Scheda programma d'esame
Anno accademico2023/24
PeriodoPrimo semestre

Obiettivi di apprendimento
Learning outcomes

The course provides the basic knowledge for understanding the characteristics of the animal cell, the correlation between structure and function, as weel as cell organization in tissues.

Assessment criteria of knowledge

The assessment of knowledge will be performed by an oral examination at the end of the course. During the exam the student should be able to demonstrate a clear knowledge of the structure and functioning of the eukaryotic cell and of its various components.





The student will be able to describe the morpho-functional organization of eukaryotic cells and to identify the different tissues. Moreover, students will realize that each cell is not isolated but is characterized by crucial interconnections with other cells and tissues, both during the development and in the adult life. The aim of the course is to set the foundations for the acquisition of a critical thinking and of key skills for the integration of concepts from the various courses of this master degree. 

Assessment criteria of skills

The acquisition of these skills will be verified during the course by asking questions and by soliciting questions and answers to other student’s doubts. The ability to integrate student's knowledge will also be evaluated during the final oral examination. 





During the course, student will be stimulated to actively participate to the discussion both by means of questions, by expressing doubts and by trying to answer the questions of the other students. They will also be asked to get into the main analytical tools and experimental approaches used in this field.



Assessment criteria of behaviors

The behaviours will be evaluated by testing the participation and the interest to the discussion during the various lessons. Also, the ability and the modalities of communication will be evaluated.


Students are invited to verify the existence of any prerequisites by consulting the Regulations of the Study Program relating to their year of enrolment. An exam taken in violation of the propaedeutic rules is void (University teaching regulations, art. 24, paragraph 3).

Basic knowledge coming from high school programs about biology, molecular biology (e.g. transcription and translation) and chemistry are needed. 

Prerequisites for further study

This course is crucial for the contextualization of the other courses of this master degree.

Teaching methods

Face to face lectures. The teachers uses Power Point files during the classes and make the teaching material available as PDF files on the Moodle platform (E-learning) indicating the reference texts. The lessons will be interactive, in order to stimulate the interest and the curiosity of students. Receptions of students are organized upon email or phone appointment. 

  1. Introduction to cell biology. The cell theory. Structure and ultra-structure of prokaryotic cells.
  2. The biological molecules; the main classes of organic carbon molecules. Carbohydrates. Lipids.
  3. DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) and RNA (ribonucleic acid).
  4. The plasma membrane and its lipid bilayer organization. Mobility and asymmetry of membrane lipids and proteins.
  5. Passive transport across the biological membranes. The passive simple diffusion through the lipid bilayer and through protein channels (pores). The passive facilitated diffusion.
  6. The active transport across the biological membranes. The membrane potential.
  7. The vesicular trafficking. Exocytosis, budding, phagocytosis and endocytosis.
  8. The extracellular vesicles.
  9. The endoplasmic reticulum. Functions of smooth and rough endoplasmic reticulum.
  10. Cell cultures. Primary cell cultures and secondary cell cultures/cell lines.
  11. The Golgi apparatus: structure and functions. Lysosomes. Authophagy.
  12. Mitochondria structure and dynamism. Energy production in mitochondria.
  13. The peroxisomes. The cytoskeleton: generalities and classification of cytoskeletal filaments. Microfilaments. Microvilli and stereocilia
  14. Motor proteins: kinesin and dynein. Cilia and flagella.
  15. Intermediate filaments: keratins, vimentin, neurofilaments and nuclear lamins.
  16. Cell polarity. Cell-to-cell junctions. Cell-to-extracellular matrix (ECM) junctions.
  17. The nucleus: general organization. The nucleolus.
  18. The cell cycle; G1, S, G2 and M phases. DNA packaging; euchromatin and heterochromatin.
  19. Mitosis
  20. Sexual and asexual reproduction. Haploid vs diploid cells. Meiosis.
  21. Cell communication mechanisms. Signal transduction. Apoptosis.
  22. Elements of histology. The four basic types of animal tissues. Ephitelia.
  23. The connective tissue. The extracellular matrix (ECM). The connective tissue proper and the adipose tissue. The cartilage. The bone. The blood.
  24. The muscle tissue. The nervous tissue.

-Molecular biology of the cell. Bruce Alberts


-Cell and molecular biology. Gerald Karp


-Molecular cell biology. Harvey Lodish


Under student's request to the professor, meetings might be organized (live or online) in order to clarify doubts about the course.

Non-attending students info

There are no differences in the content or in the examination modalities between attending students and students that were unable to attend the lectures. However, under student's request to the professor, meetings might be organized (live or online) in order to clarify doubts about the course.

Assessment methods

An oral examination on the treated topics will be the assessment method to evaluate student’s knowledge, critical attitude, and ability of integration of topics as well as communication abilities. As an indication only, the duration of the examination will approximately be 30 minutes.


Work placement

No stage or practical activities are foreseen.


Examination Committee

Presidente: Prof. Elisabetta Ferraro

Membri: Dr. Sara Vitolo, Dr Noemi Barsotti

Substitutes: Prof. Massimiliano Andreazzoli, Prof. Massimo Pasqualetti, Dr. Matteo Digregorio

Ultimo aggiornamento 08/08/2023 14:54