MBB Undergraduate Courses

Course Descriptions

For course outlines choose Course Offerings above, the semester of your choice and click on the course.

Prerequisite Course Grade

For a course to be accepted as fulfilling a prerequisite for any upper division MBB course, a student must have obtained a minimum grade of C, unless otherwise indicated.

MBB Co-operative Education Courses

MBB 151-3  Practicum I

Practicum I

MBB 151

First term of work experience in the Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Co-operative Education Program. Units from this course do not count towards the units required for an SFU degree. Prerequisite: Acceptance in the Science Co-operative Education Program.

MBB 251-3 Practicum II

Practicum II

MBB 251

Second term of work experience in the Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Co-operative Education Program. Units from this course do not count towards the units required for an SFU degree. Prerequisite: Acceptance in the Science Co-operative Education Program.

MBB 351-3 Practicum III

Practicum III

MBB 351

Third term of work experience in the Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Co-operative Education Program. Units from this course do not count towards the units required for an SFU degree. Prerequisite: Acceptance in the Science Co-operative Education Program.

MBB 451-3 Practicum IV

Practicum IV

MBB 451

Fourth term of work experience in the Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Co-operative Education Program. Units from this course do not count towards the units required for an SFU degree. Prerequisite: Acceptance in the Science Co-operative Education Program.

MBB 452-3 Practicum V

Practicum V

MBB 452

Fifth term of work experience in the Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Co-operative Education Program. Units from this course do not count towards the units required for an SFU degree. Prerequisite: Acceptance in the Science Co-operative Education Program.

MBB 200 Level Courses

MBB 200-3 Selected Topics in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry

Selected Topics in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry

MBB 200

The topics in this course will vary from term to term, depending on faculty availability and student interest. Prerequisite: Will be announced before the start of the term and will depend upon the nature of the topic offered.

MBB 201-3 Biochemistry of the Cell

Biochemistry of the Cell

MBB 201

An introduction to cellular processes with an emphasis on protein structure and function. Topics that will be explored include transcription, translation and protein synthesis, basic metabolic pathways, biomembranes, organelles, vesicle transport, the cytoskeleton and cell signaling. Prerequisite: BISC 101; CHEM 281 as prerequisite or corequisite.

MBB 222-3 Molecular Biology and Biochemistry

Molecular Biology and Biochemistry

MBB 222

The structure, function and synthesis of proteins, RNA and DNA and their interrelated biological functions within the cell. An introduction to molecular biology techniques and methods of protein purification and analysis. Prerequisite: or Corequisite CHEM 281.

MBB 231-3 Cellular Biology and Biochemistry

Cellular Biology and Biochemistry

MBB 231

A study of the molecular processes which underlie cell structure and function, integrating ultrastructural, physiological and biochemical approaches. Modern techniques used in the analysis of organelle and cell function are integral parts of the course. Prerequisite: MBB 222, BISC 101, CHEM 281 with grades of C- or better. Corequisite or Prerequisite: CHEM 282 or CHEM 283.

MBB 300 Level Courses

MBB 301-3 Bioscience of Science Fiction B-Sci/B-Hum (Fall 2017)

Bioscience of Science Fiction

MBB 301

Students from all faculties (including science) will work together in a team-based approach to understand the fundamentals of cell biology and molecular biology in the context of science fiction literature. Prerequisite: Minimum of 30 units. Breadth-Humanities/Sciences.

MBB 308-3 Molecular Biology Laboratory

Molecular Biology Laboratory

MBB 308

Modern molecular biological and recombinant nucleic acid methods will be covered. Examples are DNA and RNA isolation, plasmid preparation, restriction enzyme digestion, DNA cloning and polymerase chain reaction. Students with credit for BISC 357 may not take this course for further credit. Prerequisite: MBB 331 with a minimum grade of C-

MBB 309W-4 Biochemistry Laboratory

Biochemistry Laboratory

MBB 309W

Contemporary techniques in biochemistry including protein purification, immunochemical methods, and lipid characterization. Prerequisite: MBB 231, with a minimum grade of C. Recommended: CHEM 215 and CHEM 286 precede MBB 309W. Writing.

