Summer 2023 - MBB 431 D100

Cells and the Environment (3)

Class Number: 2156

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 8 – Aug 4, 2023: Thu, 1:30–5:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    MBB 322 and 331, with a minimum grade of C.



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.


The course relies on reading reviews, opinions, and primary literature. Learning will involve interactive lectures, class discussions, and team-based assignments.  A goal of the course is to strengthen student ability to read scientific papers critically and with perspective. We will learn about and use inquiry-based critical thinking. Topics will range from cellular life in extreme environments to intercellular symbioses in environmental microbiomes. We will examine science in the context of misinformation ranging from climate change to alternative medicines.


  • Quizzes 10%
  • Written responses 15%
  • Team responses 10%
  • 2 Midterms (10% each) 20%
  • Individual presentation 15%
  • Essay (1000 words) 10%
  • Team presentation 1 10%
  • Team presentation 2 10%



We will read review articles and primary research papers.  A basic cell biology textbook may be useful as a refresher on certain topics. We will also make use of open-source data and other on-line resources.  


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at:

Department Undergraduate Notes:

  • For help with writing, learning and study strategies please contact the Student Learning Commons at
  • Students requiring accommodations as a result of a disability, must contact the Centre for Accessible Learning (778-782-3112 or e-mail:

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website 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.


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the semester are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.