Cell biology

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Completion status: this resource is just getting off the ground. Please feel welcome to help!
Educational level: this is a tertiary (university) resource.
Subject classification: this is a biology resource.


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Welcome! It seems that most people checking out this page are looking to supplement their coursework. Which was what I was looking for too when I found a somewhat empty site. I have added a section to correspond with material I have posted. It correlates with the free video lectures availiable on ITunes U. I would love for someone to post additional resources, notes or comments. This can be a resource that will help other students share information for years to come.

This is the main page for the Cell Biology course, in the Department of Cell Biology. Cell biology is typically one of the specialized courses taken by students after they have had a more general introduction to modern biology. A basic introduction to biology, as can be gained from Michael McDarby's Online Introduction to Biology or the General Biology textbook at Wikibooks, is a possible prerequisite. Chemistry is the backbone of Cellular Biology so some knowledge of Biochemistry is necessary for the concepts. Check out these sites for more information chemistry or biochemistry. However, Cell Biology is fundamental to all of biology, and can serve as a reasonable starting point for students exploring the field.

For YOU!

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Illustration of "cell sorting-out".
  1. All other courses have clearly distinct students and instructors; in this one, the students help serve as instructors (and vice versa).
  2. All other courses are designed by the instructor; in this one, at this time, you are helping to create the structure.
  3. All other courses meet at a set time, and have set deadlines; this one is designed for anyone, anytime, anywhere and can be completed (or not) at any rate.
  4. All other courses have their ways of distinguishing the wise student, the wicked student, the simple student and the student who does not know how to ask; Wikiversity does not give grades or diplomas.

What should you do?

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  • Read through the existing lessons. Feel free to edit and improve them.
  • Write your own lesson, covering another area of cell biology!
    • You can pick a topic in Cell Biology that fascinates you and start reading. As you discover interesting information, add what you have learned to a wiki page about the topic you are learning. Keep a record of what you read and what you write.
    • The present instructors have found that the best way to learn within a Wiki-format university is to construct wiki pages.
  • If you have another idea of what to do or would like to design a plan of study, feel free to discuss it with an instructor (such as JWSchmidt) or sign up as one! This course is a collaborative effort between students and instructors.
  • Construction of new course materials would be a big help in Wikiversity's Cell Biology Improvement Drive! You're welcome to join the Improvement Drive in additional ways, including creating or revising other cell biology pages. For example, the Wikibooks Cell Biology textbook needs more work.

Existing Lessons

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Lesson 1: What is cell biology?

Lesson 2: What is a cell?

Lesson 3: Basic cell structure

Lesson 4: Basic cell function

Lesson 5: Cell biology and medicine

Lessons to Correspond with Free ITunes U Lectures

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FYI: I am reviewing Cell Biology for Medical School and thought I would help by posting links to the ITunes U lectures and providing my notes. Hopefully it will save you some time figuring out what the professor is talking about. Some knowledge of Biochemistry is necessary for these lectures. Contact me via email if you need help. Thanks, April

Lesson 1:Membrane Structure: Lipids

Lesson 2:Membrane Structure: Proteins

Lesson 3:Membrane Structure: Dynamics

Writing Your Own Lesson

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Wikiversity offers instructions for how to write a page using the wiki language, and how to create useful content specifically for Wikiversity.


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  • You might want to write a lesson about how the regulation of cell survival is a fundamental process that helps control the number of cells in a tissue.

External Resources

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On Wikiversity

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Elsewhere on the Web

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Wikipedia articles

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Wikipedia categories

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If you are a student in this course, please sign in so that we can try to develop a community. Hopefully, there can be group projects.

  • Lazyquasar 05:36, 29 November 2005 (UTC) Weak preparation. Interested in fundamentals. May shift abrubtly to lower level course or drop as personal activities progress.
    • Personally, I think one of the most interesting things about cells is how they make it possible for us to learn. I'd suggest that you try to identify some aspect of biology that is of particulat interest to you, all the "fundamentals" can be learned about in the context of what you find most interesting about life/behavior/biology. --JWSurf 22:51, 30 November 2005 (UTC)
  • JedOs 02:26, 9 December 2005 (UTC) I am Biology major student at college working on my Bachealors in Biology. I am hard worker yet I have areas of frustration. I'm not sure how this free course thing works, so please tell me at my talk page, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:JedOs
  • Lukner 16:15, 19 February 2006 (UTC). I am a second-career pre-med student at the University of Texas at Austin. I have a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering, and I'm taking a few classes to satisfy my pre-med requirements. I am taking a Cell Biology course at UT, and this online course might provide some additional material to supplement the course I'm already taking.
    • What biology/medicine topics are you interested in? --JWSurf 04:13, 17 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Srinivas 06:13, 7 April 2006 (UTC) I am interested in learning molecular cell biology. I have post graduate degree in computer science and mathematics. I am using my long term cancer treatment (vacation!) time in learning new subjects. Thank you for maintaining this free course. I have high school knowledge of biology. Hopefully as I progress, I will find out which fundamental concepts I need to refresh in order to catch up with the course.
  • PJC 12:54, 10 May 2006 (UTC) I'm a third year Biochemistry student at the University of Nottingham (UK). I'm interested in how cells participate to form the brain (as mentioned above), particularly the role of the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UBS). I'm also interested in the regulation of transcription by the SRE-SRF-TCF complex; and the cellular basis of cancer.

(note: all of the above were added when this page existed at Wikibooks)

  • Davichito 00:26, 27 September 2008 (UTC). I am a self-taught computer programmer who is very interested in biology and has read some chapters of Curtis' biology book. I hope to understand biology because I think life is the great mystery in the universe; also the most complex one.
  • User:JWSchmidt - See: Cell Biology/JWSchmidt for my thoughts about cell biology and learning.
  • Steven Fruitsmaak
  • Soft.tofu 14:26, 5 October 2006 (UTC) I am a BSEE doing IT work for scientific product distributor. I hope to understand medicine a little more. Starting from scratch, I guess, with basic biology background. My wife is dying from metastatic gastric cancer, signet ring cell. If nothing else, this is a response to her oncologist saying "Read some medical books."
  • Joshoisasleep 00:00, 4 November 2006 (UTC) I have a personal interest and would like to learn more before going on to brick and mortar study...
  • AFriedman 07:10, 18 December 2008 (UTC) I perform research on Wikiversity (see my Userpage for details) and stumbled upon this page while trying to add materials to a course I'm developing in neuroscience. Neuroscience is a field that also needs content development, perhaps even more desperately.
  • ObubbledO 01:30pm, 25 February 2009