Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

BIOC353 Molecular Basis of Health and Disease

Cell signalling: how signals are received and transmitted within cells. Steroid hormone and redox signalling. Regulation of growth, development and cell death. Diseases associated with aberrant cell signalling.

For cells to survive and perform their many required functions they need to respond to a vast array of signals. These signals are transmitted through crosstalk between proteins within the cell via various protein modifications and interactions which eventually convert the signal to an appropriate downstream response. Failure to do so invariably results in cellular dysfunction and disease.

BIOC 353 explores the biochemical and molecular basis of cell signalling pathways. Key pathways required for cellular function will be explored with an emphasis on the diversity of post translational modifications and protein interactions required to effect signals within cells. Pathways to be explored include those involved in growth and development, molecular trafficking, metabolic responses, cell death, inflammatory and oxidative stress responses. Throughout the course, examples of where defective cellular signalling results in disease including cancer, metabolic, neurodegenerative and some rarer diseases will be given. The targeting of cell signalling molecules for therapeutics will also be explored.

Paper title Molecular Basis of Health and Disease
Paper code BIOC353
Subject Biochemistry
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 2 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,141.35
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

^ Top of page

BIOC 222 or BIOC 223
Recommended Preparation
BIOC 221
Schedule C
In approved cases BIOC221 and BIOC192 may be substituted for BIOC222 or BIOC223.

This paper is suitable for a broad range of majors who have a basic background in molecular and cell biology. It fulfills requirements in most majors of BBiomedSc and complements many BSc majors, including Anatomy, Human Nutrition, Neuroscience, Pharmacology and Physiology. Students having taken BIOC 222 or BIOC 223 will have the required background. The BIOC 221, ANAT 241 and PHSL 231 papers provide some relevant background.

Teaching staff

Dr Louise Bicknell


Textbooks are not required for this paper.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Ethics, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this paper will:

  • Explain fundamental concepts in cell signalling biology using relevant examples
  • Design and execute experiments to study cellular responses using contemporary biochemical techniques
  • Understand the relationship between hypothesis, experiment and data, and application of this to attain knowledge
  • Identify and critically evaluate relevant information from the scientific literature

^ Top of page


Semester 2

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Monday 10:00-10:50 36-37, 39
B1 Tuesday 10:00-10:50 28-34, 36-41
C1 Wednesday 10:00-10:50 28-34, 36-41


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
A1 Tuesday 09:00-09:50 36-41
Tuesday 11:00-17:50 36-41
A2 Thursday 09:00-09:50 36-41
Thursday 11:00-17:50 36-41