BB415 - Cell and Molecular Biology

BB415 - Cell and Molecular Biology


Swati Patankar


Autumn ‘20

Course Difficulty

Course was fairly easy if you are interested in Cell and Molecular Biology as it covered the basics of it.

Time Commitment Required

It will give you a feel of reading research papers hence if you are research oriented I suggest you give a certain amount of time to this course. Studying one day before the exams will also suffice, but paying attention in class will be more helpful, in my opinion.

Grading Policy and Statistics

The grading was a bit disappointing, as after making the exams and assignments so fun, a majority of us who did pretty good ended up getting 7s and 8s. The grading was absolute.

Attendance Policy

There was no attendance policy as such but the classes were interesting enough to compel us to attend them.


The first couple of modules in BB101 will help a bit, other than that this course covers the basics of cell and molecular biology.

Evaluation Scheme

Weightage was evenly distributed with the midsem and endsem having higher weightages than the quizzes and assignments.

Topics Covered in the Course

Universal features of cells; cell chemistry and biosynthesis: chemical organization of cells; internal organization of the cell - cell membranes: structure of cell membranes and concepts related to compartmentalization in eukaryotic cells; intracellular organelles: endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi apparatus, lysosomes and peroxisomes, ribosomes, cellular cytoskeleton, mitochondria, chloroplasts and cell energetics; nuclear compartment: nucleus, nucleolus and chromosomes. Chromatin organization - histone and DNA interactome: structure and assembly of eukaryotic and prokaryotic DNA polymerases, DNA-replication, repair and recombination; chromatin control: gene transcription and silencing by chromatin Writers,-Readers and –Erasers; Transcriptional control: Structure and assembly of eukaryotic and prokaryotic RNA Polymerases, promoters and enhancers, transcription factors as activators and repressors, trancriptional initiation, elongation and termination; post-transcriptional control: splicing and addition of cap and tail, mRNA flow through nuclear envelope into cytoplasm, breakdown of selective and specific mRNAs through interference by small non-coding RNAs (miRNAs and siRNAs), protein translation machinery, ribosomes-composition and assembly; universal genetic codes, degeneracy of codons, Wobble hypothesis;

Teaching Style

The mechanism of teaching was MS Teams and the teaching style was quite unique. The professor had a very friendly disposition and her classes were very interesting. Some lectures were recorded videos, which we had to watch before attempting quizzes. So it was a mixture of live classes and recorded videos.


The Assignments were quite simple and at the same time very intellectually stimulating as it required us to read various research papers and answer questions based on it.

Feedback on Exams

The exams were actually fun. It consisted of questions in the form of stories and the questions were based on concepts that were taught in class. For example, the midsem consisted of a story based on the movie “The Lord Of The Rings”.

Motivation for taking this course

I had completed a bit of BB101 and a course on Genetics and Genetic Engineering during the summer and thought this course was ideal for me to further delve into my interest in Cell and Molecular Bio.

Course Highlights

The highlights were definitely the interactive classes and the exams. It was one of the courses where you are excited to give the exams as they were quite interesting.

Course Importance

It is important if you want to enter the field of Biotechnology as it covers the basics of Genetics and Cell and Molecular Biology.

How strongly would I recommend this course?

If you are even a tad bit interested in Bio, this course is a good start as it is quite basic and covers all the important aspects of Cell and Molecular Biology in an interesting way.

When to take this course?

I took this course in the Autumn of 2020, which was my third semester. I would suggest not to take the course during this time as the core courses themselves are quite heavy, maybe take it when it is offered during the Autumn Semester other than when it clashes with your third semester.

Going Forward

You can check out other interesting courses from the BSBE Department if you liked this course and take up minors or ALCs.

References Used

Molecular Biology of the Cell (5th Ed.). New York: Garland Science. 2. Lodish, H. F. (2016). Molecular Cell Biology (8th Ed.). New York: W.H. Freeman. 3. Krebs, J. E., Lewin, B., Kilpatrick, S. T., & Goldstein, E. S. (2014). Lewin`s Genes XI. Burlington,

BB 415 Review By: Siddhant Wagh