Spring 2023 - BPK 408W D100

Cellular Physiology Laboratory (4)

Class Number: 4539

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 4 – Apr 11, 2023: Mon, 10:30–11:20 a.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 19, 2023
    Wed, 12:00–3:00 p.m.

  • Instructor:

    Agata Becalska
    1 778 782-5936
  • Prerequisites:

    STAT 201 and BPK 305 for BPK majors or STAT 201 and one of BISC 305, 405, or 455 with a C- or better for BISC majors. Enrollment of non-BPK and non-BISC majors require permission of the instructor.



An advanced laboratory course in cellular physiological techniques providing students with theoretical and practical training in cellular physiology laboratory techniques such as DNA and RNA manipulation and quantification, immunofluorescence imaging of protein expression, tissue contraction studies and recording of nerve action potentials and modulation. Writing.


This course is an advanced theoretical and practical laboratory course in cellular physiological techniques. The course will provide students with sound theoretical understanding and practical hands-on training in fundamental and current biomedical physiology laboratory techniques of DNA manipulation and quantification, fluorescence microscopy, bacteria and mammalian cell culture, bioassays of invertebrate smooth muscle and nerve tissue. The information learned in BPK 305 / BISC 305 is the starting point for discussions and students are encouraged to review their previous course notes and text prior to the start of the course.

13 weeks; 1 lecture hours and 4 lab hours per week


  • Microbiology & Microscopy
  • Dilutions, aseptic technique, cell counts
  • Molecular and Cell Biology
  • PCR, subcloning, transformations, plasmid purification, restriction digests
  • DNA gel electrophoresis, gel imaging
  • mRNA quantification
  • Electrophysiology and myography
  • Final Project
  • Scientific writing, communication, collaboration


  1. Work independently in a laboratory setting, including adaptation of relevant protocols, safe and proficient handling of reagents, thorough record-keeping, and appropriate data collection techniques
  2. Use modern cellular/physiological lab methods to work appropriately with bacterial cells, mammalian cell culture, and whole organisms (annelids)
  3. Describe the process of gene transfection, and explain the impact in cultured mammalian cells on phenotypeat the molecular and cellular level 
  4. Perform immunostaining, microscopy, and spectrophotometry to characterize mammalian and bacterial cells.
  5. Integrate knowledge to solve novel problems in cell biology, neurophysiology or skeletal muscle physiology, including experimental design.
  6. Use appropriate methods for quantitative and statistical analysis and graphical representation of data, and for interpreting results
  7. Collaborate with peers to design, carry out, and analyze results from an independent experiment, including proper controls, statistical treatment of data, and appropriate scientific communication
  8. Develop coherent arguments supported by relevant and credible scientific evidence
  9. Communicate effectively using oral, visual, and written communication, including writing for a scientific audience


  • Lab Reports and Lab Work 55%
  • Quizzes 25%
  • Final Project 20%


Laboratory glasses, a laboratory coat, and a hardbound (not coil-bound) laboratory notebook are required for the first laboratory session.



There is no required course text. Laboratory manual modules curated on CANVAS will contain suggested readings beyond material covered in class.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Department Undergraduate Notes:

It is the responsibility of the student to keep their BPK course outlines if they plan on furthering their education.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html