MBB 321-3 Intermediary Metabolism

Intermediary Metabolism

MBB 321

The enzymes and intermediates of major catabolic and anabolic pathways. Their regulation and integration in health and disease states. Prerequisite: MBB 231, with a minimum grade of C.

MBB 322-3 Molecular Physiology

Molecular Physiology

MBB 322

Biochemical and molecular aspects of cellular function, interactions and communication including cell cycle, apoptosis, cancer, immune system, neuronal transmission and the signal transduction pathways that integrate them. Prerequisite: MBB 231, with a minimum grade of C.

MBB 323-3 Introduction to Physical Biochemistry

Introduction to Physical Biochemistry

MBB 323

Introduction to physical biochemistry including thermodynamics, spectroscopic principles and applications, and molecular transport and interactions. The physical properties and structure determination of biomolecules will be emphasized. Prerequisite: MATH 152 (or 155), PHYS 121 (or 102, or 126, or 141), CHEM 122 (or 102), MBB 222 with a minimum grade of C.

MBB 324-3 Protein Biochemistry

Protein Biochemistry

MBB 324

An exploration of the fundamental aspects of proteins; their chemical and physical nature, their synthesis, stability and turnover, as well as their structure and function. Methods of protein analysis and structure determination will be presented. Prerequisite: MBB 222 with a minimum grade of C.

MBB 331-3 Molecular Biology

Molecular Biology

MBB 331

The study of DNA and RNA in relation to gene structure and expression: DNA replication and the regulation of gene expression in bacteria and higher organisms. Introduction to recombinant DNA and cloning theory; natural vector structures and recombinant vector construction. Prerequisite: MBB 231, and BISC 202, with a minimum grade of C.

MBB 342-3 Intro to Genomics & Bioinformatics

Introductory Genomics and Bioinformatics

MBB 342

Major topics in genomics and bioinformatics, with integrated discussion of associated ethical/legal/social issues. An overview of laboratory and computer-based methods to study genomes, and their applications. Hands-on computer lab session providing an opportunity to use and experiment with bioinformatics software and databases utilized in genomics and bioinformatics research. Prerequisite: MBB 231, BISC 202 and 3 units of CMPT or equivalent, with a minimum grade of C.

MBB 400 Level Courses

Downloadable pdf application forms for MBB 490, 491, 492, 481/2/3.

MBB 400-1 Special Topics in Biotechnology and Business

Special Topics in Biotechnology and Business

MBB 400

A survey of the legal, economic and social aspects of technology transfer in the areas of molecular biology, biochemistry, and biotechnology presented by a series of local experts. Topics will include patents, contracts, intellectual property, capitalization and others. The format will be a formal lecture followed by a workshop. Prerequisite: Completion of the second year in the Molecular Biology and Biochemistry and Business Administration joint major or equivalent experience.

MBB 402-3 Developmental Biology of Cell Signalling

Developmental Biology of Cell Signalling

MBB 402

Aspects of developmental biology in the context of signal transduction pathways. The diverse mechanisms used in cell signalling and how the various approaches to the study of signal transduction in organismal development complement each other will be examined with an emphasis on current literature. Prerequisite: MBB 331 or BISC 302W with a minimum grade of C.

MBB 420-3 Selected Topics in Contemporary Biochemistry

Selected Topics in Contemporary Biochemistry

MBB 420

The topics in this course will vary from term to term, depending on faculty availability and student interest. Prerequisite: Will be announced before the start of the term and will depend upon the nature of the topic offered.

MBB 421-3 Nucleic Acids

Nucleic Acids

MBB 421

Recent literature is examined for insights into the structure and properties of DNA and RNA, drawing on a variety of biochemical, chemical and molecular biological perspectives. Prerequisite: MBB 331 with a minimum grade of C.

MBB 422-3 Biomembranes

Biomembranes

MBB 422

A review of recent research on the structure, dynamics, function and biosynthesis of membranes, membrane lipids and proteins. Prerequisite: MBB 322 and MBB 309W with a minimum grade of C, MBB 324 as a pre or co-requisite.

