Cell biology


The unit aims at providing background and knowledge on the structure and function of the prokaryotic and eukaryotic cell. This knowledge is essential for the study of other fields of the plant science, like Physiology, Genetics, Molecular Biology, Biotechnology, Microbiology, etc.


Basic knowledge on plant cell components (provided at the high school)

Learning Outcomes

After integrating the unit, attendees will be able to : Distinguish the structural and functional patterns of the higher organisms from those of the lower ones. Consider the importance of some intracellular components (e.g. the cytoskeletal elements) in the function not only of cells, but also of tissues and organs. Understand how the basic unit of life (the cell) operates. Determine the morphological and physiological alterations (and their significance) taking place in plants grown under normal and stressed conditions. Follow the implications of various cell components (mitochondria, plastids, dictyosomes, vacuoles, etc.) in natural phenomena, like seed germination, photosynthesis, organ colouring, organogenesis, plant death, secretion, etc. Know and understand terms basic in the intercommunication of scientists dealing with Biology


The prokaryotic cell and the eukaryotic cell. Cell structure and compartmentation. Cell membranes and their principles. Cell organelles and their principles. Cell organelles and their physiology. Intracellular and intercellular communication. Nucleus (genetic information storage). Nucleus-cytoplasm interactions. Cell specialization-animal and plant cells. Cell responses to environmental stimuli.

Content Delivery

The unit is delivered by a series of talks, simultaneously accompanied by the projection of numerous pictures illustrating cell ultrastructure. During the talks, students may address questions to clarify some points and at the end of each talk, a discussion on the day’s subject takes place (when necessary, visits to the library of the Institute were performed). At the end of the unit, a brief repetition of the total taught material takes place, accompanied by a relevant discussion.

Coursework And Assignment Details

The coursework of the unit comprises attendance of five-day lasting lectures (s. Time Table) and written examinations at the end of the course.