module component, a "Recommendation of Special Examination" form must be obtained from the Dean's Office immediately. For further information please see: http://www.uwo.ca/univsec/handbook/appeals/medical.pdf

A student requiring academic accommodation due to illness, should use the Student Medical Certificate when visiting an off-campus medical facility or request a Record's Release Form (located in the Dean's Office) for visits to Student Health Services. The form can be found at:

The Policy on Accommodation for Medical Illness is also available on the BMSUE secure site:  www.uwo.ca/bmsc

B.  Absence for non-medical reasons:
In the case of non-medical absences from tests, a written notice must be provided to the Dean’s office for consideration. It will subsequently be the Dean`s Office that will determine if accommodation is warranted.

C. Special Examinations:
A Special Examination is any examination other than the regular examination, and it may be offered only with the permission of the Dean of the Faculty in which the student is registered, in consultation with the instructor and Department Chair. Permission to write a Special Examination may be given on the basis of compassionate or medical grounds with appropriate supporting documents.

A Special Examination must be written at the University or an Affiliated University College no later than 30 days after the end of the examination period involved. To accommodate unusual circumstances, a date later than this may be arranged at the time permission is first given by the Dean of the Faculty. The Dean will consult with the instructor and Department Chair and, if a later date is arranged, will communicate this to Registrarial Services. If a student fails to write a scheduled Special Examination, permission to write another Special Examination will be granted only with the permission of the Dean in exceptional circumstances and with appropriate supporting documents. In such a case, the date of this Special Examination normally will be the scheduled date for the final exam the next time the course is offered.

5.  Course Syllabus

Overview of Course: This advanced experimental cell biology courses is targeted primarily to advanced cell biology students and is designed to be taken after ACB4410. Collectively, these two courses will be taught in 6 units (3 per term). These courses have three objectives: a) to present students with current information and the state of knowledge in specific area(s) of cell biology from the viewpoint of experimental research and discovery, b) to teach students research skills on how to review, criticize, write, discuss and present experimental results and c) to discuss ethical/societal issues that are rooted in recent advances in cell biology (e.g., stem cells, cloning, etc). 

Introduction to the course
Dr. Walton

    A: Cell biology of aging and senescence: Dr. Walton (4 weeks)
    a) Cell cycle regulation and quiescence
    b) Cell apoptosis
    c) Cell aging

Research skill = Students will be expected to organize data into effective abstracts for presentation at a research meeting or for inclusion as part of a research paper.

    B: Cell Specialization: Dr. Di Sebastiano (4 weeks)
    a) Models of cell differentiation
    b) Myogenesis
    c) Transgenic approaches to cell specialization
    d) Developmental potential of differentiated mammalian cells

Research skill = Students will be expected to write a short research grant proposal on an assigned topic.

     C: Cell Signaling and Human Disease: Dr. Hoffman (4 weeks)
    a) Ligands, signals, receptors and relationship to human health
    b) Innate immune receptors in health and inflammatory diseases
    c) Signaling to chromatin
    d) Recent advances in drug development

Research Skill = Students will be expected to research and present the pathway leading to a scientist being awarded the Nobel Prize

6.  Additional Information/Statements

Statement on Use of Electronic Devices

No electronic devices will be allowed during tests.

Statement on Academic Offences
Scholastic offences are taken seriously and students are directed to read the appropriate policy, specifically, the definition of what constitutes a Scholastic Offence, at the following Web site:

All required papers may be subject to submission for textual similarity review to the commercial plagiarism detection software under license to the University for the detection of plagiarism. All papers submitted for such checking will be included as source documents in the reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of papers subsequently submitted to the system. Use of the service is subject to the licensing agreement, currently between The University of Western Ontario and Turnitin.com (http://www.turnitin.com).

Support Services:
Registrarial Services: http://www.registrar.uwo.ca
Academic Counselling (Science and Basic Medical Sciences): http://www.uwo.ca/sci/counselling/index.html
USC Student Support Services: http://westernusc.ca/service
Student Development Services: http://www.sdc.uwo.ca
Student Health Services: http://www.shs.uwo.ca/
Students that are in emotional/mental distress should refer to Mental Health@Western http://www.uwo.ca/uwocom/mentalhealth/ for a complete list of options about how to obtain help.