MBB 423-3 Protein Structure and Function

Protein Structure and Function

MBB 423

Mechanistic principles for how protein molecules achieve diverse functions such as chemical catalysis and conformational switching. Students will learn to critique hypotheses about structural mechanisms, and to interpret the primary literature reporting on structural evidence from X-ray diffraction and spectroscopy. Prerequisite: MBB 323 or MBB 324, with a minimum grade of C.

MBB 424-3 Membrane Transport Mechanisms

Membrane Transport Mechanisms

MBB 424

Structure and function of molecules that mediate transport across membranes including channels, carriers, and pumps. Primary literature from the fields of biochemistry and physiology will be explored through lectures and independent study. Students who have taken MBB 420 under the same topic may not take this course for further credit. Prerequisite: MBB 321, 322 and either MBB 323 or CHEM 360, with a minimum grade of C.

MBB 426-4 Immune System I: Basis of Innate and Adaptive Immunity

Immune System I: Basis of Innate and Adaptive Immunity

MBB 426

The basic organization of the immune system, including structure, function and genetics of antibodies, T-cell receptors, innate immune receptors, and the complement system. Innate, antibody and cellular immune responses and their control, and development of the cells involved in these responses. Students who have taken HSCI 325 or HSCI 426 cannot take MBB 426 for further credit. Prerequisite: MBB 331 with a minimum grade of C.

MBB 427-3 Immune System II: Immune Responses in Health and Disease

Immune System II: Immune Responses in Health and Disease

MBB 427

Immunologic responses toward bacterial, viral and parasitic infections. The basis of vaccines, primary immunodeficiencies, and the mechanisms by which the immune system causes allergy, autoimmune diseases, and organ transplant rejection. Immune responses towards cancer and therapeutic modulation of immune responses to protect against the indicated diseases will also be discussed. Students with credit for HSCI 427 may not repeat this course for further credit. Prerequisite: MBB 426 or HSCI 426, with a minimum grade of C.

MBB 428-3 Microbial Pathogenesis

Microbial Pathogenesis

MBB 428

The molecular strategies that bacterial and viral pathogens use to colonize the human body and cause disease will be studied. Emphasis will be placed on the specific microbes and their virulence factors, secretion systems, toxins and surface adhesions. Strategies for combating microbial infections - antibiotics, antiviral agents and vaccines - will be discussed in detail. Prerequisite: MBB 322 with a minimum grade of C.

MBB 429-3 RNA-mediated Gene Regulation

RNA-mediated Gene Regulation

MBB 429

RNA plays an important role in gene regulation. This course will explore recent primary literature studying the biochemistry of these processes. Prerequisite: MBB 331 with a minimum grade of C.

MBB 430-3 Mechanisms of Secretory Transport 

Mechanisms of Secretory Transport

MBB 430

Analysis of mechanisms of protein, lipid, and nucleic acid delivery and transport within cells; processes of protein targeting, exocytosis, and endocytosis; molecular mechanisms of vesicle transport and membrane fusion; role in signal transduction and disease. Prerequisite: MBB 322 and MBB 331, with a minimum grade of C.

MBB 431-3 Cells and the Environment

Cells and the Environment

MBB 431

The cellular processes at the interface of cells and the environment will be explored in-depth. Through the use of lectures and group discussions and an emphasis on the primary literature, the focus will be on recent developments in molecular cell biology through the study of symbiosis and adaptation. Prerequisite: MBB 322 and 331, with a minimum grade of C.

MBB 432-4 Advanced Molecular Biology Techniques

Advanced Molecular Biology Techniques

MBB 432

Laboratory with accompanying lectures designed to give practical experience in advanced contemporary molecular biology techniques. Projects will involve recombinant gene and protein manipulations to investigate the dynamics of proteins within living cells. Prerequisite: MBB 309W, MBB 308 and MBB 331, with a minimum grade of C, or permission of instructor.

MBB 433-3 Epithelial Cell Biology

Epithelial Cell Biology

MBB 433

Emerging concepts in epithelial cell biology, including the establishment and maintenance of epithelial cell polarity and cell adhesion leading to the sculpting of developing organisms, roles in wound healing, birth defects and microbial defense, and insights into the maintenance of epithelia by stem cells will be explored. Prerequisite: MBB 331 or BISC 333, with a minimum grade of C.

MBB 436-3 Gene Expression

Gene Expression

MBB 436

Lectures and student presentations will cover the wide range of ways in which organisms (primarily eukaryotes) regulate gene expression along the pathway from DNA to protein. Prerequisite: MBB 331, with a minimum grade of C.

MBB 438-3 Human Molecular Genetics

Human Molecular Genetics

MBB 438

Recent advances in human molecular genetics including genome analysis, gene therapy, genetic testing, and studies of genetic disorders. Prerequisite: MBB 331, with a minimum grade of C.

MBB 440-3 Selected Topics in Contemporary Molecular Biology

Selected Topics in Contemporary Molecular Biology

MBB 440

The topics in this course will vary from term to term, depending on faculty availability and student interest. Prerequisite: will depend upon the nature of the topic offered.

MBB 441-3 Bioinformatics

Bioinformatics

MBB 441

Lectures and hands-on instruction at the computer in the use of, and theory behind, bioinformatic software and algorithms for the analysis of macromolecular data. Prerequisite: MBB 331 and MBB 342, with a minimum grade of C.

MBB 443-3 Protein Biogenesis and Degradation

Protein Biogenesis and Degradation

MBB 443

A consideration of protein biogenesis (folding, assembly, and targeting to cellular compartments), modification, and degradation, and their roles in protein and cellular function. Prerequisite: MBB 321 and MBB 322, with a minimum grade of C.

MBB 444-3 Developmental Neurobiology

Developmental Neurobiology

MBB 444

Examination of recent literature on neuronal growth cones and axonal guidance. Cell cultural, biochemical, and molecular genetic approaches will be emphasized in assessing guidance cues. Prerequisite: MBB 331, with a minimum grade of C.

MBB 446-3 Cell Death and Cell Survival

Cell Death and Cell Survival

MBB 446

An examination of various types of cell death and cell survival mechanisms and their relationship to disease with a focus on cancer and therapeutic strategies. Students who took MBB 440 with the same title may not take MBB 446 for credit Prerequisite: MBB 322 and 331, with a minimum grade of C, or permission of the instructor.

MBB 461-3 Comparative Genomics

Comparative Genomics

MBB 461

Examination of the fundamentals of comparative genomics, identification and activity of functional elements in genomes, inter- and intra-species comparisons, relationship of genomic to phenotypic variation, and personalized genomics are among the topics to be explored. Comparison of genome data has impacts on medicine and many other fields of the life sciences. Students who have completed MBB 440 Comparative Genomics may not complete this course for further credit. Prerequisite: MBB 331 and MBB 342, with a minimum grade of C.

MBB 462-3 Human Genomics

Human Genomics

MBB 462

The organization of the human genome and the role of genomic variation in health and disease. Genomics and personalized medicine; intellectual property and privacy issues. Students with credit for MBB 440 with this same course title may not complete this course for further credit. Prerequisite: MBB 331 and MBB 342, with a minimum grade of C.

MBB 463-3 Forensic Genomics

Forensic Genomics

MBB 463

A focus on the molecular and genomic biology associated with forensic science, including genome structure, genotyping, genetic analysis of DNA fingerprints, DNA data bases and CODIS, Y STRs. mtDNA and ethical considerations of DNA typing. Prerequisite: MBB 331, with a minimum grade of C.

MBB 471-1 Undergraduate Colloquium

Undergraduate Colloquium

MBB 471

Recent research articles on the molecular mechanisms underlying cellular activities or on the structure, function and interactions of macromolecules will be presented and discussed by students and faculty. This course will be available for MBB undergraduates to take once for undergraduate credit and will be offered in conjunction with MBB 821, 822, 823, 861, 862, or 863. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.

MBB 481-5 Individual Study Semester - Research Design

Individual Study Semester - Honours Thesis

MBB 481

Part 1 of a 3-part honours degree program, the individual study semester (ISS). The ISS provides students with the opportunity to carry out full time laboratory research in molecular biology and biochemistry. The grade for MBB 481 encompasses the research design aspect of the ISS, consisting of the honours thesis. Prerequisite: MBB 308, MBB 309W and MBB 331. Enrollment in the MBB or Biological Physics Honours Program, a minimum 3.0 CGPA and 3.0 UDGPA and permission of the MBB department. Corequisite: MBB 482 and MBB 483.

MBB 482-5 Individual Study Semester - Research Performance

Individual Study Semester - Honours Research Performance

MBB 482

Part 2 of a 3-part honours degree program, the individual study semester (ISS). The ISS provides students with the opportunity to carry out full time laboratory research in molecular biology and biochemistry. The grade for MBB 482 encompasses the research performance aspect of the ISS. Prerequisite: MBB 308, MBB 309W and MBB 331. Enrollment in the MBB or Biological Physics Honours Program, a minimum 3.0 CGPA and 3.0 UDGPA and permission of the MBB department. Corequisite: MBB 481 and MBB 483.

MBB 483-5 Individual Study Semester - Research Reporting

Individual Study Semester - Honours Thesis Defense

MBB 483

Part 3 of a 3-part honours degree program, the individual study semester (ISS). The ISS provides students with the opportunity to carry out full time laboratory research in molecular biology and biochemistry. The grade for MBB 483 encompasses the defense component of the ISS. Prerequisite: MBB 308, MBB 309W and MBB 331. Enrollment in the MBB or Biological Physics Honours Program, a minimum 3.0 CGPA and 3.0 UDGPA and permission of the MBB department. Corequisite: MBB 481 and MBB 482.

MBB 490-2 Directed Study in Advanced Topics Biochemistry

Directed Readings in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry

MBB 490

Directed reading in a topic of molecular biology or biochemistry chosen in consultation with a supervisor. Before seeking approval for enrollment in this course, the student should have already obtained the agreement of a faculty member that he/she is willing to supervise the project, and have prepared a written proposal (of approximately one page) stating the nature of the directed reading topic. The course will include the preparation of a written term paper on the topic chosen. Prerequisite: MBB 231, with a minimum grade of C, and permission of the molecular biology and biochemistry department. Usually, upper level standing with at least 60 units in a Biochemistry major, minor or honors program will be required.

MBB 491-5 Undergraduate Research

Independent Study Semester

MBB 491

Part time laboratory research in an area of molecular biology or biochemistry for preparation of a thesis in molecular biology and biochemistry. Before seeking approval for enrollment in this course, the student should already have obtained the agreement of a Simon Fraser University faculty member that he/she is willing to supervise the project, and have prepared a written proposal (of approximately 1-2 pages) stating the nature of the research project. The course will include the preparation of a written research report on the results of the project, and may also, at the discretion of the supervisor, include an oral presentation of the results. Prerequisite: MBB 231, with a minimum grade of C, and permission of the molecular biology and biochemistry department. Usually, upper level standing with at least 60 units in a molecular biology and biochemistry major, minor or honors program will be required.

MBB 492-10 Individual Study Semester (Option B) 

Individual Study Semester

MBB 492

Full time laboratory research in an area of molecular biology or biochemistry for preparation of a thesis for the honors degree in molecular biology and biochemistry. This course is available to honors students who have already taken MBB 491, or who plan to break an individual studies project into two terms (see below). The course will include the preparation of a comprehensive written research report on the results of the project, and may also, at the discretion of the supervisor, include an oral presentation of the results. Prerequisite: Permission of the department.

MBB 496-6 Joint Honours Undergraduate Directed Readings and Research

Independent Study Semester Joint Honours MBB-BUS or CMPT-MBB

MBB 496

Directed reading and part-time scientific research in an area of molecular biology or biochemistry. This course is intended only for those students taking a joint MBB/BUS or MBB/CS honors degree. Before seeking approval for enrollment in this course, the student should already have obtained the agreement of a faculty member that he/she is willing to supervise the project, and have prepared a written proposal (of approximately 1-2 pages) stating the nature of the research readings and project. The course will include preparation of a written report on the results of the project, and may, at the discretion of the supervisor, include an oral presentation of the results. Students who take MBB 496 are not allowed to take MBB 491, 492 or 493 with the same faculty supervisor. Prerequisite: 75 units and upper division standing in an MBB joint honours program, and MBB 308 with a minimum grade of C.